Sometimes I have an issue with signing myself up for things I shouldn't do, and sometimes that includes cooking. Here's a little background info before we dive in: a club of mine on campus was hosting a party, expecting an estimate anywhere from 80 to 100 people. To save the hassle of trying to find a restaurant or catering company, I offered to cook some appetizers and finger foods.

Long story short, I don't think I'll be catering again for a while.

My main issue however, was merely the size of my kitchen and the equipment I had access to. Baking 200 chocolate chip cookies with only one mixer and two cookie sheets is a challenge unto itself. My friend and I had carefully planned out all the ingredients and time we would need to cook or bake everything before hand so that wasn't much of an issue.

To break down the event for you, here's everything I "catered." In that you ever need to bake for 100 people, you'll be a little more prepared than I was.

1. Cookies

cookie, chocolate, sweet, pastry, cake, goody, chocolate cookie, dairy product
Melissa Miller

Amount: 200 cookies

The Challenge: Making 200 cookies. It took us two days and approximately a combined six to seven hours to make all of them. Foolishly we did not double batch the first couple dozen, but when we did everything started going much faster.

#SpoonTip: Because we had to make so many cookies, I didn't include a full 3/4 cup of chocolate chips like the recipe suggested or I would have had to buy more bags (I bought two bags of Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips). I also made the cookies a lot smaller to reach the 200 count. Sometimes the cookies would melt together in the oven but that was easily fixable by either cutting or just breaking them apart.

2. S'mores Bites

Amount: Approximately 200 individual S'mores Bites

The Challenge: These are some of the most delicious treats if you can't get a campfire to actually roast marshmallows.

After dipping them in chocolate and covering them in rainbow sprinkles, you have to put them in either the refrigerator or the freezer to set. This took a lot longer than I thought it would (and more space which was a challenge to find), and my friend ended up having to bring the other half because when I left the chocolate wasn't yet hard and would make a huge mess.

#SpoonTip: My first is that the recipe says to make them "s'mores pops" but you really don't need to. Secondly, depending on what size you want your s'mores to be I recommend cutting the marshmallows in half or they'll melt over the edge of the graham cracker and make a bigger mess to deal with. This might have been user error, but when I tried putting the chocolate chips on the other graham cracker to melt in the oven along with the marshmallow, they didn't melt like they should have. My solution was to completely opt out of the chocolate chips and use Nutella after the marshmallows had come out of the oven (I would put the Nutella on while the marshmallows are cooking, that way you can slap them on as fast as possible when they come out).

3. Lemon Bars

sweet, pastry, candy, cake, cookie, bread, chocolate
Isabella Martin

Amount: Three pans, approximately 120-140 individual squares

The Challenge: Lemon bars require you to make the crust first and then the "lemon layer," then a long cooling process. Time management and then realizing we needed to go buy pans was our big "oops." Our first batch was cooked in a glass pan while the other two were cooked in metal pans which made them cook differently. The metal pans cooked the edges more, so be weary of the pans you use.

#SpoonTip: Don't use a metal pan if you can help it. This might have been the fault of our pan size but it seemed like we had more crust than the lemon layer so using less of the shortbread crust probably wouldn't hurt.

4. Pigs-in-a-Blanket

Alexa Rosenberg

Amount: Approximately 140-150 Pigs-In-A-Blanket

The Challenge: This was also tedious but not very hard and a pretty easy thing to cater for any party. We cut the hot dogs in three and the crescent rolls in two to meet our count. Honestly, this was probably the easiest thing we did because it only involved two ingredients and you could fit a ton on one pan without risk of them baking too close together.

#SpoonTip: If you have to bake a lot of these, save yourself some money and buy the cheaper hot dogs and store-brand crescent rolls. There was little to no difference in using store brand versus name brand.

5. Ham and Swiss Sliders

Alexa Rosenberg

Amount: Approximately 60 sandwiches

The Challenge: Again, tedious but not hard. I goofed and didn't buy as much meat as I should have to create all the layers they did in the recipe. I also didn't have enough cheese so I had to add some other kinds. Otherwise this wasn't very hard to do and could be easily done in just one pan for a family dinner or potluck. 

#SpoonTip: Use other types of cheese along with the Swiss. Swiss is a peculiar flavor and you can mask it with other types of cheese and the seasoning you soak the buns with. Plus, if you use a super stringy cheese like mozzarella you'll get some real #InstaWorthy pics.

Overall Thoughts

liquor, alcohol, wine, rosé wine, rosé, glasses, Bottle
Caroline Ingalls

Baking that much food in a day and a half to cater was definitely a learning experience. It taught real time management, patience and some math skills when figuring out how to double or triple a recipe.

Would I recommend doing it in the future? Maybe not, or maybe not with so many different items to make even though they were all delicious. We had about 70 people which was way under the projected amount of guests so there was a lot of food left over (that got taken home by myself and the guests). 

So my most important #Spoontip is if you're going to become a caterer for an evening, grab one of your besties, make sure you have your time management skills down and blast your friends away with how amazing of a cook you are. If not, than it's still perfectly acceptable to pour yourself a glass of wine and let the professionals do the job for you.