Dessert

Dessert Charcuterie Board | Christmas

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Creating a dessert charcuterie board can be a delightful and visually appealing way to present sweet treats and snacks.

Colorful dessert charcuterie board with cookies, candies and fruit.Pin
Christmas Grazing Board Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival

What is a dessert charcuterie?

According to the Institute of Culinary Education, the term “charcuterie” comes from the French chair cuit. That translates to cooked flesh. So, what in the heck is a dessert charcuterie?

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Perhaps the more proper term for this is a dessert grazing board or just a dessert board. Still, since the charcuterie board has taken on a whole new life of its own, anything goes these days.

A dessert charcuterie board is a creative and visually appealing way to serve various sweet treats, similar in concept to a traditional charcuterie board, which typically features an assortment of meats, cheeses, and accompaniments. The idea is to present a selection of desserts in an accessible, communal, and aesthetically pleasing manner.

These boards aren’t only perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Make a Valentine’s Day board. It’s also great for potlucks, Halloween, Easter, and the summer holidays. They are also popular for birthday parties, wedding showers, baby showers, special family treats, or movie nights.

Why should you make one?

  • Versatility for Different Tastes: A dessert charcuterie board offers a wide range of options, making catering to different preferences and dietary restrictions easier. This variety ensures that there’s something for everyone.
  • Visual Appeal: These boards are not only delicious but also aesthetically pleasing. They make an attractive centerpiece for gatherings and can stimulate conversation and interest.
  • Ideal for Gatherings and Parties: For social events like parties, a dessert charcuterie board provides a communal and interactive way for guests to enjoy dessert.
  • Customization: You can tailor your dessert board to fit the theme of an event or the season. For instance, you can use seasonal fruits and themed sweets for holidays or special occasions.
  • Convenience:  It allows guests to serve themselves, reducing the need for formal dessert service and making hosting easier, especially in a casual or buffet-style setting.
  • Encourages Sampling: Instead of committing to a single dessert, guests can sample small portions of various items, making for a more diverse and satisfying dessert experience.
  • No Cooking Required: If you choose ready-made desserts or simple items, you can assemble an impressive board without the need for cooking or baking, saving time and effort. There is minimal clean-up, too. Get the kids involved. They love to help place all of the goodies on the board.
  • Fun and Creative Activity: It’s a chance for you to let your creativity shine. Each board is unique, and there are no rules. The more random the presentation, the better. It adds interest and prompts interest.

What you need

  • Cookies: Choose your favorite homemade or store-bought cookies for your board. For Christmas, you will want to use traditional Christmas cookies. This board contains molasses cookies, lace cookies, spitzbuben, and Ischler. You can make a dessert charcuterie any time of the year, so use your favorite seasonal or perennial cookies.
  • Cakes: Pound cakes, brownies, and quick breads will work great here. You don’t want to choose a cake that has too much icing and will be messy. Cut the cake into bite-sized pieces.
  • Crackers: Use graham crackers and vanilla wafers instead of traditional crackers.
  • Candies: Store-bought or homemade candies all work well. Fudge or chocolate truffles will also fit into this category. You could even make a chocolate salami for a fun play on words. Christmas is a great time to use store-bought candy in fun shapes or brightly colored foil wrapping.
  • Fruits: Use both fresh fruit and dried fruit. Some good fresh fruits are mandarins, apples, red and green grapes, or berries. Dried fruit could be pineapple, apricot, apple slices, berries and coconut.
  • Savory: To balance the sweetness, use nuts, seeds, crackers, or pretzels.
  • Cheeses: Although the board focuses on sweets, adding a few cheeses that complement dessert is excellent. Cheeses could include brie, camembert, gorgonzola, an apricot, or cranberry stilton.
  • Dips or spreads: Your board could include fruit dips, jam, chocolate ganache or fondue, and caramel sauce.
Close up of colorful holiday grazing board.Pin
Holiday Grazing Board Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival

Planning and shopping for your board.

  • Choose a large board, platter, or multiple smaller ones to assemble your dessert on.
  • Consider diversity. Plan on incorporating sweet and tart fruits. Add different textures like creamy cheese or crunchy pretzels.
  • Don’t overbuy. It can be easy to see all the fun possibilities on the store shelves and think you need each one. Perhaps you do, but maybe you don’t, and you can save a bit of money and calories.
  • Estimate portions. Each adult will only eat approximately two ounces of cheese, a handful of fruit, and a few cookies, cake bites, or candies.
  • Consider beverages. Beverages could be as simple as coffee and tea, but you could also serve it with a dessert wine, mulled cider, a cocktail like a chocolate martini, or a sparkling wine like prosecco or champagne.

How to make it

  • Plan to arrange the board where you will serve it so you don’t have to move it, whether a kitchen counter, the dining table, or even outside, for a picnic dessert board.
  • Arrange larger items on your board first. Then, you can fill in with smaller items.
  • Peel or cut fruit as needed. Peel oranges and break them into sections. Use kitchen scissors to cut off groups of 3-5 grapes so that people don’t have to handle the large cluster.
  • Arrange the color scheme so that it looks appealing. Think of the color wheel when placing items so neighboring foods’ colors don’t clash.
  • Place smaller items in small bowls. Think of blueberries or nuts that may roll off of your board. Use bowls or ramekins for any dips or spreads that you incorporate.
  • Group items in odd numbers. In other words, use odd numbers for each ingredient- 3, 5, 7, 9, etc. It is more visually appealing to the eye than even numbers.
  • Ensure you have serving utensils like cheese knives, forks, tongs, and spoons for dips and spreads. Place each utensil next to the food that will need it to serve portions.

What to do with leftovers

If you are making your board for a party, split up the leftovers between your guests. Everyone can enjoy a bit, and no one overeats sugar.

Store chocolate in a cool, dark spot with low humidity. Refrigerate any leftover fresh fruit in air-tight bags in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Eat them as soon as you can for the best flavor and texture.

Freezing: Leftover cookies and cakes can be frozen; most will last at least three months—package leftovers in air-tight containers. Remove as much excess air as possible. Do not freeze or refrigerate chocolate.

Mixed desserts on a large board with fruit and nuts.Pin
Dessert Charcuterie Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival

Special holiday suggestions

  1. Valentine’s Day: Incorporate heart-shaped chocolates and cookies: pink, red, and white M&M candies and sweetheart candies with their fun sayings.
  2. Easter: This one is a no-brainer, really. Steal some of the easter candy from your kid’s basket. Use jelly beans, chocolate eggs, peanut butter cups, and Easter peeps, and sprinkle your board with some Easter grass.
  3. New Year: Use assorted pretzels (a German New Year tradition), twelve grapes (a Spanish tradition), sweet tamales (Mexican), Oliebollen (Norweigen), Marzipan pigs (Austrian), or king cake. Use gold and silver-wrapped balls. Use blackberries, grapes, and kiwis for fruit.
  4. Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day: Use a red, white, and blue color scheme. Make or buy flag-shaped sugar cookies. Incorporate red, white, and blue iced mini cupcakes. Strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries are perfect.
  5. Thanksgiving: Mini pumpkin pie tarts, Pumpkin bread, dried apples, For sauces and dips try cranberry butter or cranberry jelly

Other recipes that are good for dessert charcuterie

More Fun Boards

Helpful Tools

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you go to the link and purchase something at no additional cost to you. See FTC Disclosure here.

Close up of spitzbuben, Ischler, Christmas pretzels, and various fruit.Pin
Dessert Charcuterie Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival

Designing and assembling the board can be an enjoyable and creative process. It allows for personal expression in the selection and arrangement of items. Let your creativity shine and make one for your next party.

Assorted sweets on a pink board.Pin

Dessert Charcuterie | Christmas Grazing Board

Creating a dessert charcuterie board can be a delightful and visually appealing way to present sweet treats and snacks.
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American, French
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 454kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $20

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb brie cheese
  • 1/2 lb gorgonzola
  • 1 bunch red grapes
  • 1 whole orange
  • 1 apple
  • 12 cookies
  • 12 pieces quick bread or cake
  • 1 pound assorted chocolates

Instructions

  • Wash and prepare all fruit into bite sized pieces. Arrange on serving board.
    1 bunch red grapes, 1 whole orange, 1 apple
  • Slice cheeses into bite sized pieces. Arrange on serving board.
    1/2 lb brie cheese, 1/2 lb gorgonzola
  • Cut cake or quick bread into bite-sized pieces.
  • Arrange all of your remaining ingredients on a large board or several smaller serving platters.
    12 cookies, 12 pieces quick bread or cake, 1 pound assorted chocolates
  • Incorporate spreading knives, serving spoons,or tongs, as needed.
See all of my favorite tools and gift ideas on my New Amazon Store!Check out Binky’s Amazon Store!

Notes

See the article above for helpful tips and tricks.
 
Spreadable cheeses;
  • brie
  • aloutte type 
  • cream cheese blends
  • port wine cheese
  • chutter
  • Stilton cheeses
Fruits to add;
  • apple
  • pear
  • grape
  • orange
  • pineapple
  • cantalope
  • melons
  • apricot
  • peach
  • plum
  • dried cranberries
  • strawberries
  • raspberries
  • blueberries
  • currants
Any other of your favorites. I find bananas don’t work well because they brown so quickly. Apples, peaches or anything that browns can be tossed into lemon juice, before adding to board.
 
If you love seafood, check this post out for Charcuterie Platter with Seafood

 

Nutrition

Calories: 454kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 489mg | Potassium: 147mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 368IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 252mg | Iron: 1mg
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Beth Neels

Author: Beth Neels

Title: Owner

Expertise: canning, game meat cooking, smoking

Bio:

Beth Neels is an entrepreneur, blogger, photographer, author, and recipe developer. She founded Binky’s Culinary Carnival in 2014, focusing on “Crafting delicious recipes with sustainable ingredients.” She has been featured in multiple online publications, including MSN, Reader’s Digest, Associated Press, and Parade.

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