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Peanut butter and jelly. Apple pie and ice cream. You and your groom. Some great things are even better together. For these dessert ideas, we took a terrific twosome and added a fresh spin—a winning recipe for a happy marriage, too!
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Peanut Butter and Jelly Semifreddo
Your guests will never again look at the classic peanut butter-and-jelly brown-bag sandwich without thinking of these witty (and mouthwatering) semifreddo cakes. Our confections feature white butter cake (the “sandwich bread”); airy peanut butter mousse; and either apricot, blueberry, or strawberry mousse made with puréed fresh fruit. Strained jam is spread on top as a glaze. Serve all three for a colorful array that lends a lighthearted feel to any celebration. “Have your caterer store these in the freezer, then display them a half hour before cutting so they can warm up,” suggests contributing editor and pastry chef Jason Schreiber. Then serve our PB&Js in 1-by-2-inch slices. “You don’t need a big piece,” Schreiber says. “It’s a very rich cake.” And so delicious, you’d never dream of trading it.
“When I was little, I used to love crumbling up chocolate chip cookies and dropping them into my milk,” recalls Schreiber. A more elegant way to get the same delightful taste of milk and cookies? This caramel-y take on yellow cake with mini chocolate chips and alternating layers of crème-anglaise buttercream and crunchy walnut toffee. The entire confection is covered in fondant and dotted with regular-size chips attached with royal icing, giving a grown-up look to a kid-friendly dessert.
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These bite-size whoopie pies deliver all the flavor of apple pie and ice cream—no fork required. Each mini marvel consists of two cinnamon and applesauce cookies joined by a decadent cream-cheese filling. They’re best served chilled; have your caterer store boxes in the fridge until the party’s coming to an end, then send guests home with a box full of tiny but tasty reasons to cheer.
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The star wine-and-cheese combo of your cocktail hour can make a return appearance on your dessert table in these innovative cannoli. Schreiber mixed up a Marsala wine–infused dough for the shell, but swapped out the traditional ricotta-cheese filling for a mascarpone-based version. To get the two-tone effect, he filled a pastry bag with two-thirds plain mascarpone and one-third tinted pink with a Marsala reduction, then piped it into the shells.
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Tell your groom that, yes, he can serve his favorite beer and pretzels at the reception. The beloved bar combo (which might just be your favorite, too) can be transformed into a refined dessert that even your fanciest Champagne-and-caviar relatives will love. Schreiber baked Guinness-flavored chocolate cupcakes in popover pans for height and topped them with cream-cheese frosting tinted with cocoa to resemble the foamy head on a nice cool one.
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