Super Bowl Partytime: Desserts to Bring or Serve

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ARE YOU READY FOR SOME...delicious cake? [Flickr: Wolfbay Cafe]

Unless you've been under a rock on Mars, you may have noticed all of our Super Bowl coverage. We've gone over wings, chili, and dips, but what about dessert? It usually gets relegated to packaged cookies and other unimaginative fare. For shame! We can do better than that!

Team-Themed

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[Flickr: NutMeg Confections]

Cupcakes are a given. You can decorate them in team colors and even put little football sprinkles on top. I like mixing up the flavors with a stout beer buttercream, which would go nicely with a basic devil's food.

Sweet and Salty

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[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Momofuku Milk Bar's sugar czarina Christina Tosi's famous compost cookies—potato chips, pretzels, chocolate chips, corn chips, and basically whatever else you want to throw in a cookie—are a natural fit. Heck, if you've done your snack shopping already, you probably have everything you need on hand.

Compost cookies are the perfect example of the sublime marriage between sweet and salty. You can go so many directions from here. Compost brownies! Whatever you feel like, really.

Paula Deen's homemade Kit Kat bars would be a surefire hit as well. Or what about a chesecake with a pretzel crust?

Boozy

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I happen to think that a little liquor can perk up almost any sweet. The aforementioned cupcakes and brownies get a bit tipsy. And any recipe that calls for an extract? You can substitute any liquor, measure for measure. Vanilla extract is, after all, just vanilla beans steeped in a neutral spirit.

Try using more herbaceous, savory liquors too, like chartreuse. It pairs well with a surprising amount of flavors. Or, y'know, pretty much anything out of SE columnist Lucy Baker's cookbook The Boozy Baker, like these beer profiteroles with chocolate-beer sauce.

Or boozy milkshakes? Try this mocha-caramel kahlua milkshake or this vanilla bean bourbon one. Or just grab a six-pack of stout and some ice cream and you're good to go.

Retro

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[Photograph: Roybn Lee]

Somewhere between whimsical and straight-up kitschy is where I like my desserts to stay. I'd put a Jell-O mold pretty far towards the kitschy end—unless you're the Jello Mold Mistress of Brooklyn. Then you have all kinds of gorgeous and sophisticated gelatin-based desserts to choose from (even an agar-based vegan one!)

I'm a big fan of chocolate pudding, too—simple, comforting, popular. You can make it in individual plastic cups—homemade snack packs for everyone!

Interactive

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[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

If you really want to engage your guests (or you'll have a fair amount of them who are uninterested in football), a DIY sundae bar takes no time to throw together (and, really, saves you the work of making anything). Fruit, syrups, nuts, crushed cookies—you'll please everyone with the toppings bar. Well, everybody who wants dessert.

Short of renting a chocolate fountain, though, I think the best chocolate option is fondue. It's crazy easy, and you totally don't need a fancy fondue pot (though by all means, if you have one go for it). Just transfer the warm fondue into a bowl and zap it in the microwave when it gets cool. You could even do the double-boiler thing and put the bowl on top of a pan of boiled water to keep it warm—just make sure it's not in any danger of getting knocked over (hot water burns plus chocolate stains do not a fun party make).

Go Team Dessert! What are you planning for the sweets department on Sunday?

About the author: Liz Gutman co-owns the Brooklyn-based candy business Liddabit Sweets, which means she spends a lot of time around chocolate (and a lot of time eating it). She moved to New York in 2001 to go to, wait for it, acting school. But when the acting life wasn't for her, she wound up in the French Culinary Institute's pastry program while working at Roni-Sue's Chocolates in Manhattan's Lower East Side. She befriended Jen King, aka the other half of Liddabit, at FCI and founded Liddabit in May of 2009.

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