How to Make a Holiday Dessert Board

by Magnolia
Published on December 16, 2019

With Christmas just around the corner, chances are your tree is lit, your favorite tunes are playing in the background, and holiday parties are in full swing whether you’re hosting or attending a gathering this season. A dessert board is a creative way to share your favorite treats (homemade, store-bought or gifted to you) with family and friends. Here, we’re sharing a few simple tips for building your own.

Choose a Board

Take stock of what platters and trays you have on hand and decide what will work best displaying your treats. If you don't have any great options, here are a few we recommend:

+ Serving PlankOpens in new tab
+ Bread BoardOpens in new tab
+ Marble Cutting BoardOpens in new tab
+ Cake StandOpens in new tab
+ Round Serving PlatterOpens in new tab
+ Raised Serving BoardOpens in new tab

TIP: We recommend a board or dish with no raised edges. It’s easier to arrange ingredients on a flat surface. (We’ll add small bowlsOpens in new tab later to help create levels and visual interest.)

Build Your Board

Gather Your Desserts

Get creative with the treats you want to include on your board. It can be an assortment of cookies or a variety of favorite festive desserts.

Here’s our list:

+ Dipped Shortbread from Magnolia JournalOpens in new tab winter 2019Opens in new tab
+ Chocolate Espresso Crinkles from Magnolia JournalOpens in new tab winter 2019Opens in new tab
+ Candied Pecans from Magnolia TableOpens in new tab
+ Peppermint Bark 
+ Candy Canes  
+ Candy Ribbons 
+ Candy Cane Lollipops  
+ Jujube Divinity Candies  
+ Marshmallows from Hudson Valley Marshmallow Co. 
+ Chocolate Chip Graham Crackers from Hudson Valley Marshmallow Co. 
+ Chocolate Covered Pretzels  
+ Biscotti 
+ Wrapped Caramels from Shotwell Candy Co.

How to Build Your Dessert Board

Place Small Bowls on Board

Depending on the size of your board, start by placing 1-3 small bowls for wrapped or smaller candy. Not only do these small bowls add height to your board, but they also serve as an anchor you can arrange other ingredients around.

Place Pieces of Wax Paper on Board

Cut out small pieces of wax paper for where sticky candy or crumbly cookies will be placed. This will make for easier cleanup later!

Don’t Overcrowd the Board

Rather than piling ingredients on top of each other, start with flat ingredients, like cookies and pretzels, and fan them out across different areas on the board. Then fill in the gaps with smaller candies and cookies. If you’re running out of room, place items like candy canes and lollipops in your small bowls or in cups next to the board.

Remember, you can always replenish as the party goes on, so don’t feel like you have to overcrowd your board with every treat at the beginning.

If you don’t have a board but you do have a round platter on hand, see below for a smaller arrangement that looks just as festive!

Take a picture of your holiday dessert boards and tag us @magnoliaOpens in new tab. We can’t wait to see what you create this season!

Note: The dipped shortbread recipe instructions make sqaure shaped cookies—in this blog, we made them circular. Either method is fine!