Miniature desserts are dangerously easy to eat but impossible to resist, and at parties, it’s all about convenience, which is why finger foods generally go first — especially the sweet ones. Forget the fork and knife — people always choose the food that is easiest to pop into their mouths, and this especially rings true for desserts. The faster they’re eaten, the easier they’re enjoyed, and the more time everyone has to move on to the next sweet treat of choice.
Miniature desserts are also especially appealing to partygoers because they allow them to sample several confections without feeling guilty or indulging in a lethargic sugar coma. Not everyone needs a full slice of cheesecake to feel satisfied; some only want a bite or two of the rich treat, and that’s why miniature desserts like the five we’re about to highlight today are perfect to serve on the sweets table at your next summer party.
Instead of baking just one big cake or a couple pans of cookies, consider trying your hand at a number of desserts, and make them miniature. Mini desserts are easy to love and easy to eat. As it turns out, you really can have your cake and eat it, too.
1. Mini Red Velvet Cheesecakes
We’ll start out with mini cheesecakes since we’ve already let the cat out of the bag that this dessert favorite can be made fun-sized. Especially for summer holidays, these Mini Red Velvet Cheesecakes from Betty Crocker are sure to be a hit at your next soiree. When red cheesecake comes in a simple foil baking cup, there really is no reason to resist it, and when the rich dessert is miniature, it promises not to yield the same sugar hangover that its regular sized companion promises.
- 24 thin chocolate wafer cookies (from 9 ounce package), crushed (1¼ cups)
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 packages (8 ounces each) plus 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened baking cocoa
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 tablespoons red food color
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon granulated or powdered sugar
- Chocolate curls, if desired
Directions: Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place foil baking cup in each of 16 regular-size muffin cups. In small bowl, mix cookie crumbs and melted butter. Divide crumb mixture among cups. With back of spoon, firmly press cookie crumbs in bottom of each foil cup. In large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually beat in 1 cup granulated sugar and the cocoa until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and food color. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Divide batter evenly among baking cups.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until centers are firm. Cool 15 minutes. Refrigerate in baking cups at least 1 hour; cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour longer before serving.
In chilled small bowl, beat whipping cream and sugar with electric mixer on high speed until stiff. Spoon whipped cream on chilled cheesecakes. Just before serving, garnish with chocolate curls. Cover and refrigerate any remaining cheesecakes.
2. Brownie Bites
Brownies can be made mini, too, and these Brownie Bites from The Pioneer Woman are the sweetest poppable snack. Without committing to a full-out dessert, you can throw back these mini bites as fast as you can grab them, and you can also decorate them as you wish with nuts, candies, sprinkles, sea salt, and more.
- 4 whole 1-ounce squares unsweetened chocolate
- 2 sticks butter, softened (but not room temperature)
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 whole large eggs
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks
- 8 whole 1-ounce squares semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup cream, heated
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Directions: Melt 4 ounces chocolate in a saucepan over low heat. Once it’s melted, set it aside for 15 to 30 minutes, allowing it to cool. Using your stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs two at a time. With mixer on low, drizzle in the cooled chocolate. Mix until just combined. Next, add in vanilla extract and mix until combined. Add flour and mix until just combined. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl and mix for five more seconds. Add chocolate chips and chocolate chunks and mix for just a few seconds on low, until they’re incorporated.
Generously grease and flour mini-muffin pan. Scoop generous teaspoons of batter into each tin. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until set. Remove pans and invert on a cooling rack. Allow brownie bites to cool completely.
To make the icing, mix cream with corn syrup and heat in a microwave safe container. Add chopped chocolate to a separate bowl. Add vanilla to warm cream mixture, then pour over chopped chocolate. Stir until chocolate totally melts and mixture is smooth. Add brownie bites face down in the icing. Dunk to submerge, and spoon icing over the top to thoroughly coat. Remove with a fork, tapping the fork on the side of the bowl several times quickly in order to get the excess to drain between the tines. Carefully set on a baking mat or sheet of waxed paper.
3. Mini Apple Pies
Mini pies are up next, and they’re Mini Apple Pies to be exact, straight from Food.com. Apple pie is the quintessential American summer treat, and now you can have them in all their fun-sized glory. Pull up a seat and get ready to take notes. You’re going to want to see how quickly these mini apple pies can steal the show at your next party.
- 2 cups flour
- ⅔ cup butter (chilled)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons water
- 5 medium apples (peeled and chopped up into small pieces)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons butter (chilled)
Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Get muffin pan out. No need to grease it. In food processor blend flour, salt, and butter until it looks like little peas. Add in water and blend just until it looks like it’s sticking. Take out and combine it by hand until well blended. Roll out on lightly floured surface until about ¼-inch thick. Cut 12 4-inch circles with cup or bowl. Press each circle in muffin tins until all the way up each side, to form little bowls. Mix by hand all filling ingredients and spoon into muffin bowls.
Cut up butter into 12 little pieces and place one piece on each pie. You can decorate them anyway you like with extra crust, or just leave plain. Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 16-18 minutes. When cool, just loosen with a spoon and they’ll come right out.
4. Mini Vanilla Cupcakes
Don’t forget about cupcakes. Those sugary confections can be made mini, too, and if you can believe it, even more delightful. All you need for these Mini Vanilla Cupcakes from Gourmet, via Epicurious are your baking staples, along with mini-muffin pans, and with just 15 minutes of baking time, you’ll have your perfect fun-sized desserts that are easy to eat without a mess.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup whole milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1¾ cups vanilla buttercream
Directions: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin cups with liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Stir together milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add egg and beat until just combined. Reduce speed to low, then add flour and milk mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour and mixing until just combined.
Divide batter among muffin cups, filling them two-thirds full, and bake until tops are pale golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in centers comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Invert cupcakes onto a rack and cool completely. For each color, transfer 1/4 cup buttercream to a separate small bowl and tint with food coloring (if using), then frost tops of cupcakes.
5. Bite-Size Carrot Cakes
Last but definitely not least: Bite-Size Carrot Cakes from Six Sisters Stuff. You’re going to need two hands for these. Making 48 cakes, this simple recipe promises to please everyone, and allows all your guests to sample the sweet treat. Bite-size carrot cakes will convince even the most savory eaters to step over to the dessert dark side — the only question is: how many batches is enough?
- 1 carrot cake mix
- 3 eggs
- ⅓ cup oil
- 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple
- ½ cup raisins
- ¾ cup coconut
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- Orange Frosting
- Green Frosting
Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix together cake mix, eggs, oil, pineapple, raisins, coconut, and walnuts until completely incorporated. Spoon the mixture into greased mini muffin tins, until each one is about ⅔ full. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely, and then top with cream cheese frosting. I used the orange and green frosting to make mini carrots on top.