Whether you're planning a camping trip, cookout or an all-day family reunion complete with a buffet, dessert finishes off a meal in style. But certain serving situations mean you can't use desserts that will wilt, melt, sour or otherwise become unsafe or unpleasant to eat in especially warm or cold weather.
For an all-American cookout, few desserts beat a fruit pie topped with a crust. Although cream and custard pies will go bad quickly if not refrigerated, a good apple, blueberry or peach pie will keep outside for all day -- if it's not eaten first. You will have the best results if your pie has a top crust to protect the filling from bugs and other mishaps. Pecan pies and ganache pies are also work well though ganache will not keep quite as long without refrigeration as fruit or pecans. Or, make tarts, cobblers or individual pies.
If you're not the baking type, nothing could be simpler than a large bowl of candy for dessert. Many store-bought varieties keep well in all weather -- hard candy, of course, as well as saltwater taffy and chalky conversation hearts. If you enjoy cooking up your own desserts, the sky is the limit with candy. Create any flavor of taffy or caramel you can dream up, or make lollipops and rock candy in themed shapes or holiday colors to suit the celebration.
Dense, fudge brownies are a smart choice for a marathon outdoor birthday party. They keep their shape in both hot and cold weather, and can be left unrefrigerated for days. Brownies with melting components, such as chocolate chunks, caramels and peppermints, are improved by heat, which gives them a lava cake effect. Brownies also can be made in all kinds of flavors to suit any taste -- including vanilla "blondies" for the non-chocolate fans.
Whether store-bought or homemade, cookies are another good all-weather dessert. Crispy sandwich cookies last for days in any weather, and homemade chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies might go a day or more without needing any kind of refrigeration. If invincibility against weather is your primary factor in deciding which kind of cookies to make, go for biscotti. These Italian treats are crunchy and versatile -- you can make it in flavors ranging from gingerbread to lemon to chocolate chocolate chip -- and above all, have a long table life.