January 16th, 2012 |

Cake Pop Displays

I have been surfing the web looking for creative ways to display cake pops for a couple of client events I have coming up.  Cake pops have become a staple on dessert tables, so finding new ways to display them is always helpful!  I came across this gorgeous display by Sweet Lauren Cakes and not only do I absolutely LOVE the custom built stand, but I also love the pink ombre effect of the cake pops.

Edging tiers of a wedding cake creates a stunning effect and nice texture to any dessert table.  I tried this concept for our Mod Fish baby shower last year.  You can see our step-by-step tutorial here.

There are some darling ideas out there for kids parties too…..how much do you LOVE this hungry caterpillar display from Pottery Barn Kids?

Images: tiered cake pop stand (sweetlaurencakes.com), wedding cake (via pinterest), vase of cake pops (neimanmarcus.com), cake pop tree (abeeinourbonnet.com), hungry caterpillar cake pop display (potterybarnkids.com)

January 12th, 2012 |

Breakfast with the Babes!

It’s a fun week over here!  We welcomed our new contributor, Casi from CupcakeMag on Tuesday, and today, we are welcoming another new contributor, Jane Carlisle.  A senior at DePauw University, Jane is doing a college internship with WH Hostess and The Party Dress this semester.  She’s learning the ins and outs of both sites, and I am sure you will see plenty of inspiration from her in the upcoming weeks!  xo Kelly

 ***

After being home in Chicago for over a month on winter break, as well as beginning my internship with WH Hostess and The Party Dress, I sincerely began to miss all my close friends back at DePauw.  Not to mention, my famous campus radio show I co-host every Tuesday morning with two of my best friends during the semester called “Breakfast with the Babes!” This got me thinking, now that the craziness of the holidays has finally come to an end, what could be better than a fun excuse to gather up all your closest babes for a darling, chic breakfast? Not much if you ask me, I can’t think of anything better than kicking back with a mimosa in hand and nibbling on a delicious stack of pancakes.  A girly breakfast filled with a bright pink and orange color palette is the perfect ticket to bring your girlfriends together.

I absolutely adore the idea of these fun pancake doodles.  You could do anything with this from the traditional circle and heart shapes to something as funky as a shape of a high-heeled shoe!  It could even be fun for your babes to each design their own doodle!

Not to mention, fresh fruit is a must at any breakfast, and the darling assorted fruit presentation inside a carved out watermelon would look fabulous as a centerpiece.  Add a hot pink grosgrain ribbon around the green skin to add that extra girly touch! For a sassy twist on the classic breakfast cocktail, the blushing mimosa will look fabulous against a pink and orange table.  Just add a touch of pineapple juice and grenadine to the classic drink for the blush look! This “Breakfast with the Babes” theme would be perfect for a darling bridal shower or sweet 16!

Images:Pancake doode (moredesignplease.com),Watermelon fruit display (downtown.tumblr.com), Blushing mimosa (myrecipes.com),  Table setting (dexknows.com),
Flower arrangement (bestweddingsites.com)

December 14th, 2011 |

Chocolate Matzo Toffee

Looking for a yummy treat for Hanukkah celebrations?  This chocolate matzo toffee recipe from Maggie Hemsworth of Delish Catering Chicago that was featured in the holiday issue of The Party Dress Magazine is a MUST!

Ingredients

5 sheets lightly salted matzo crackers

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter cut in to small pieces

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 (10-oz) package of bittersweet chocolate chips

2/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted

½ tbsp. sea salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 275°F. Line a cookie sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. Place matzos on cookie sheet – you will have to break some of them up to for an even layer. Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the brown sugar and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved and begins to bubble. Pour the sugar mixture over the matzo crackers. Spread out evenly with an off-set spatula. Place in over and cook for about 17 minutes, until the toffee glistens.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Place back in oven and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread chocolate evenly over the toffee mixture, using an off-set spatula. Sprinkle with the almonds and sea salt. Place in refrigerator to cool, at least 2 hours.

December 6th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Modern Gingerbread

Gingerbread cookies are a staple this time of the year, but why not update them a little bit by piping on some modern, graphic patterns?!  Our assistant editor, Charynn of Two Sugar Babies, created some examples for the holiday magazine.

Choosing two of the trendiest patterns on the market right now, Charynn used a piping bag to frost these cookies with both a clover pattern and a chevron.  Cute, right?!  (and yes, I will be using this as inspiration for my Christmas cookies this year!)

I also love the idea of decorating cookies with initials.  They could make a darling placecard for a holiday dinner, or a cute gift idea! (make one for each member of the family and wrap them up on a cute plate….so simple, so cute and thoughtful!)

December 1st, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Peppermint Icing

Speaking of cupcakes…..have you tried this peppermint icing recipe that Jill from Modern Cupcake shared in the holiday issue of The Party Dress Magazine?!  It’s so simple and completely delicious!  Love it for holiday cupcakes, but I am also inspired to try it as the filling for my whoopie pies!

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.

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