November 4th, 2011 |

Fall Wine & Cheese Party

Wine & cheese is a staple (and favorite) night in our house!  But it’s also a simple way to throw a party.  You don’t need to mess around with an entire meal or tablesetting – just put together one fabulous plate (I prefer my wine barrel lazy susan) and dress it up with some “accessories” such as nuts, and fruit.  This time of year, you can play into the “wine” colors with flowers, or a bowl full of fruit to place on your table.

Thinking of throwing your own party?  Style at Home as a great feature on creating a high/low wine and cheese party…check it out here.

October 31st, 2011 |

Candy Corn

Happy Halloween!  I hope you are all having a SWEET holiday!  Do you love candy corn as much as I do?  I have a huge jar of it that sits on my countertop from September 1st on…I’m always looking for unique ways to incorporate it into baked goods.  I was so excited to find Zachary Confections.  They offer flavored candy corn!  With bold flavors and bright new colors, this candy corn looks great and I think I am going to have to find some soon to try!  (flavors include Cherry, Tangerine, Raspberry, Caramel, Caramel Apple and Cinnamon)

October 27th, 2011 |

Creative Cookies: Gobble Gobble

I came across these darling turkey desserts on Pinterest last night, and absolutely could not wait until after Halloween to share them with you!  I may be rushing the season a bit….but they were way too cute to sit on!  Our Best Bites is the creative genius behind this idea using simple grocery store items such as oreo cookies, mini peanut butter cups, candy corn, etc.  Head over to their blog to get the simple step-by-step instructions.

October 11th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Halloween Cupcakes in a Jar

With Halloween quickly approaching, I thought it was only appropriate to share these darling Halloween cupcakes in a jar that Glory of Glorious Treats created for the Fall issue of The Party Dress Magazine!  So simple, and visually stunning – these cupcakes will sure to be a hit among guests young and old.  Read on for the instructions from Glory….

Layering cake and frosting in a jar transforms a simple cupcake into an eye catching treat. Top with a lid for easy transport, or a delicious gift.

Directions

Purchase a case of 1/2 pint canning jars, wash and set aside. Bake chocolate cupcakes in paper liners, baking as directed (using a box mix or scratch recipe). Prepare a batch of classic buttercream frosting, or cream cheese frosting, and color the frosting orange (using concentrated gel coloring). Fill a large piping bag (fitted with a large round or open star tip) with the frosting (or fill a large ziplock bag and snip off one corner)

Assemble

Once baked and cooled, cut each chocolate cupcake in half (horizontally). Drop one cupcake half into the bottom of a jar, and top with a layer of frosting. Repeat two more times with cupcake halves, then frosting, until you have 3 layers of cupcake, and three layers of frosting. Top with sprinkles if desired. Serve cupcakes without lids, or cover with lids for a great party favor or gift.

October 4th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Caramel Apple Torte Cake

So, I know you have all been drooling over this picture in the fall issue of The Party Dress Magazine and have just been DYING for me to post the recipe.  The day has come for me to share this sweet little treat with all of you!  An exclusive recipe from our assistant editor, Charynn of Two Sugar Babies, this fall treat will have you drooling faster than you can read the recipe!

Cake Recipe
1 1/2 c. butter
3 c. flour
3 c. sugar
1t baking sola
1t baking powder
2T molasses
1T cinnamon
1t nutmeg
1/2t salt
1T vanilla
1/2 c. milk
3x eggs
3x apples, peeled and grated
3 9″ cake pans or 2 half-sheet pans (for making normal size cake or small individual cake, respectively)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your pans with cooking spray or silpat liners. Whisk together dry ingredients into large mixing bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time, completely mixing in. Add dry ingredients gradually and mix until thoroughly combined. Slowly incorporate milk and vanilla. Add apples and mix until just combined. Pour into prepared pans and bake in preheated oven until firm to the touch. Let cool.
Caramel apples
1 stick butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
4 apples peeled and sliced thinly
1/4 c. dark rum (optional)
Melt butter in a large skillet and then stir in brown sugar. Add apples and cook over medium-high heat until caramelized. Add rum if using and use a long lighter to catch a flame (to burn off the alcohol). Be very careful!! Let flame burn down. Turn off heat and let cool completely, otherwise they will melt your cream.
Whipped cream
1 sm container Heavy Whipping Cream (i have to get the oz–i think it’s 8?)
3T powdered sugar
1T vanilla
1/2t cinnamon, optional
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip cream until medium peaks form. Slowly add powdered sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Gently incorporate vanilla and cinnamon, if using.
Assembly
Remove cooled cakes from round cake pans, if using. If making individual-size, using a round cutter, cut 4″ circles from your 1/2 sheet pan and lay separately on parchment. Spray cutter with cooking spray if sticking.
Layer the cakes in the following order: cake, whipped cream, apples, cake, etc. Finish with cream and apples. Use extra caramel sauce from the apples to drizzle over the sides. Alternatively, homemade or store bought caramel sauce could be used. Serve immediately.
September 29th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: DIY Caramel Apples

One of the tastiest photo shoots/articles I did for the Fall issue of The Party Dress Magazine was our DIY Caramel Apples.  Talk about tasty!!  They are so simple to make, and you can get very creative with your toppings….which leaves you with a fabulous opportunity to coordinate with your party colors/themes.  Here are the six simple steps:

1. Gather your ingredients: caramels, apples, candy sticks, chocolate and toppings

2. Melt the caramels in a pan, and dip your apples once it is the right consistancy

3. Place your dipped apples on a piece of wax paper and let harden

4. Melt your chocolate and mix in a teaspoon of vegetable oil to make it shiny, dip the bottom half of your apples

5. Immediately dip your apple into the topping of your choice, and then let dry

Suggested toppings:

toffee crunch, mini m & m’s, chocolate chips, “turtle” toppings, nuts

September 28th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Fall Hostess Gifts

I must get 5 e-mails a week of readers asking for unique hostess gift ideas.  It’s the standard dilema that we all run into at the start of a new season….what type of gift is unique, useful and thoughtful?!  Charynn and I each came up with our go-to hostess gift for the Fall season and presented them in the Fall issue of The Party Dress Magazine, and we are sharing them here today….

My go-to gift is a small basket of goodies – a fabulous bottle of wine (this St. Supery Chardonnay happened to come from my recent trip to Napa), a bouquet of fresh sunflowers, and a box of goat milk caramels from Williams Sonoma (along with a hand-written note, of course!)

Charynn, being the cupcake lover that she is, loves to bring a box of homemade cupcakes as a hostess gift.  I love that she took the time to dress up a paper box – it makes it look extra special.  She braided yarn to get this chunky look, and then made a few flowers out of felt that she had sitting around her house.  The project took less than 10 minutes and turned out SO darling!  (you could duplicate this idea on any time of gift!)

Speaking of cupcakes….have you been following the cupcake spy posts on Two Sugar Babies blog lately?  It’s full of fabulous insider information to the best cupcake shops in different cities around the country.  Check it out!

September 27th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Fried Green Tomatoes

We’re back with another recipe from Delish owner, Maggie Hemsworth.  Fried green tomatoes….have you ever had them before?  I had not, not really sure why, the opportunity had just never presented itself.  Let me tell you, after sampling this at our photo shoot, I have actually had dreams about them.  {and I am only partially embarrassed to admit this}  YOU.MUST.TRY.THIS.RECIPE!

Fried Green Tomatoes with Goat Cheese and Tomato Jam

6 hard green tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick

Kosher salt and black pepper

Freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk

1 cup yellow cornmeal

2 cups Japanese panko bread crumbs

Vegetable oil, for frying

Tomato Jam (see recipe epicurious.com)

¼ pound goat cheese

Slice the tomatoes into ¼” slices. Season with salt and pepper. Pre- heat oven to 200°. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Place the flour in a shallow bowl, the buttermilk in another and the flour and cornmeal (stirred together) in a third bowl. Take a slice of tomato, coat in flour (shaking off an excess), dip in the buttermilk, then coat with the breadcrumb/cornmeal mixture.  Place on a plate and repeat the breading steps with the rest of the tomato slices. Heat ¾” of oil in a skillet to 350°.  Cook tomatoes on each side until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Remove with a slotted spoon, place on the baking sheet. Keep in the oven until all the tomatoes have been fried. Top with a piece of goat cheese and a dollop of tomato jam.

September 27th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Sweet Corn Bruschetta

Delish Catering Chicago owner, Maggie Hemsworth created for exclusive recipes for the Fall issue of The Party Dress Magazine.  I personally tasted each one of these and let me tell you, these will become your new go-to party foods for Fall.  First up today is the sweet corn bruschetta…..

Sweet Corn Bruschetta with Honeyed Mascarpone

6 ears fresh corn

8 oz mascarpone

1 TBSP honey

2 TBSP chopped chives

Extra virgin olive oil (about ¼ cup)

Loaf of french bread

Salt and Pepper to taste

Place the cleaned ears of corn in a pot of boiling water and cook for 12 minutes. Remove and allow corn to cool down.  When cool, cut the corn off the cob and mix the corn with 4 tbsp olive oil and chives.  Add salt and pepper to taste. While the corn is cooling, cut the French bread in ¼” to ½” thick slices.  Brush each side with olive oil.  Place in the broiler and toast each side about 3 minutes each.  Watch closely because the bread can burn quickly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Mix the mascarpone and honey together. Spread the mascarpone mixture on the crostini and then top with the corn mixture.

September 26th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Popcorn Bar

It’s been so fun highlighting all of the articles from the latest issue of TPD Magazine….and today is no different!  We are showing off the details of a fabulous Popcorn Bar designed by Jessica Kirkland from Pen ‘n Paperflowers.  Here are the details from Jessica….

The idea of an interactive Popcorn Bar came to me as I was preparing a slideshow/movie to watch for a Family Reunion I would be attending. The family movie was going to be shown at a family member’s home with 5 acres of property, horses and a gorgeous pool as the backdrop for the slideshow. I decided I wanted to create something kid-friendly and fun to go along with the movie and I needed it to be easy as far as food preparation for 50+ people. A rustic-style Popcorn Bar was just what I needed!!
My intentions were to create an interactive popcorn bar that would allow everyone to personalize their bags of popcorn. By selecting a seasoning (or two) as well as offering a few candies and peanuts to throw in the mix, this option allowed everyone to get creative and ultimately cater to a large array of popcorn palettes.

As a fun, special element for the children, I offeredcaramel popcorn balls I ordered from Kernel Encore and served them up on The Pastry Pedestal™.

In my research, I visited a local popcorn vendor, Kernel Encore, intending to choose three different flavors of popcorn for the popcorn bar. After more research, I decided to do the most simple, and cost-effective thing: I pre-ordered 10 bags of fresh, already popped popcorn from my local grocery store. I then ordered an array of popcorn seasonings, (Kettle Corn, Apple Cinnamon, Nacho Cheddar, White Cheddar, Ranch, Chili Lime, and Caramel) and a butter spritzer from Kernel Season’s website.
I also added another interactive element to the popcorn bar by creating a fun, simple game called “Mystery Popcorn Flavors”.  I ordered 5 different ”Sampler Bags” of unusual flavored popcorn from Kernel Encore. (Salt & Vinegar, BBQ, Watermelon, Peanut Butter and Taco).  With each of the flavors in a separate numbered basket, I challenged everyone to sample them and offered a prize to the person to guess all five flavors correctly.

The food preparation couldn’t have been more simple and I believe everyone had fun serving up their own snacks in preparation for the movie. A popcorn bar is such a versatile idea allowing for so many different creative avenues to choose from. With Fall just around the corner,  a rustic Popcorn Bar would be so fitting for any of your upcoming events. Just add a couple of pumpkins to the display or a few bales of hay and you’re ready for that Fall Festival or Thanksgiving dessert table you’ve been fretting over.

 

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