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Treat dinner guests to a dessert shooter bar

Updated on August 16, 2013

DIY Dessert Shooters!

What could be more fun that letting all of your dinner guests create their own specialized dessert shooters? Dessert shooters are mini-desserts served in small glasses, some as small as 2 ounce shot glasses.

To create a do-it-yourself (DIY) dessert shooter bar, simply set out a variety of dessert items, such as those listed below. Allow your guests to mix and match ingredients and to name their own dessert shooter. For added fun, offer a prize to the person who creates the most interesting dessert shooter recipe or comes up with the most creative name.

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Small Sized Dessert Shooter glasses

The first step in creating your dessert shooter bar is to provide mini dessert glasses in a range of sizes. Provide a selection ranging from the smallest shot glasses (1 or 2.5 ounces) up to a max of a 5 ounce martini glass. Allow your guests to select whichever size they prefer as the vehicle for their own custom made dessert shooter.

The below glasses make excellent dessert shooter presentations and are all 1-2.5 ounces in size. These are available on Amazon.

Bottom Layer Dessert Shooter Ideas

The key to the very best dessert shooter is to have a variety of textures such as a crunchy cookie layer topped with smooth and velvety ice cream. The bottom layer, imho, is the most fun as it's the last chance to enjoy every drop of the dessert shooter. Sadly, since dessert shooters are usually served in narrow glasses, there's no chance for licking the bottom - a very sad fact, indeed.

  • Crushed cookies. This is one of the most versatile layers in a dessert shooter so set out a few types of crushed cookies such as Oreos, Vanilla Wafers, or Sugar Wafers.
  • Graham crackers crumbs. Set out two bowls - one with just plain graham crackers and one with graham crackers mixed with a bit of butter for added richness.
  • Wet nuts. Wet nuts aren't just for toppings anymore and can add an interesting crunch to the bottom of any dessert shooter.
  • Small squares of brownies. Cut squares less than an inch square for the prettiest presentation in a dessert shooter.
  • Crumbled cake. This is a great way to use up any leftover cake you might have around. Any type of cake works, especially strong flavors such as carrot cake or spice cake.
  • Ice cream sauces. Make sure though not to get the ice cream sauces that harden as shells. You want the bottom layer to be good and gooey if you're using ice cream sauces. Hot fudge works particularly nicely as does caramel sauce.
  • Lady fingers. Lady fingers make a really fun bottom layer for a dessert shooter, especially if you soak them in different flavored liquors (for adults only!). Consider setting out a few different bowls of lady fingers for your dessert shooter bar and label each bowl. Examples of liquor flavors that work well with dessert shooters include Kahlua, Grand Marnier, Chambord, and Frangelica.

Dessert Shooter Middle Layer Ideas

The middle layer of a dessert shooter is the place to put a contrasting texture to the bottom so get ready to mix it up! The below items are particularly well suited to the middle layer of dessert shooters.

  • Puddings. You can shorten your prep time for your dessert shooter bar by setting out pre-made puddings. A word of advice if you do this though - buy the refrigerated pre-made puddings which are much better than the ones on the regular shelf. Consider setting out bowls of tapioca, rice pudding, chocolate and vanilla pudding, or swirled pudding flavors.
  • Jello. For your dinner guest who are watching their weight, cubes of sugar free jello are a welcome addition to a dessert shooter bar. Just like the puddings, you can buy pre-made jello in your grocer's refrigerator section but the selection of flavors is a bit mundane. Consider mixing up your own bowls of key lime jello, lemon or any other citrus flavor.
  • Sorbet. This is another middle layer dessert shooter ingredient which will delight any dieters at your table as sorbet usually has less calories than ice cream (that one is coming!). Select sorbets in various flavors such as raspberry, lemon, or lime.
  • Ice cream! No respectable dessert shooter bar is complete without overflowing bowls of creamy ice cream. Select a few varieties - not just chocolate and vanilla (but, of course, you'll need those too). Add a dish of low-carb ice cream or lower calories selections. Purchase the best ice cream you can find for the best results in your guests' dessert shooters.
  • Jello brand no-bake cheesecake. I can't say enough about including no-bake cheesecake in your dessert bar. It adds a velvety texture and is just a tad sour so is pleasing to the palate. If you don't want to go to the trouble (?) of mixing up your own no-bake cheesecake, look in your grocer's refrigerator section for pre-made cheesecake filling (it just hit the shelves her in Maryland).
  • Dark chocolate or white chocolate mousse.
  • Fruit. Fruit actually is acceptable at any place in a dessert shooter so set out bowls of cut grapes, fresh pitted cherries, or grill peaches for a grilled peach melba dessert shooter.

A few good dessert shooter cookbooks

for some inspiration

Although anything can be put in a dessert shooter (it only depends on your tastes), I love to lok through the below dessert cookbooks for outside inspiration. I've made some wonderful dessert shooters by just adapting a full sized dessert into a small dessert glass.

Heavenly Chocolate Desserts:

Tarts, Mousses, Brownies, and More

Tastefully Small -- Dessert Canapes:

Bite-Size Sweets for Easy Entertaining

Petite Sweets:

Bite-Size Desserts to Satisfy Every Sweet Tooth

Dessert Shooter Topping Ideas - Make 'em festive!

The top layer of the dessert shooter is for decoration! So, set out a few festive choices for your guests to garnish their dessert shooters before enjoying their own creation.

  • Coconut. Set out two types of coconut: shredded and toasted.
  • Mini chocolate chips. For great variety, set out dishes of peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, and mint chocolate chips.
  • Whipped cream. Here's where you can get really creative. Make as many flavors of whipped cream as you like. Just whip the cream until it forms peaks and stir in any type of liquor. A whiskey cream (Irish whiskey mixed into whipped cream) works really well with a bread pudding dessert shooter.
  • Bottles of ice cream topping. Just as good as a topping as on the bottom layer.
  • M&Ms or similar candies. Cracked pieces of toffee make a nice crunchy topping.
  • Andes after dinner mints. The mint and chocolate flavor of these after dinner mints is just right to set off a hot fudge sundae dessert shooter.
  • Maraschino cherries. Of course, no delicious dessert shooter is complete without a cherry on top!
  • White and dark chocolate curls.
  • Nuts. Peanuts or walnuts make a nice topping. Toasted slivered almonds is also a nice addition to any dessert shooter bar.
  • Cinnamon and sugar.
  • Any kind of cake decorations such as chocolate sprinkles or colored sugar.

Bite By Bite:

100 Little Plates for Any Party

Bite-Size Desserts:

Creating Mini Sweet Treats

Crazy for Cake Pops:

50 All-New Delicious and Adorable Creations

Mini Cookbook Collection--Best of Desserts

(Miniature Cookbook Collection)

Sweet Miniatures:

The Art of Making Bite-Size Desserts

Gale Gand's Just a Bite:

125 Luscious Little Desserts

Let me know, either way!


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