Host a Holiday Dessert Buffet

Christmas, Entertain, Holidays, Holidays, Menu Ideas

This post comes courtesy of Kris Balloun, a member of the Williams-Sonoma content team.


So you had grand plans to throw a party and now you’re down to the wire, with the holidays around the corner. And the thought of preparing a full menu of savory and sweet foods is overwhelming.


The solution is simple: Skip the savories and serve just desserts. Set them out buffet-style so guests can help themselves. Open some bottles of bubbly, have coffee and hot tea at the ready, and let the party begin.


Choose desserts that can be made ahead of time and will hold up well for several hours at room temperature, like the recipes I’ve suggested below. Try them for a festive Christmas gathering, or invite friends to drop by on New Year’s Eve and indulge in a few desserts. It’s a sweet way to ring in the New Year.


Chocolate Frangelico Truffles 
These tempting little bites include only five ingredients, and they’re always a crowd-pleaser. Frangelico liqueur and chopped nuts give the truffles a double shot of hazelnut flavoring.
Lemon Curd Squares
‘Tis the season for citrus, the perfect time to whip up a batch of lemon bars. These are a wonderful blend of tart and sweet — no wonder they’re a customer favorite.
Crystallized-Ginger Gingerbread
Two types of ginger, ground and crystallized, lend warmth to this comforting loaf, which also gets a spicy hit from cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.
Italian Almond Tart
Customers rave about this Italian-style dessert, layered with raspberry jam, almond paste and sliced almonds. Tarts make an impressive presentation, yet they’re deceptively easy to make since you can prepare the dough a day or two in advance.
Butter Cookies
Cookies will always satisfy a hungry group. These rich, buttery ones are half-dipped into melted semisweet chocolate, and they’re super-simple to prepare.


About the author: Kris was raised in Kansas on JELL-O and frozen fish sticks. She rebelled at a young age by learning to cook, whipping up a batch of fluffy scrambled eggs that impressed her family. These days, she’s an avid home cook who loves to host dinner parties for friends. Her favorite techniques are grilling in the summer and braising in the winter. Now she’s landed her dream job — editing all of the recipes for Williams-Sonoma.

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