People are always asking me if I make the items on my dessert table or if I purchase them. I guess the answer is yes and no. I hardly ever purchase the items completely done from a bakery or caterer simply because I hate wasting money on things that I think I can do. All of the item above were bought at the grocery store and "dressed up." Occasionally, I will buy sugar cookies to match my party theme because after lots of trial and error, I still can not find a sugar cookie recipe that does not spread. It could be my 1950's oven with a door that does not close but my cookies always end up looking like blobs. (still trying though-- does anyone have a good recipe?)
Honestly, cakes and mini desserts are expensive. At many of my parties, my guest are children. They are happy with just about anything sweet, so spending a lot of more on desserts doesn't make sense. Even if you don't consider yourself a great baker, there are lots of easy delicious desserts (some of which require no baking) that will please any body's palate.
THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE IN CHOOSING A DESSERT TO SERVE AT YOUR PARTY!- Choose dessert that can be made well in advanced (preferably the day before) and that will hold in the refrigerator. You don't want to be scrambling to put a dessert together last minute- way too stressful.
Here are three great types of easy desserts that will work great at any party-
Trifles are an easy dessert made of yummy layers. Usually trifles have a pudding or curd and a cake component- both of which can be made from a box. Add candy, fruit and whipped cream and you have a great dessert. There are TONS of great trifles recipes appropriate for any holiday or flavor profile.
The bottom two trifles are in paper cup rather than glass vessels because the color of the ingredients didn't match the table.
Store bought cookies-
Dress store bought cookies up with frosting, ice cream, or melted chocolate. These are Oreo Cakesters that I drizzled melted chocolate on for bee stripes.
Here I took plain sugar cookies and piped frosting between each layer.
These are store bought fortune cookies dipped in chocolate with a candy heart.
Who doesn't like donuts and they are very inexpensive. Both large chains and small local donut store will make mini donuts or donut holes in custom colors. If the store doesn't have the color you want, order sprinkles from Amazon and take them in. It takes some preplanning but the effort is worth it.
So, I will buy component of desserts in the market or cake supply store to make my life easier. This is where you should spend your money.