From Memorial Day to the Fourth of July to Labor Day, summer is all about weekend gatherings with friends and family. A good meal should always accompany a get-together, which means you’ll need some tasty desserts for a crowd. I put together a list of some of my favorite cookies, cupcakes, and bars that are sure to please everyone at your party.
You may notice a peanut butter theme in this collection (after all, it's beloved by so many!), so why not start with a classic peanut butter cookie? No gathering is complete without cookies, and peanut butter should be on every dessert tray.
The only thing better than a single peanut butter cookie is two with chocolate and peanut butter mousse between them. This recipe is adapted from a peanut butter and jelly version in The Cookie Collection, but I made a ganache instead. Either version is tasty and will satisfy a crowd perfectly.
This classic cookie is also a must for every gathering and dessert table. This is my guide to all things chocolate chip cookies, including tips and tricks for making the perfect cookie, plus how to tweak them for your favorite texture, and recipes for different dietary restrictions.
I made these peanut butter cup meringues from Rebbeca Firth's The Cookie Book. The recipe combines things that I truly love: chocolate, peanut butter and meringue. The result is a treat perfect for Memorial Day or any summer gathering. Bonus: this is a gluten free recipe.
This Devil's Food Cake from Zoe Bakes Cakes is the best chocolate cake recipe I have ever tried and believe me, over the past 20+ years, I've tried them all. The dark chocolate cake has a texture that is smooth and rich. The flavor is not overly sweet, because of the intensity of the coffee (you don't actually taste the coffee, it just cuts the sweet) and the rum (the Devil in "Devil's Food cupcakes" perhaps?), which make it a great match for cream cheese frosting).
Bars of all shapes, sizes and flavors are perfect for get-togethers because they are easy to serve and offer an unending number of flavor combinations. If you're fretting over which bars to serve at your next gathering, try these raspberry cheesecake treats. Bonus points if you use freshly picked raspberries.
As a no-bake bar, these chocolate mousse beauties are great because they are fast and easy to make for a crowd. The elegant look and rich mousse give them the appearance of something fancy, so you can serve this for any occasion (even the slightly more formal).
Blueberry is one of the classic summer flavors. You'll probably have to wait a little later in the summer to get fresh, local berries, but frozen and store-bought work just fine. I love these bars for a gathering because they look like an elegant pie with the lattice crust, but can be more easily served to a group.
This quintessential southern dessert is found on the back of the box of Nilla wafers. You can certainly use store-bought wafers for this banana pudding and there will be no judgment and it will taste just like you remember when you ate it as a kid. OR you can make your own vanilla wafer cookies and be so glad you did. These are so fun to take to a picnic or serve to a crowd in their individual containers.
Classic, white cake, with a big messy pile of perfect strawberries resting on passion fruit buttercream. It is super easy to put together, but looks like sunshine and happiness, so no one will care that you didn't have to work that hard.