Hello again! It’s Chris here from Celebrations At Home, today I have more tailgating ideas for you regarding everyone’s favorite – dessert! For any group gathering I like to offer up different options for guests, especially when it comes to sweets. It’s best to serve a variety of flavors and textures, and for a home tailgate party or for one in the parking field, my go-to desserts are bars.
I like to serve dessert bars for a few reasons:
- you can make a large batch at once
- you usually get more layers of flavor with bars.
- they don’t require special cutting, utensils, or plates.
- they are the perfect grab-and-go treat.
Below, you’ll find tips for setting up a simple tailgate-worthy dessert table, plus 2 of my favorite dessert bar recipes that are proven winners with men, women, and children.
Set up a treat table
If you’re “tailgating” at home set up a small side table dedicated to sweets. I used a small round bistro table and covered it with a throw that matches our team’s colors.
Adding a few key decorative pieces to the display will create a festive feel without being too fussy or crowded. I used a team pennant and mini helmet to show our team spirit, and added a football themed photo for an unexpected touch.
Use rustic boxes as risers to add height and display the desserts on.
Choose 2 or 3 desserts to serve and add in something “less structured” like sweet & salty trail mix, or other candies served from a mason jar. I always like to compliment the main food items with easy nibbles.
Now, here are 2 of my tried and true dessert bar recipes you can make for your own tailgate party. Remember when making bars; always line your baking pan with parchment paper for easy release of the bars and easy cleanup.
- 1 package Golden Vanilla cake mix
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 3 cups mini marshmallows
- 2/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 cup peanut butter chips
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2/3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups rice crispy cereal
- 2 cups dry roasted lightly salted peanuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To make crust layer, combine cake mix, 1/3 cup melted butter, and egg. Press into a 9×13 inch pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 14 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle mini marshmallows over the top. Return to oven for 1 to 3 minutes, or until marshmallows begin to puff.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan cook corn syrup, 1/4 cup butter, peanut butter and chocolate chips, until melted. Stir often until smooth.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, cereal, and peanuts. Pour mixture over marshmallows and spread to cover.
Allow to cool completely before placing into refrigerator to set up.
Glazed Lemon Bars
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using an electric mixer on low speed, combine crust ingredients in a large bowl until crumbly. Spoon mixture into a 13×9 inch pan lined with parchment paper. Press evenly to cover bottom, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, for filling beat eggs lightly in a large bowl, with a wire whisk. Add remaining filling ingredients EXCEPT lemon juice, and mix well. Add lemon juice and beat until incorporated into mixture.
Remove crust from oven and pour filling mixture on warm base. Return to oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes more or until top is light golden brown. Cool completely for 1 hour or more.
In a small bowl mix powdered sugar and lemon juice together for glaze. If mixture is too thick add up to 1 tablespoon more of lemon juice. Spread glaze over the top of the cooled lemon bars.
Store in refrigerator to set up completely.
I hope you’ll give these dessert bars a try. Serving them together offers chocolate lovers a crunchy gooey option, as well as a sweet-tart lemon bar option for those who like something different.
Chris Nease is a home entertaining expert & creative party stylist who has spent 15 years specializing in small celebrations. As the Editor & Creative Director of Celebrations At Home blog, Chris shares ideas & tips for celebrating all occasions with unique & accessible style. She’s also a freelance writer and editorial stylist for the web and print, and has been published in Woman’s World, Yum Food & Fun for Kids, Cottages & Bungalows, and authored a chapter on holiday party planning for the book Clutterbug’s Guide to an Organized Christmas.