Dinner Party Offerings


I have real-life dinner party compulsions:  I always say something awkward within seven minutes of arriving, I always offer to help with the dishes, and I never come empty-handed.  I believe that every offering brought to a dinner party has a certain unspoken subtext.

For example if I bring a bottle of wine to a dinner party, the subtext of the wine is this: ooooh my goodness!  I’m a little late and that’s the worst thing ever.  I picked up this bottle of wine on the way to your party.  I’m 78% sure it’s delicious.  I had to sweet talk the sales man into adding the bow, and please please open it now so we can have a glass.  Also, Hi!  It smells really good in here.

What follows are some awesome recipes you might consider taking as an offering to holiday parties this year.  There will be a certain subtext though, and it’s usually hilarious and revealing.

Candied Pecan Biscotti

Subtext:  I needed an excuse to make candied pecans.  I ate two handfuls.  So what.  Don’t look at me with your judging eyes.

toasted marshmallow squares

Toasted Marshmallow and Jam Squares.

Subtext: I almost set the house on fire toasting these marshmallows under the broiler.  I was trying to brush my teeth at the same time.  I’ll never actually tell you that because I want to seem effortless and chic.  Whatever.

asparagus tart

Asparagus and Gruyere Tarts

Subtext: So I definitely wanted to make a homemade dish for your holiday party… but I also really wanted to have time to curl my hair.  These ready-made all-butter, minimally sliced and diced tarts say:  Yes, I made these and Yes, my hair looks rad.  Owning it.


Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Subtext: I smashed together butter and cream cheese and sugar.  I clearly care about your mouth more than I care about your diet.

dark chocolate, pistachio & sea salt

Pistachio and Hickory Smoked Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies.  

Subtext: I like you so much I shelled pistachios for you aaaannndd I bought fancy sea salt.  I really hope you got me a great Christmas present.   Just kidding (mostly).


Lemon and Thyme Baked Risotto

Subtext: I’m not going to tell you how easy it was to make this until I’ve heard at least four compliments and had at least two glasses of wine. Until then, I’m going to let you think I got a major arm workout stirring risotto when, in fact, I did not.


Parmesan and Herb Cheese Straws.

Subtext: I made cookies last night, then I started watching The Town (obsessed) and ate nearly half of the batch of cookies I made for your party.  I twisted these little gems together about 45 minutes ago and… here we are.  They’re delicious.  You’re not going to be disappointed.


Triple Chocolate Black Bean Brownies.

Subtext: I put beans in your chocolate and you’re going to like it!  That’s a promise not a threat.


Spicy Lemon Date Spread.

Subtext: I know that look on your face means your disappointed in my dip offering, but that look is going to for-real change once you taste this spicy sweet goodness.  Prepare yourself.


Brussels Sprout Salad with Pomegranates and Salad.

Subtext:  You put me in charge of the salad course because your other best friend wanted to make the dessert.  The whole two best friends thing is confusing to me but… no big deal.  I’ll bring a salad.  It will be a game changer.


The Perfect Cheese Plate.

Subtext: Yes, a brown grocery bag is a perfectly presentable serving situation if there is fancy cheese and tiny pickles involved.  Put some flowers in a mason jar and let’s complete this dream!


Gluten-Free Chocolate Peppermin Roll.

Subtext: You’re having gluten-free guests.  I’m bringing the only dessert and I am determined to make you think I’m amazing.  I rolled a cake.  That’s totally super-hero status, right?


Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies.

Subtext: Yes, I just brought the winning cookie to the Christmas Cookie Swap. Oh wait… a swap is different from a contest?  Well, still… I really do feel like I’m winning.

Get up with the get down.  Happy December!

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77 thoughts on “Dinner Party Offerings

  1. I love reading your posts! You always put a smile on my face and make me chuckle. And ALL of these recipes look amazing. I’m just trying to decide which one to make first. :)

  2. A unique and delicious collection of recipes. I will have to give them a try, first I need to find some invitations to the parties, or throw my own. The jam and marshmallow square might need to be tried tonight, the kids would go crazy for them. They would be divine with homemade marshmallows, just pushing it over the top a bit.

  3. Ha! Love this. I ALWAYS say something awkward at parties—or feel awkward which usually leads to me drinking 2-3 glasses of wine to feel less awkward….. I love these ideas with the explanations. Spot on!

    Again- thanks for this awesome blog.

  4. We had our first of several dinner parties to attend this past weekend. I was having an off couple of days and i effed up fudge and cookies. then i wrote about it. so for the next couple of rounds i may take you up on a few of these. i’ve made those oatmeal peanut butter cookies and they would win any contest. thank you! happy december, joy!

  5. I just made the candied pecan biscotti on Saturday, for Christmas gift giving. My name for them is “The Dangerous Biscotti”, because they are SO addicting. Am keeping them in a container in my cold front hall, so it’s harder for me to snitch and, thus, there being an actual chance that they are given as gifts.

  6. I am cracking up over the cookie swap isn’t, in fact, a contest. Every year I secretly think that it IS a contest and I must conquer the swap! Well played Joy, well played.

  7. Oh there are too many on here that I want to make for myself! I was selectively thinking, yep that looks yummy, I’ll try that one, oooh look at those… But I pretty much gave up half way and decided I’m going to have to try making most of these :) A great post to remind me why I follow your blog – not that I needed any reminders :P

    1. Mission accomplished… I’ve picked and pinned my 3+1 favourites out of this post. I agree, puff is great :) Yay! Thanks. Now I just have to decide which I’m making first… although, technically, I could have the cheese straws as nibbles, risotto and asparagus tarts as mains, finished with cookies for dessert… hmm… maybe throw some ice cream in there with that to make it look intentional :P

  8. Thanks for all the links and reminders. That chocolate roll – I remember that one, and oh, what I wouldn’t give for a slice right now. Or the cookies. Or the jam squares. And maybe some asparagus wouldn’t be too shabby either.

    I would love to have you show up to a party bearing any of these in hand!

  9. those asparagus and Gruyere tarts look amazing–and i’m so glad i followed the jump to see them cut into thirds bc i just pictured myself trying to bite into them whole and turning into that awkward person who can’t elegantly eat things (anyone know what i’m talking about? i mean, how are you supposed to eat a large chocolate covered strawberry without it completely crumbling?)

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