Make Ahead Party Desserts and Tips
We had our daughter’s high school graduation party last weekend. It was one of the best parties we’ve ever thrown and it was a full team effort to put it together and to pull it off.
It was a day full of sunshine, smiles, and full bellies.
As we started to plan the menu for this party back in March, my daughter had a few dessert requests and I added a few more. I knew I wanted almost everything to be bite sized or smaller servings. Guests like to try a little bit of everything and the smaller the portion the better for the party goers hips.
I knew the week leading up to the party would be chaos so my two girls, my mom, and I had a two day baking marathon at the beginning of April where we made everything that could be made ahead of time that I had freezer space for. This is key – making sure you have freezer space.
Rachel’s first request was for Individual Oreo Cheesecakes. These are NOT make ahead nor bite sized but they are oh-so-good. I made these up the day before the party. If you make them up too far in advance, the cookie gets a little soggy.
Next on her list came fruit pizza. We made up the cookie portion of this dessert in April, put them into ice cream buckets, and froze them. I pulled out the cookies the morning of the party, made up the frosting, piped it on, and added the fruit. With many hands in our kitchen that morning, it didn’t take long to complete the 120 cookies we had made.
Another must have were Aunt Bonnie’s Cookies. These are Rachel’s favorites and were perfect because they freeze well. Iced and all. We made the dough on day one of our baking marathon and let it chill overnight. The next day we rolled, baked, and iced them all. Since we were freezing them, we let them sit one more night out on the tables to make sure the icing was set before putting them in containers. With these, I laid a piece of wax paper in between each layer to protect the cookies from attacking one another. To thaw, we just took them out the day of the event, let set at room temperature for about an hour, and then placed on the platters.
Last on her list were these peanut butter cup cookies. Again, perfect for freezing. We made these up in April, put in ice cream buckets, and froze them. To thaw, just take the bucket out the day of the event and let set for about an hour. This recipe will be up on the blog in a few weeks but if you just can’t wait to make them, they are just peanut butter cookies made in a mini muffin pan and a mini Reese’s Peanut Butter cup in the middle.
Now these last two items could have been made up in advance but I ran out of freezer space. So both of these items I made a few days before the party. But had my freezer been bigger, they would have been done over a month ago as well.
The Grasshopper Truffles are so refreshing and fun to add to any dessert plate.
And last but not least are these Peanut Butter Frosting topped brownies. Just make up your favorite brownie recipe, top with this delicious peanut butter frosting, and add a mini Reese’s Peanut Butter cup to each slice and you have a very easy yet pretty dessert.
This is what we made of each item and we had only about 2 – 3 dozen left overs of various desserts. Total attendance was about 140 people and most people took 2 – 3 desserts since they were small with the exception of my 3 year old nephew who had 7 cookies and he was proud to tell you that.
- Oreo Cheesecakes – 4 dozen
- Fruit Pizzas – 10 dozen
- Aunt Bonnie’s Cookies – 6 dozen
- Peanut Butter Cup Buttons – 6 dozen
- Grasshopper Truffles – 4 dozen
- Peanut Butter Frosting topped Brownies – 5 dozen
Kendra’s Tips for a baking marathon.
- Plan ahead and make a list of all items you want to make in the time you have.
- Clean everything out of your kitchen except the items needed for baking. This will save you time from having to move things around. i.e. – papers off the counter, dirty dishes on the stove, etc.
- Make sure you have enough of ALL ingredients on hand before you start baking.
- Make room in your freezer.
- Have containers the right size for your items ready to be used and stocked. Ice cream buckets work really well.
- Label your containers if you have a variety of desserts for easy recognition.
- If items are delicate, put layers of wax paper in between to keep them separated.
- To thaw, bring to room temperature for about an hour and then serve.
Any of these desserts would work well for any occasion. Wedding, shower, birthday party, get-together, reunion, etc. Making them up in advance helped keep the stress level to a lower level than it would have had I tried to make everything up the few days before.