Monday, February 6, 2012

Planning For A Dessert Party: Bonus Blueberries and Cream Cookies Recipe

Throwing a dessert party is a lot fun, but it can also be a huge headache depending on the menu you plan and the way you execute it. I have thrown a few dessert parties in my day, some great and some not-so-great, and it is my desire here to expound on my experience. Hopefully, after reading this you will take away a few pointers on what to do, what not to do and what to expect. Keep in mind I by no means speak as an expert, just a Sassy Lady with a little experience.

1. The first thing you have to do when planning a dessert party, after picking the time day and location of course, is to plan the menu. I usually like to have somewhat of a common thread or theme running through my party, like when I did an Ice Cream Parlour here or this time around when I did a Momofuku Milk Bar theme. That way you have a frame of mind in which to think through what recipes you will use, decor, invites, etc.

After deciding on a theme, if you do at all, you will need to pick the appropriate amount of desserts to have at your party considering the guest size. When estimating the amount of dessert, I would say you always need less than you think for an adult party because most adults are more concerned with their caloric intake than how fast they shove 17 cookies into their face. I had about 3 desserts for 15-18 people and I had plenty leftover. 

You will also want to pick desserts that compliment each other in taste and structure. What I mean by complimentary tastes, for example, is that you will not want three super rich desserts and no lighter fare. Or you will not want two caramel desserts. And if you want to get really technical, you can pair the flavors like you would wine and cheese, so that they enhance one another. What I mean by complimentary structures is choosing desserts with varying forms. Like a cookie and pie, as opposed to two pies. Or having one cream based dessert instead of four. And of course those rules fly out the window if your theme is 'Pie,' 'Ice Cream' or something of the like. But you are smart boys and girls, employ your discretion. 

This time around I choose Blueberries and Cream Cookies, Cereal Milk Panna Cotta and Candy Bar Pie from my Milk Bar cookbook that I am currently obsessed with.

The Candy Bar Pie was so freaking good!

2. The next thing you will need to do after selecting your desserts is to create a plan of action. First, create a grocery list with everything you will need and then go to the store and get all those things. (Make sure you pay attention to the amounts in the recipe so you aren't standing pissed off in the kitchen when you realize you don't have enough heavy cream to get the job done.) 

You will also need to create a schedule of when you will make what. With most desserts there are things you can make ahead of time. In my case, I could make a lot of things ahead of time, so I spaced out the tasks for the days leading up to the event. See.

Made these 'Crumbs' ahead of time for the Candy Bar Pie and Blueberries and Cream Cookies.

Also, you may need to create space in your fridge to store some things you make ahead of time, because it could end up looking like this.

3. Make labels for you desserts. It is a fun way to add atmosphere to your party while avoiding a lot of questions and unnecessary avoidance. You can find some cute ones at Eat Drink Chic.

Also, don't forget to think through what paper and plasticware you might need in addition to what you need to serve things in. Things easily forgotten when you're zoned in on preparing the dessert. 

4. Display the desserts in a manner worthy of the time you put into them. Even a labor intensive stupendous tasting dessert can lack luster if displayed half-hazardly. Put thought into it, do some research on pinterest or what-have-you.

5. Lastly, be prepared to be OK if things don't turn out perfectly. You really can't put to much pressure on yourself to have things be just so. You risk meltdown and spoiling the party. And chances are most guest won't know the difference. I expect this 1/2 of the time because I like to try desserts I have never tried before for parties, which maybe should have been rule #1 to never do, but where is the fun in that? This time around the carmel was runny (next time I know to use another carmel recipe) and the Panna Cotta didn't set up quite right (I doubled the recipe, probably not smart when working with gelatin.)


Hope those are some helpful tips. For sticking through a long post I reward you with the Blueberries and Cream Cookie recipe!

Blueberries & Cream Cookies

Milk Crumbs Ingredients
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon nonfat milk powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup white chocolate, melted

Milk Crumb Directions
1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons milk powder, flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Stir in melted butter until well combined. Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet and transfer to oven. Bake until dried and crumbly, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove milk crumble from oven and let cool completely.
3. Transfer milk crumble to a large bowl and fold in remaining 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons milk powder and white chocolate. Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Blueberries and Cream Cookies Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
1/4 cup glucose (I used corn syrup and it worked great!)
1 large egg
3/4 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup Milk Crumbs

Blueberries and Cream Cookies Directions
1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Preheat oven to 375˚F.

2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Cream butter, sugars, and glucose until well combined. Add egg and mix.

3. Add flour mixture and mix then add blueberries and milk crumbs. Scoop dough into balls and place about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

4. Transfer baking sheets to oven and bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until cookies are golden brown and tops begin to crackle, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.


  1. Nicely done! This was a great and timely post...I'm throwing my first "dessert party" this Sunday. Thanks for the tips, and your Momofuku Milk Bar desserts look incredible! I may have to check out that cookbook :)

    1. Glad it was helpful! Let me know how it turns out!

  2. Well, I have just taken the first batch out of the oven- haven't tasted them yet, but I must say this was one confusing recipe. It's all about the milk crumb measurements- The milk crumb recipe calls for 2 TBSP plus 11/2 tsp, then after baking and cooling, adding an additional same amount of milk powder.
    This, I get. Then you go on to mix all, and the recipe calls for 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup milk crumbs???????????
    I just added the milk crumbs I had made - but there is no was 1/4cup plus 1 TBSP equals 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup milk crumbs!!!
    I have been baking for more years than I want to count - this one baffled me.