I have dinner parties down pat. But when it comes to hosting a big brunch party, that's when things in my kitchen can go awry.
I always mean to wake at dawn, to give myself the time to execute whatever elaborate menu I've planned with the precision and efficiency of a brain surgeon. But bed is the best—and when coupled with a gentle breeze drifting in through open windows, and the light of a weekend morning flickering across my comforter? Early rising stands no chance.
The first brunch–menu victim is always, always dessert. When it's almost noon and I've only just put a pork shoulder in the oven, you can bet I'm scrapping the triple-decker pavlova I'd ambitiously sketched on the back of a bar napkin days earlier. This is where my most-trusted shortcut desserts come into play.
I'm talking about cookies that require little more than stirring and scooping, or cakes that bake up in a flash (seemingly through sheer force of will). Each is as impressive and delicious as something from the fancy bakery below my apartment—but comes together with ease and speed, right at home.