Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dessert Table: Star-Spangled Barbecue

What's more American than an indulgent buffet? An indulgent dessert buffet composed of red, white, and blue treats to satisfy your sweet tooth!

Clockwise from top: Vanilla and chocolate mini cupcakes,  chocolate-covered pretzel rods, chocolate-dipped strawberries, two varieties of sugar cookies, brownie bites, chocolate-dipped marshmallows
Setting up a dessert table before the party begins saves you some time and stress during the party, serves as additional decor throughout the day, and gives your guests a preview of the fun that awaits them after the main meal. First up is a juicy fruit salad:

While we usually go straight for the chocolate, it's always considerate to have a healthy dessert option available for your guests. Using the same cookie cutter that we used to make the watermelon punch, we cut out some watermelon stars, tossed them with some blueberries, and wound up with a pretty red and blue fruit salad! This was stored in the refrigerator overnight to maximize the freshness.

One way to save time and reduce stress is to mix some store-bought goodies into your table (especially when they look as cute as these):

We picked up shooting star sugar cookies and vanilla frosted sugar cookies to give our guests more options, add more color to the table, and give ourselves the freedom to focus on the other items that we were making ourselves.

A successful dessert table should always reflect your party's theme:

To accomplish this goal, we sprinkled tiny decorative details throughout the table. We added flag picks to the brownie bites and red/blue shiny star cupcake toppers, placed candied nuts throughout the table in red/white/blue cupcake wraps, jazzed up frosted items with patriotic sprinkles, and placed the dessert items on large star chargers. As a final touch, large colorful gems were scattered throughout the table to fill in any gaps.

While chocolate was definitely the main theme of our table, we tried to use it in a variety of ways to give our guests plenty of options:

For example, we used the same white chocolate candy melts and dipping technique with three different foods on this table:

1) Pretzel rods: We dipped the pretzels halfway with white chocolate, then topped them with a variety of red, white, and blue sprinkles.
2) Chocolate-dipped marshmallows: Marshmallows were placed on sticks, dipped into the chocolate, and decorated with the same variety of sprinkles.
3) Chocolate-covered strawberries: Strawberries were dipped halfway with the white chocolate, then dipped once again into blue sprinkles at the very bottom to create a flag effect.

By using the same ingredients and set-up technique, we saved ourselves a lot of time (which is obviously a big theme of our party planning!), only created one mess instead of three separate messes to clean up, and still created three uniquely-flavored desserts.

And finally, here is my favorite dessert table tip...

Since the table is pre-set before the party begins, you can jump right in and fill your plate!

What are your must-have dessert items to celebrate Independence Day?


(Want more Star-Spangled Barbecue? Catch up with previous installments herehere, here, here, and here!)


  1. Great ideas as usual!! Everything looks too pretty to eat...but it wouldn't stop me ;)

    1. Thanks! I kind of want to skip lunch today and just grab a cupcake!

  2. Those festive dipped strawberries are brilliant. I personally wouldn't mind celebrating my Independence Day with those. And perhaps a batch of red, white and blue cake pops!

    1. Well, thank you! The strawberries were super easy to make and definitely added some festive flair to the occasion. Of course, cake pops are always welcome at any dessert table!


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