Julia Child's Simplest Dinner Party Dessert Is An Instant Coffee Sundae

A lot goes into planning a dinner party. Thinking up the entrees alone can take up a lot of brain power. (Will those sizzling steak fajitas satisfy everyone?) So when it comes time to think about the dessert, you might be ready to just phone it in and buy something premade from the store. Luckily, it doesn't take much to make a delicious dessert. After all, some of the most beloved sweet treats, like fudgy brownies or a simple batch of cookies, contain just a few staple ingredients. Still, if you want to stray from those traditional offerings and add a new easy-to-make dessert to your lineup, consider heeding the timeless wisdom of Julia Child. When it comes to quick dinner party desserts, one of the author and TV host's go-tos was a boozy instant coffee sundae.


Child shared details about this adult twist on the classic soda shop treat with Cosmopolitan in 1990. To make it, she started simply with some ice cream — vanilla, or, for a stronger flavor, coffee (though chocolate would probably also work well if you're a mocha fan) — scooped into "a bowl or big wineglass." Next, she poured some bourbon whiskey over the top and, finally, garnished the dessert with a bit of powdered instant coffee for the perfect bittersweet finishing touch. That's really all there is to this straightforward yet ingenious sundae. 

Elevate your sundae with two simple tips

To make Julia Child's dinner party sundae, you can always opt to buy and sprinkle on some powdered instant coffee from the store. However, if you want to add more of a homemade flair, you can also opt to grind granulated instant coffee in a blender and turn it into a fine powder. Either method will lend a deliciously dark, toasty edge to this simple sundae.


As a pairing for her instant coffee sundae, Child recommended serving a cookie alongside it. Because of the decidedly sweet and smoky flavors of this boozy, frozen delight, a number of different cookies will work. From classics like chocolate chip and snickerdoodle to more unexpected baked goods like lemon shortbread, choosing which cookie to pair with this dessert is the perfect chance to get creative while keeping things simple for your guests. Once you've got this sundae down, it's time to think about all those other elements of your dinner party. For example, have you thought about the music selection yet?