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Easy Mini Desserts For An Afternoon Tea Party

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What is afternoon tea without a few adorable mini desserts? With a little time and creativity, you can reinvent store-bought items into beautiful little desserts for a special occasion tea. 

a trio of easy mini desserts

Miniature Tea Party Desserts

In the Small Bites for Tea Time post, I featured easy canapés and finger sandwiches assembled with ready-made products to make assembly a breeze. No tea party table would be complete without a few miniature desserts, too. 

Grocery stores are filled with items you can combine and elevate into even more delicious treats to please the most discerning tea party guest. I’ll share what products to look for (there are so many ways to customize) and provide not just one easy recipe, but three…for good measure! 

Detailed ingredients and instructions are in the recipe card below, but here are the ingredients and some helpful tips for each delicious sweet treat.

Individual Bread Puddings with Caramel Sauce

A cinnamon-scented custard is baked with bread already studded with fruit. Drizzle a super easy, microwaveable caramel sauce on top and call it done! Although this one requires a little more effort than the others, it’s a simple recipe to prepare thanks to a few shortcut products!

  • Fruited bread – like cinnamon raisin loaf, cranbery-nut bread, etc. Selections will vary depending on the season. Be sure to look in your grocer’s fresh bakery as well as in the packaged bakery aisle.
  • Milk – feel free to use any variety of dairy milk (low-fat, whole) or dairy-alternative. 
  • Soft caramel candies – the kind that come in small squares or rectangles and individually wrapped. Sea salt caramels are perfect!
  • Whiskey – you can use water instead.
  • Pantry staples – room temperature unsalted butter, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, eggs, heavy cream (or half & half or milk).

Tips: 

  • I used 4-ounce ramekins, but custard cups or muffin tins can be used as well. Bake times may need to be adjusted slightly (either up or down) depending on the container you choose.
  • Whether using ramekins or a muffin tin, place them on a sheet pan in case any custard spills over during baking.

Sea Salt + Chocolate Waffle Cookies

This is so easy, it’s ridiculous! We’re taking buttery cookies up a notch with a drizzle of melted chocolate and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. That’s it!

  • Waffle cookies – you may find these at the grocery as ‘stroopwafels’ or ‘butter crisps’. Whatever name they go by, they look like small, thin waffles.
  • Chocolate candy bar – I’m partial to Belgian dark chocolate, but you might prefer milk chocolate. Grab your favorite bar & you can’t go wrong!
  • Flaky sea salt – like Maldon.

Tip: Instead of flaky sea salt, you could stud the chocolate drizzle with chopped dried fruit, crystallized ginger or crushed nuts.

Raspberry-Marmalade Mini Tarts

Refrigerated pie crust turns into tiny tart cases to hold a fresh raspberry and sweet-tart orange marmalade. Only three ingredients! Or, you can take it a step further by brushing on a quick orange glaze spiked with brandy to give them a glossy finish.

  • Refrigerated pie crust – if the package comes with two pie crusts, you’ll need just one…save the other for another recipe.
  • Orange marmalade – if you prefer, use apricot or peach preserves.
  • Fresh raspberries – a 6-ounce package is enough.
  • Brandy – totally optional!

Tip: If the tart cases become too pliable or warm after placing them in the mini muffin tin, pop the tin in the fridge for about 15 minutes before filling and baking.

a group of mini raspberry-marmalade tarts

Ideas for Using Up Extra Ingredients

If you’re sticking with small batches, you’ll have some extra yummy treats left. Besides eating them as is, here are some ideas to use them up…

  • Make French toast with the fruited bread.
  • Serve orange marmalade on crumpets, biscuits or English muffins at your tea party.
  • Grab some marshmallow fluff and make s’mores with the soft caramels and waffle cookies — it’s really, really good!

Throw a Tea Party Anytime!

Hosting an afternoon tea is great way to celebrate holidays like Mother’s Day, and perfect for a baby shower or bridal shower! 

What a wonderful way to enjoy a variety of flavors, from savory canapés (like classic cucumber sandwiches with cream cheese) to these beautiful desserts. For even more variety, fill in with fresh fruit and ready-to-serve goodies like little cheesecakes, petit fours, and macarons. Display your fare on tiered serving trays or an assortment of pretty cake stands. Don’t forget the flowers!

Rows of miniature desserts on a white table.

Easy Mini Desserts For An Afternoon Tea Party

Linda Feller
What is afternoon tea without a few adorable mini desserts? With a little time and creativity, you can reinvent store-bought items into beautiful little desserts for a special occasion tea. 
Course.Dessert

Ingredients

Individual Bread Puddings with Caramel Sauce (Makes 4)

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, for greasing ramekins
  • 4 slices fruited bread, diced (like cinnamon raisin or cranberry-nut)
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6 soft caramel candies
  • 1 teaspoon water, or whiskey
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream, half & half or milk

Sea Salt + Chocolate Waffle Cookies (Makes 4)

  • 4 waffle cookies, like stroopwafels or butter crisps
  • 2 squares chocolate candy bar
  • flaky sea salt, like Maldon

Raspberry-Marmalade Mini Tarts (Makes 14)

  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • 1 cup orange marmalade
  • 14 fresh raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon brandy, optional

Instructions

Individual Bread Puddings with Caramel Sauce

  • Preheat oven to 375°. Toast and cool, or leave bread cubes out overnight to allow them to dry out. Lightly grease four ramekins with butter. Divide the bread cubes between them. Combine milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and eggs in a bowl or measuring cup. Pour the custard over the bread but leave a little space at the top. Gently press the cubes down into the custard to submerge and let them rest for about 10 minutes to get fully saturated. Place on a sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Unwrap 6 caramels and place them in a microwave safe bowl. Add 1 tsp of water (or whiskey) and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Add a scant 1 tbsp of heavy cream, half & half or milk and stir until smooth and creamy. Pour some sauce over each mini bread pudding.

Sea Salt + Chocolate Waffle Cookies

  • Break apart 2 squares of the chocolate bar into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir and cook an additional 30 seconds. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Place 4 cookies on a work surface or some wax/parchment paper. Using a spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate across the cookies. Immediately sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Allow the chocolate to set up for at least 30 minutes on the counter.

Raspberry-Marmalade Mini Tarts

  • Preheat oven to 375°. Unfurl one pie crust. Using a 2½" round cutter, cut 14 circles from the dough. Carefully place each circle into a mini muffin tin and gently push to the sides. Prick the bottoms with a fork. Fill each case ¾ full with marmalade, then press a fresh raspberry into the center. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Optional glaze: microwave 1 tbsp of marmalade + 1 tsp brandy (or water) for 15 seconds. Give it a good stir. Using a spoon or pastry brush, glaze the tops of the tarts.

Notes

Individual bread puddings:
  • I used 4-ounce ramekins, but custard cups or muffin tins can be used as well. Bake times may need to be adjusted slightly (either up or down) depending on the container you choose.
  • Whether using ramekins or a muffin tin, place them on a sheet pan in case any custard spills over during baking.
Sea salt + chocolate waffle cookies: Instead of flaky sea salt, you could stud the chocolate drizzle with chopped dried fruit, crystallized ginger or crushed nuts.
Raspberry-marmalade mini tarts: If the tart cases become too pliable or warm after placing them in the mini muffin tin, pop the tin in the fridge for about 15 minutes before filling and baking.
Keywords.microwave, oven, semi-homemade, vegetarian
Did You Make This Recipe?Be sure to share a comment below!

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11 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Linda, thank you for these recipes! We love that they are super simple but still look amazing. My daughter and I will definitely be giving them a try!

  2. These look so amazing! I’ve never had bread pudding before. I’ll have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Cathy…because of the fruit, I’d recommend one day ahead and store covered in the fridge. They can rest at room temp for 30 minutes or so before serving to take the chill off, but a little chilled would be nice, too…especially in summer.