When it comes to baking and dessert-making in general, I am handicapped. I appreciate the precision with which my baker and pastry chef friends go about their business, but I am all thumbs when it comes the science of it.
I do believe a good meal should end with a sweet course, no matter how petite it is. I don't want to serve a huge slice of chocolate cake or an enormous portion of a freshly baked pie. It should be just a final bite or two, not a feast unto itself.
There are a bundle of pastry shops on the Coast that offer gorgeous creations, and it would be a good idea to check them out and find your favorite.
Here's the simple option I go to when I don't have time to go to the bakery. It was inspired by the ice coffee found at the Vietnamese restaurants, and is delicious and packed with sugar and caffeine to make your guests want to get up and do something.
1 pot strong coffee
Sweetened condensed milk
Lindt hazelnut truffles
1 shot glass per person
Pour about a quarter inch of sweetened condensed milk in each shot glass, add one truffle to each and top off with coffee. Allow your guests to stir their own glass.