Piece of Cake Summer Party

Summer is winding down, but it's not too late to throw one more outdoor party and go out with a bang! We're getting one last taste of summer with these fun, new party ideas. The Kitchen and party planner Mary Giuliani teamed up to make a memorable summer party with "snacktivities" for all ages.

Frose (Rose Wine Slushies):

Two of summer's biggest trends are rose and wine slushies--why not combine them for a party-pleasing adult beverage? This drink is sure to be the hit of your end-of-summer party. Pour rose into ice cube trays and freeze until firm; it won't freeze solid because of the alcohol content, but you're looking for a relatively solid consistency--about 6 hours usually does the trick. We like to add one raspberry to each cube for flavor and color, but you can use any berry you like or omit the fruit all together. Once frozen, carefully remove the cubes from the ice cube tray and quickly transfer to a blender. Blend for just a few seconds until slushy, taking care not to overblend and melt the rose. Serve immediately with straws.

Corn Bar:

Corn on the cob is one of the best parts of late summer, and we like to give guests the experience of trying it in a new way with our DIY Corn Bar. First, shuck and cook the corn--we grilled ours, but you can also boil it depending on your preference. Once it's cool enough to handle, cut it into thirds and attach each piece to a skewer so that the corn remains on the top part and the bottom part of the skewer acts as a handle. For a fun presentation, we propped our skewers in a bucket by filling the bucket three-quarters of the way with sand and topping with dried beans.

Next, set up "stations" with your favorite flavor profiles for topping the corn. We made an "Italian Station" with balsamic glaze and grated Parmesan, a "Maple Bacon Station" with maple syrup and chopped cooked bacon and a "Spicy Buffalo Station" with hot sauce, crumbled blue cheese and finely diced celery, but set out whatever toppings you like! Encourage guests to take corn skewers and top as they please!

Skillet Cookie:

The only thing better than a skillet cookie might be a grilled skillet cookie with a toppings bar. Press 2 packages (about 2 pounds) of store-bought cookie dough into a heavily greased skillet. Grill on indirect heat for about 40 minutes. Cool slightly and slice. Let guests top with an assortment of items: we like ice cream, sprinkles, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, sea salt, toasted almonds and chopped bacon.

Recovery Gift:

Treat your guests to a gift that will help them recover quickly from their "end-of-summer blues." We used little metal buckets as planters for summer's best herbs. This is a great way to use any extra that you may have in your garden, or you can purchase them inexpensively. We just replanted the herbs in the buckets and tied with ribbon for gifting. By taking these home, your party guests can keep a little bit of summer in their windows all winter long!