December 1st, 2011 |

Christmas Cupcakes

With a few Christmas parties/dinners on the horizon, I find that I am searching for unique ideas for decorating cupcakes.  I came across a few new ideas that could work for both kids parties and adult holiday celebrations.

Candy can be used as an accessory to decorate cupcakes.  I love the wreath made of jelly bean topped cupcakes, it makes for a delicious and festive presentation.  You can also use gummy trees and red hots to form a bough of holly.  These snowman cupcakes are TOO cute.  The use of licorice for earmuffs is darling, and so simple!  I typically leave the fondant toppers to my contributor, Charynn of Two Sugar Babies, but if you are looking to expirement, I think these 4 ideas are simple to execute and make a big style impact!

For the adult crowd, I what to try infusing peppermint into my cupcakes this season.  This peppermint mocha cupcake has my name written all over it and I can’t wait to try it out!  And last, but certainly not least, cover an upside-down ice cream cone with green frosting to look like a tree!

Images: jelly bean wreath cupcakes (cutefoodforkids.com), wreath and holly cupcakes (allyou.com), fondant christmas cupcakes (shindig parties to go), snowman cupcakes (allyou.com)peppermint mocha cupcake (bakersroyale.com), christmas tree cupcakes (bhg.com)

November 18th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Winter Confections

Looking for some inspiring winter confections for your upcoming holiday events?  Look no further than this sophisticated color palette and decorations ideas from Jill of Modern Cupcake.  Debuted in the holiday issue of The Party Dress Magazine, use this chic color palette for your Christmas or seasonal soiree.

Dip store-bought sugar cookies in white chocolate & dust with glistening sprinkles or adorn a 3-tiered store-bought cake with satin ribbon & white chocolate trimmings.

photography by Jessica Downey Photo

November 17th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Pumpkin Macarons

Looking for a fun dessert for Thanksgiving celebrations?  These pumpkin macarons will definitely do the trick.  A recipe developed by Charynn of Two Sugar Babies, and featured exclusively in the holiday issue of The Party Dress Magazine….these macarons are a festive spin on a favorite stand-by, and are definitely worth a try.

Basic Macaron Recipe:

1 cup powdered sugar

3/4 cup almond flour (purchase pre-processed or grind blanched almond slivers in a food processor. Process whole dry-roasted almonds for a more “rustic” look.)

2 large egg whites (room temperature)

pinch of cream of tartar

1/4 cup superfine sugar (granulated sugar processed in a food processor works well for me)

1/8 tsp cinnamon pinch of nutmeg few drops of orange food coloring

Filling:

1/2 cup caramel made from sweetened condensed milk (Eagle Brand; find instructions on eaglebrand.com)

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions:

Sift powdered sugar and almond flour together in a bowl. With an electric mixer, whisk egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar and whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add superfine sugar and and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form (add orange food coloring to egg whites just before the end of whisking). Sprinkle flour mixture over the egg whites and fold mixture gently until smooth and shiny–be careful of the amount of times you fold, and watch the mixture carefully while you’re folding. You want it to spread evenly (no peaks remain) when you drop dollops of it, but you don’t want it to run all over the place. A few times looking at the recipe as it goes and you’ll be good. Transfer mixture to a piping bag with a 1/2 inch round icing tip and pipe 1 1/2 inch rounds on parchment covered baking sheets. Bring down on counter to release air in macarons. Let sit on counter until the tops of the circles have started to lose their shine, 30 min to 2 hours, depending on environment. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Reduce oven to 325 degrees and bake 1 sheet of macarons at a time, about 10 minutes, until firm but not brown on top. Reheat oven to 375 degrees between sheets. Let macarons cool and then transfer to wire racks to cool. Cook all filling ingredients in a non stick pan until thickened. Let cool and transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip. Sandwich macarons with 1-1 1/2 tsp of filling. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. May also be frozen for up to 3 months (defrost on counter 30 minutes before serving).

 

November 15th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Fizzy Fig Cocktails

The Holiday season is upon us and you know what that means……one opportunity after another for cocktails!  Creating a festive cocktail for your guests is a great way of adding your own personal touch to a dinner or holiday party.  Maggie Hemsworth from Delish Catering Chicago shared a unique fizzy fig cocktail recipe using homemade sugar cubes (which we LOVE giving as a hostess gift!) in the recent issue of The Party Dress Magazine.

Cocktail

Simply mix 5 oz. of prosseco with 1 or 2 sugar cubes, and add a fig sliced in half.

Fig, Vanilla & Black Pepper Sugar Cubes

Ingredients

4 tbsp Jo Snow fig, vanilla & black pepper syrup

1 ½ cups pure cane sugar

Directions

Cover a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Heat the syrup in the microwave for 20 seconds. Pour syrup over the sugar. Use a fork to combine the sugar and syrup. It should be grainy, kind of like fluffy sand. If too wet add more sugar. If too dry, add more syrup to get correct consistency. Pour on to pan. Using only about ¼ to 1/3 of the pan, pack sugar in to a rectangle. Using a bench scrapper or knife, cut sugar into ½” squares. Allow to dry for about 40 minutes. Then carefully pull cubes apart and allow to dry for another hour or two.

November 14th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Turkey Cupcakes

With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, it’s time to plan out those fun little treats for your kids that will make it a memorable holiday.  This charming turkey cupcake was featured in the holiday issue of The Party Dress Magazine and is the perfect combination of charm + deliciousness!  Made to compliment her kid-friendly Thanksgiving table, Stefanie at Anna & Blue Paperie came up with these simple, DIY instructions for creating these turkey cupcakes:

12 cupcakes

2 cups chocolate Frosting

¼ cup white frosting

6 large marshmallows (halved crosswise)

Crème-filled rolled wafer cookies

Orange decorating gel

24 mini chocolate morsels

12 orange gummy candies (halved)

12 candy corns

Wax paper

2 resealable sandwich bags

Star decorating tip

 

Frost your cupcakes with chocolate frosting.

Using a microwave-safe bowl, melt ½ cup chocolate frosting for 10-15 seconds.  Stir every 5 seconds until mixture is thin.

Dip uncut side of marshmallow halves into the melted frosting, turning to coat.

Place cut side of marshmallows on the wax paper and let stand until set.

Once set, place coated marshmallow half slightly off-center each frosted cupcake.

To create the turkey beak, place a small drop of melted frosting onto the center of the marshmallow.  Place the yellow end of the candy corn onto the drop which will keep the candy in place.

Using the gel, pipe a turkey wattle up and around each beak.

Place white frosting into a sandwich bag.  Cut a small piece from one corner.  Pipe two small dollops on the marshmallows to create eyes.  Place two chocolate morsels on top of the white frosting dollops.

To create turkey feathers, break the wafers in half and insert pieces in a half circle around the marshmallow.

Fit the second sandwich bag with the star tip and add remaining chocolate frosting into the bag.  Pipe frosting around the edge of the marshmallow.

To create the turkey feet, press 2 gummy candy halves below the marshmallow for each cupcake.

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.
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