I'm a fan of a curated food board in any form, whether it's filled with cheese and charcuterie or a rainbow of different fruits. There's something so appealing about an entire spread of bite-sized pieces all arranged neatly for easy access. Since I hadn't dedicated one yet to sweets (it's almost sacrilegious, no?), I decided to create a board with a variety of cookies, candy, and crunch. As far as desserts go, it makes quite a statement with absolutely zero cooking time and simply requires you to stock up on your favorite packaged treats. Read on below to see the steps I followed in creating my first dessert board:
1. Create a varied assortment. Make sure you have different textures, flavors, and colors so the board doesn't end up looking (and tasting) monotonous.
2. Play with height. Your board will look much more visually appealing if you don't simply spill everything out so that it lies flat. Add Rice Krispies treats on sticks or chocolate cigars for height.
3. Use bowls. Not only do bowls help keep smaller pieces of caramel corn contained, it also breaks up the board and makes them easy to grab.
4. Play with colors and textures. Allow each component of your board to stand out by separating things out based on color, flavor, and texture. Rich peppermint bark is nicely offset by lighter-than-air wafers in a contrasting color.
5. Keep it clean. Since everything comes from a package, be mindful of broken pieces and crumbs. It's important that everything looks as appealing as possible.
6. Look for stand-out pieces. It's fine to fill up your board with a majority of simple, straight-forward sweets, but make sure to leave a little room for some items that make more of a statement. I choose some white-chocolate-dipped Rice Krispies treats and star cookies that draw your attention and feel cohesive.
7. Fill it up. The whole goal of a curated board is to have whatever is on it seem plentiful and enticing and the best way to do that is to have it look really full. Based on how many sweets you're working with, choose a board that will allow you to extend all the way to the edges with things piled up high.
8. Don't make it unapproachable. One of my biggest pet peeves with any kind of food presentation is when it looks so perfect that people are intimidated to touch it. In order to create a little more of that I-just-threw-this-together vibe, grab a few items from their original place (i.e. the caramel corn in bowls) and scatter them around the board. Not only does this fill in the empty spaces, but encourages people to just dive in.