Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hosting the Perfect Holiday Cookie Swap

This year, I hosted my very first cookie/ornament swap! For me, a cookie swap is the perfect way to kick-off the holiday season. It's a time for family and friends to get together in a festive setting over cocktails, chit and chat and cookies! Wanna host a cookie swap of your own? Invite a group of family & friends to your home and have each one bring 2 dozen of their favorite homemade cookies or treats. At the party, sample the treats, then trade and package them as gifts. The goal: Everyone leaves with finished gifts and plenty of new recipes.
Send out your invitations: Set the right tone for your cookie swap with stylish invitations. I got mine on zazzle.com. Make sure you send them out at least 1 month in advance.
Create a beautiful display: Set out several platters and cake stands. Put folding place cards out for guests to write the name of the cookie they brought.
Set Up a Packaging Station: Stock the station with sticky labels, ribbons, twine, cardboard boxes, tissue paper, scissors, and other trimmings.
Prepare for the Swap: On the day of the party, have plenty of drinks available. Including warm spiced apple cider, champagne, & ice water. Be sure to have some salty snacks like popcorn and chips to balance out all the sweetness. Start sampling, swapping, and packaging cookies. Most importantly, have fun!
VENDOR CREDITS: Styling: Frost Cakes| Paper Bunting: Michael's Craft Store| Candy: Michael's Craft Store & Target| Custom Gingerbread House: Frost Cakes| Invitations: Zazzle| Flag Printables: Catch My Party| Photography: Frances Park & Frost Cakes| Lunch Catered by: Ward Lorica

Homemade Holidays

This year, why not give something homemade for the holidays. Homemade gifts are the best kind to give. It's personal and shows that you took the time to make something during the busy holiday season. Here are some of my favorite homemade gifts to give:
Hot Chocolate on a Stick
Vanilla Marshmallows
Cinnamon Honey Butter
Melt-in-your-mouth Shortbread Cookies
Truffles
Candy Cane Cake Pops
S'mores Cake Pops
Mini Pecan Pies
Present all of your homemade gifts in a tin or basket, add a bottle of sparkling champagne and you're ready to give!
merry merry!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bourbon Pecan Truffles

Tis the season to be with family, eat tons of turkey and eat truffles! (or at least dessert.) Silky cream, semi-sweet chocolate and bourbon give these truffles a sophisticated flavor (they're also rolled in chopped pecans!) They're definitely going to be a part of my holiday candy arsenal this year!
{Bourbon Pecan Truffles} You'll need: 1 cup heavy cream| 10 ounces of semisweet chocolate| 2 tablespoons bourbon| 1 cup finely chopped pecans
Directions: In a medium saucepan, bring cream to a boil; remove from heat, and add chocolate and bourbon. Let stand 3 minutes; whisk until smooth. Transfer chocolate mixture to a medium bowl, and refrigerate, uncovered, until thick and firm enough to spoon out in mounds, about 2 hours. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Drop level tablespoons of chocolate mixture onto baking sheet. Refrigerate chocolate mounds until firm, 30 minutes.
Place pecans in a shallow bowl. Using hands, roll each chocolate mound into a ball; roll balls in pecans, pressing lightly to adhere, and place on baking sheet. Refrigerate truffles until set, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween Round-Up

It's my favorite time of the year again! I thought I'd share some treats (both sweet and savory) that we made. Clockwise: This year's "TREATS" table, "Zombies Ate My Pepper" Stuffed Bell Pepper, "Ghostly" Pizza.
Clockwise: White Chocolate Ghost Lollipops, Caramel Apples, Harry Potter’s Butterbeer, Pumpkin Whoppie Pies.
And last but certainly not least, Frankenstein Hello Kitty Cake Pop & a witch Hello Kitty carved pumpkin!
Have a spooktacular Halloween all!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt

I love this time of year when the leaves start to change color and the weather outside is not so-frightful. (Although, it's getting there!) Fall is my favorite time of the year. First, there's Halloween (which I'm absolutely obsessed with), Thanksgiving, then Christmas! I love the fall flavors and pumpkin simply epitomizes fall. It’s like getting a warm bear hug. I’ve been experimenting with pumpkin lately and instead of baking a pie, I wanted to make something different. So, I made pumpkin frozen yogurt. It has pureed pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and it’s surprisingly creamy. It’s the perfect dessert for fall!
{Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt} You'll need: 1 1/2 cups Greek lowfat yogurt| 1 1/2 cups whole milk| 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar| 2 cups pureed pumpkin| 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon| 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.
Directions: Whisk all ingredients in a bowl until combined. Place in an ice cream freezer bowl and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.
Enjoy!

Monday, October 8, 2012

It's a "lady" bug's life!

Lady Bug cake pops!

Birthday Cake Batter Pancakes

Did I have you at birthday cake batter? I made these fluffy stacks of deliciousness for my husband’s birthday but, you can make these for any celebration or just about anytime you crave them! These pancakes are topped with a luscious buttercream glaze and sprinkled colorful sprinkles. Wanna make your own stack?
Here’s what you’ll need:1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour| 1/2 cup yellow cake mix| 1 Tablespoon baking powder| 1 Tablespoon sugar| 1/4 teaspoon salt| 2 eggs, slightly beaten| 1/4 cup butter, softened| 1 3/4 cup milk| Colorful sprinkles.
In a large bowl whisk together flour, cake mix, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add in beaten eggs, milk, and butter. Stir gently just until dry ingredients are well incorporated. Batter should be a little lumpy. Let batter sit for 7-10 minutes.
I LOVE SPRINKLES!
Fold in sprinkles. Heat buttered griddle to 375 degrees. Add batter to the griddle using a 1/4 cup to scoop out the batter. When small bubbles start to break on the surface of the pancake, it is ready to flip. Stack pancakes on a plate when done.
Buttercream Glaze: 1 cup powdered sugar| 2 Tablespoon butter, melted| 2 Tablespoons heavy cream| 2-3 Tablespoon milk| 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract.
Combine all ingredients & stir until it reaches a glaze consistency. You may need to add more milk if it’s to thick or more powdered sugar if it’s too thin.
Drizzle buttercream glaze over the stack of pancakes and top with sprinkles.
Happy Birthday to the best husband in the world! XO

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Welcome back brunch!

Cinnamon honey butter is such an easy way to jazz up your brunch menu. It's fabulous on toast, muffins, waffles or just about anything you like. It's also incredibly easy to make! Let's bring back brunch!
{Cinnamon Honey Butter} You'll need: 1/4 pound unsalted butter (at room temperature)|3 tablespoons of good honey| 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon| 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Directions: Combine the butter, honey, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Store in a clean jar. This will keep for months in the fridge.
If you want, you can put a pretty label on it! Makes a fantastic hostess gift!
Happy Brunch!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Brown Butter Toffee Blondies

(Try saying that 3 times!) These brown butter toffee blondies are absolutely out of this world! Who knew a brownie made without chocolate could taste so heavenly? Maybe it’s the brown butter or the toffee bits that add this incredible layer of flavor you get with each bite? It’s buttery, gooey and simply decadence at its best. Lovely with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or all by itself!
{Brown Butter Toffee Blondies} You'll need: 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter| 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour| 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder| 1 1/2 teaspoons salt| 2 cups packed light-brown sugar| 1/2 cup granulated sugar| 3 large eggs| 2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract| 1 cup toffee bits
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. 2. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the butter until it turns golden brown; remove from heat, and let cool. (I used an ice bath to help accelerate this process & remember to handle with care because the butter is really hot. I think I burned off my finger nerve endings!) Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine browned butter and both sugars; stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Attach bowl to mixer; add eggs. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla, and beat to combine. Add flour mixture and toffee bits. Mix until thoroughly combined, and pour into prepared pan.
4. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.