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When I think of food during the holidays, I don't think about turkey or stuffing or sweet potato casserole. For me, the best holiday food memories center around desserts. For our annual Christmas party, I always try to come up with new and different dessert recipes and this year I decided to have a "trial run" dessert party to test out a few oatmeal recipes I wanted to serve.
A few family and friends were happy to help me out and be taste testers and give their suggestions on the set up of the dessert table. Since we were serving a full dinner and lots of appetizers for our upcoming party I knew that the desserts needed to be bite sized because guests tend to like to grab something small right after dinner but then head back as the night goes on for a few more treats.
I have a few rules when it comes to preparing desserts for parties. It must be easy to make ahead. It needs to be something people can eat while standing around and mingling. And there must be a variety of options for all different tastes. I personally find it hard to serve things like cakes and full pies at large parties and the single serving treats eliminate the need for putting out utensils too. This dessert table meets all of those requirements.
As will all of my parties, I went with disposable where I could. The tablecloth, napkins, plates and serving cups were all purchased last year at Target during their after Christmas clearance. Each year I go bright and early on the 26th and stock up for the following year. I literally buy everything down to the cupcake liners for my future party. Going early means I can usually still shop with a theme in mind and as you can see this year's party featured a variation of traditional red and green stripes and chevrons.
I like to add a little height to my dessert displays because it makes it easier for guests to see and reach their dessert options. Individual cups of trail mix let guests snack on the go and then easily throw the cup away when they are done. This eliminates the need for people sticking their hands into things or having to scoop it out of a big bowl which will inevitably lead to trail mix all over my floor.
This year's dessert table had a few tried and true favorites as well as some new additions. I served:
- Easy Crock Pot Christmas Candy- recipe below
- My Mom's Butterscotch Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies- recipe here
- Buttermilk Cupcake Bites- recipe here
- Sweet & Salty Quaker Oatmeal Squares Trail Mix- recipe coming soon
- An assortment of Christmas candy
The Crock Pot Christmas was a huge hit this year and I have been requested to make more for Christmas day dinner as well. It was so easy because unlike a lot of candy recipes where you have to temper the chocolate just right or use a double boiler and risk scalding yourself, all this recipe took as throwing melting chocolate in a mini crock pot, waiting 15 minutes and then stirring in a few ingredients. You can easily modify this based on what you have on hand but my favorite combo is the one in the recipe below: oatmeal, toffee bits and peanuts. Just one of these is filling enough to satisfy even the biggest of sweet tooths.
Quaker Oats are always a huge part of holiday (and year round) baking in our family and this year's special winter packaging available exclusively at Target was too cute to pass up. It was actually on price cut (varies regionally) and I had a great printable coupon so I was able to stock up for the season at a really good price. Be sure to grab some next time you are out shopping and visit Quaker on Facebook & Pinterest for even more holiday baking inspiration.
Easy Crock Pot Christmas Candy
- 20-24 oz. melting chocolate or almond bark
- 1/2 cup of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
- 1/2 cup of toffee bits
- 1/2 cup of salted peanuts
1.) Chop up chocolate and place in a small crock pot or slow cooker. Let melt on medium for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally.
2.) Once the chocolate is melted stir in the oatmeal, peanuts and toffee.
3.) Line a mini cupcake tin and using a tablespoon or small cookie scoop, scoop the mixture into the liners.
4.) Refrigerate for at least 3 hours to let the candy harden. Can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container.