chocolate cake

chocolate cake

A few weeks ago, my friend Catherine invited us over for dinner, and when I sent the obligatory what-can-I-bring text she replied…

“Can you bring dessert?” And of course I was happy to — it feels like the kind of assignment that can be interpreted as loosely or as lazily as you’d like, and usually I opt for lazy, swinging by the local Italian bakery to pick up my favorite rainbow cookies. On this particular Saturday, though, I had some time, so I decided to take on the Four & Twenty Blackbirds black bottom oatmeal pie, which was definitely a project, but also fun and showstoppy.

It made me think of desserts guests had brought to my house through the years: My friend Jodi once came over for dinner with chocolate soufflé batter in little ramekins, which she finished into the oven while we ate dinner; an old food editor I knew used to show up to dinner parties with a few pints of ice cream and a box of sugar cones, even in the dead of winter; memorably, my friend John arrived in my house with a homemade roll of the famous Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookie dough recipe (it has to be frozen at least 24 hours in advance, fyi), then his young kids and mine baked and served them to us warm with cold milk. (What is better, pray tell?) I know other people who go with Marian Burros’s iconic plum torte, swapping out the plums for whatever is in season, because it’s both special, but more important, a sure thing.

So I’d love to know: What is your go-to when someone asks you to bring dessert? And, if all else fails, there are always Chipwiches.

P.S. Coming home dinners and Toby’s mind-blowing cookies.

(By Jill Chen/Stocksy.)