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What Are the Different Types of Finger Desserts?

Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke

A finger dessert, also commonly referred to as a mini dessert or petite dessert, is a type of small, bite-sized sweet dish that generally does not require the use of utensils. This type of dessert may be recommended for events, such as cocktail parties, in which attendees may be standing in order to make eating more convenient. It may also be preferred by people who wish to consume dessert, but in smaller amounts than traditional serving sizes for health or other personal reasons. There are a variety of different finger desserts, ranging from traditionally small sized confections to scaled down versions of larger desserts.

Petit fours tend to be one of the most traditional types of finger desserts. The dessert generally consists of a bite-sized piece of cake, ranging from rich, dense flavors like chocolate to light sponge cake, that is decorated with a rich frosting or light glaze. Petit fours are often served with tea or coffee at the end of a meal.

Chocolate and nut confections.
Chocolate and nut confections.

Another one of the different types of finger desserts are truffles. Truffles are a small confection made primarily of chocolate, butter, and cream that is melted together until it is smooth and creamy, and then chilled. The chilled mixture is typically rolled into small ball shapes that are coated in cocoa powder. Due to the concentrated richness of the chocolate flavor, truffles are usually served as bite-sized pieces to prevent their taste from being overwhelmingly sweet.

Finger desserts on display at a bakery.
Finger desserts on display at a bakery.

While some finger desserts are traditionally made small and tend not to have larger sized counterparts, a variety of other finger desserts are often miniaturized versions of basic desserts. Some of the most common desserts that are often scaled down to bite-sized versions include cheesecake, cupcakes, and fruit tarts. These mini desserts are generally made with bakeware that is specially designed for miniature versions and typically consists of multiple small round cups or pockets that are approximately half of the size of standard bakeware.

Chocolate truffles.
Chocolate truffles.

Finger desserts are often displayed on a platter and served buffet style, in which a person serves him or herself by taking the dessert directly from the platter. Utensils are usually not available with the desserts and in some instances, plates may also not be provided. Due to the informal serving style that typically accompanies the small desserts, it tends to be advised to ensure that the dessert can be easily consumed in one to two bites and has a minimal amount of possible untidiness from crumbs or fillings.

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Discussion Comments


@cloudel - I love fudge too. This year a friend of mine made me some white chocolate fudge that I think I liked even better than the dark chocolate variety. I know that sounds like blasphemy to most chocolate lovers, but it was really good!


My grandmother used to make these cookies that she called Mexican wedding balls. You have probably had them yourself. I think they are pretty common.

It was a small round cookie that had nuts in it and was dusted in powdered sugar. You would usually eat one of the cookies in a single bite. She usually made them around the holidays, and even though she has passed on, I still think about them every year in December.


I'm not really into petit fours, because I don't like cake very much. I prefer finger desserts with a richer taste and a denser texture.

I love pecan balls, which are basically balls of butter, flour, sugar, and pecans. The taste is intense, and it's the perfect mixture of sweet and salty.

I also love chocolate fudge. Most people cut this into small squares to make it bite-sized, and even though you usually get chocolate on your fingers, there are always napkins at the table to wipe it off with so that you don't get it on all the other food.


Orange chocolate truffles are by far my favorite type of finger dessert. Instead of rolling them in cocoa powder, I dip them in melted chocolate and shortening for a smooth coating that hardens.

I start by pouring a mixture of semisweet and milk chocolate chips into a pot of hot heavy whipping cream and orange extract. I whisk this until the chocolate has melted, and then I pour it into a big bowl, cover it, and refrigerate it for 45 minutes. This is how long it takes to harden.

Then, I use the mixer to beat it until it forms stiff peaks and is the consistency of nougat. I form it into balls and roll them in chopped pecans.

Finally, I melt semisweet and milk chocolate chips in the microwave with a tablespoon of shortening. I dip each ball into the chocolate and set it on wax paper to harden. Putting them in the refrigerator speeds up this process.


@DylanB – Cookies are probably too crumbly to be eaten as finger desserts. However, if you can manage to make them small enough to be eaten in one bite, you could get away with this.

My aunt used to make tiny thumbprint cookies topped with jam that you could pop in your mouth whole. You didn't have to worry about crumbs or getting your fingers sticky.


Can cookies be considered finger desserts? I don't know how to make truffles or tarts, but I'm great at making cookies. I've got a party to attend next week, and I want to bring some sort of finger dessert.

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    • Chocolate and nut confections.
      By: rvlsoft
      Chocolate and nut confections.
    • Finger desserts on display at a bakery.
      By: Gordana Sermek
      Finger desserts on display at a bakery.
    • Chocolate truffles.
      By: Angel_a
      Chocolate truffles.