Desserts: My first suggestion about desserts is to avoid them whenever possible. My second suggestion is to make them as simple as possible. And why not? Nobody excpects a single girl to be a baker or pastry chef; those are accomplishments properly belonging to married sisters or maiden aunts. Besides, after a full meal, most people could care less about facing a rich dessert. They are - or should be - completely satisfied by your earlier efforts, or they're watching their waistlines or their cholesterol level. And most important, by the time you, the hostess, reach dessert, you'll need to coast a little. You've planned, cooked, and served enough already; now you need something that requires practically no effort on your part to soothe the nerves (yours) and preserve good humor.
My favorite "dessert" - ditto for most guests - is what someone once called oddments - salted nuts and after dinner mints served with brandy and coffee. You can ad a plate of cookies or petit fours (from the bakery) if you want to make an extravagant gesture. There is a hidden bonus in oddments - people tend to linger at the table, talking, laughing and feeling terribly convivial. As a result they'll feel that you throw marvelous dinner parties, and you'll garner a reputation as a great party giver with no extra effort.
Now you can puke. Look for more horrific quotations next Sunday from this highly significant historical document, written by Dixie Dean Trainer in MCMLXX, whenever that was. Anybody good with roman numerals?