Liza Greis

Do-it-yourself projects and Home Decor

Milk & Cookie Dessert Table

For those of you who read my previous post about how nervous I was about hosting a book launch party for my new book you will be glad to hear I survived. Not without some major hiccups of which I will tell you in an upcoming post, but I survived nonetheless :)

One of the things I did for the party was make a milk and cookie bar for the guests and after having planned and executed it I think I have some useful tips for those of you who might want to do one for your next event.

Tips for having a cookie bar at your next party

rustic cookie bar


Have the milk and other beverages on a separate table.

I ran out of room so I needed to grab another table anyway, but I was also worried about it spilling. As luck would have it, one of the drink dispenser had a loose valve and milk spilled all over the table. Instead of having to redo the whole dessert bar, we only had to fix the small drink table.

milk and cookie bar for party


Also by having more than one dispenser I wasn’t in a bind when one needed fixing.

milk drink dispenser for cookie bar


Make a cookie cake!

I wanted a naked cake under a glass dome, you know the ones without frosting other than what is in between the layers, ( it’s totally a thing, I swear) but my glass done was just smaller than a cake pan. My solution was to make giant sugar cookies and stack them like a cake. It added a centerpiece to the table while still sticking to the whole cookie theme.
cookie cake


Make milk ice cubes

One of my concerns with having milk was that it would get warm. I wasn’t sure if the dessert bar would be inside or out on the patio at the gardens. Nothing is worse than warm milk in my opinion. Okay, there are a few things… Like floaties in your warm milk.

I remember my sister used to put ice cubes in her milk growing up. I considered that but didn’t want to water it down. Then it dawned on me that I could simply make ice cubes from milk.

This shows Shane putting the ice cubes in. We froze them ahead of time and put them in a gallon sized bag. It worked like a charm!

milk ice cubes


Use varying heights

I could have simply laid out all the plates and platter of cookies but that would have been really boring. I chose to have varying heights to display the cookies. And since my book is all about decorating with nature, I of course used some stumps. Also, if you remember, I had a few crates left over from sending out my book. I wanted to tie that into this as well so I used them on the table. I just love crates!

milk and cookie bar at launch party


I ran out of the stain I had doing the 30 other crates but luckily Minwax had also sent me some staining wipes. Have you ever used them before? They are awesome for smaller projects like this!

minwax stain clothes -walnut color

They even come with gloves which is perfect since I ALWAYS forget to grab some. This way I didn’t show up to the party with stain under my fingernails.

minwax stain cloths for smaller projects


Label the Cookies

Yes, for some cookies it may be obvious what they are, but you should label all the cookies for continuity. It looks better if they all have tags instead of just the “gluten free” ones. Plus it adds another decorative touch. I bought these little chalkboards from Joanns Fabric. The 3 packs were less than  a couple of bucks each. They were in their “all things chalkboard” isle. I think they were suppose to be ornaments but I ripped the string loop off of them.

You could also create tag with a fun font and print them out.



Add Flowers or Greenery

Maybe it was because we were at the beautiful conservation gardens, but the comparison of landscaping came to mind. You don’t want all hardscaping. You need some plants to soften it up and add color. The same goes with this. They add that final layer.

I also added some pine cones for good measure.

rustic dessert table


Don’t Try To Bake Them All Yourself!

I originally thought that if I started a few days ahead that I could totally bake all the cookies. But my sweet husband (who is very aware of my flaw of thinking I can do more than I actually can in a small amount of time) suggested we get help. I enlisted the help of anyone who was kind enough to offer. I also ordered some through the local university catering company. I am not sure if all universities have this service but BYU has amazing food and desserts for killer prices. As in $4.25 per dozen for the biggest, softest cookies ever. I ordered the most common types and baked the ones that were not listed as options like my Raspberry Kisses. I think we had in the neighborhood of 600 cookies total with 11 different types.

cookie bar for party



Have you ever had a cookie bar at an event? Do you have any tips that I left out? I would love to hear!



I received product and compensation from Minwax for this post but the ideas and opinions are all mine.

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  1. Marci Clark says

    My baby shower had a cookie bar! My three friends throwing it each made 3 types of cookies and we had a blast eating them all! They had some sort of cute paper bag so we could take cookies home too. I love your milk ice cube ideas. And I LOVE that you got cookies from BYU catering! I love their cookies. And mint brownies. And I think it was from them that we would get some sort of layered bean dip type thing. Oh I miss that.

  2. [email protected] Maggie Lois says

    Well now I want some cookies and milk lol. You did an amazing job, I love the variations in height and adding greenery always makes things look prettier. Stopping by from Joyful Homemaking Think Tank link party, enjoy the rest of your weekend!