Desserts for 20

Dec 10th

My daughter was just crazy over Santa, as you can tell in this heart-warmingly festive photo. As I forgot to take a picture of my catering job yesterday, I thought I’d share the scary Santa one! OK, holiday desserts for 20…

Maryanne was having a party for 20-22 guests and hired me to make the desserts. She chose from homebeccanomics recipes, and I have to say she chose very well. Her choices were buckeyes, chocolate cupcakes with marshmallow frosting, cranberry white chocolate biscotti, and cream puffs. The buckeyes satisfy the chocolate peanut butter fans, the cupcakes appease the kid in us all. The biscotti were a lighter option, though one of my fave cookies. The cream puffs were fancy, festive, and always well-received.

The combination of choices were spot on, but what I loved the most about them was the ease of preparation. If each dessert needed to be made the day of the party (drop off was 11 am), I would have had a CRAZY morning on my hands. Instead, my husband and I watched an episode of Parenthood (on Netflix streaming) while my daughter napped, and I actually enjoyed the final preparations.

If you are hosting a holiday party – perhaps Christmas Eve or even New Years – here is a fret-free dessert menu, complete with make ahead suggestions. A good host or hostess is a RELAXED one. My students always laugh when we talk about time schedules for completing meals. They act like REAL chefs wouldn’t do that. WELL, kids, on The Chew I heard Mario Batali say that the key to hosting a holiday is to make an iron-clad TIME SCHEDULE and stick to it as though your life depended on it. I suppose it’s not “cool” to be type A in the kitchen, but it sure does pay off in reduced stress.

Schedule:

Up to 2 weeks before party:

Make puffs for cream puffs. Cool to room temp, freeze on wire rack. Store in airtight ziplock bag in freezer. Cream Puffs

Make biscotti. Place cookies in airtight ziplock bag and freeze. Cranberry White Chocolate Biscotti

3 Days ahead – or less

Make buckeyes. Store in airtight container in the fridge. Buckeyes

Make pastry cream for cream puffs. Store with plastic wrap against surface of cream, covered tightly in bowl or in an airtight tupperware in the fridge. Cream Puffs

Day before

Make chocolate cupcakes. Store in airtight tupperware at room temperature. Triple Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

Day of Party

Make marshmallow frosting – frost cupcakes

Place frozen puffs in preheated 300 degree oven for 10 minutes to crisp them back up. Let cool. Fill with pastry cream. Make chocolate coating and finish cream puffs.

Thaw biscotti (an hour at room temperature).

After dropping off the food I came home and mixed together the end of my pastry cream with the chocolate ganache. Then I sat down, and I ate the whole bowl.

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