Unicorn Birthday Party

I love unicorns. I have forced them on my 2 year old daughter. She kind of loves unicorns. She’ll get there. But to help her along, I hyped up the idea of having a super cool, super sparkly, super rainbow-filled unicorn birthday party….and, in her adorably deep and raspy words,

she “y-oved it!”

No Unicorn Party is complete without these 11 things…

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1) a gold glitter unicorn 2)rainbow straws and 3) “unicorn horn” lollipop   4) temporary unicorn glitter tattoos

 

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5) unicorn headbands 6) Unicorn literature

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7) pink glitter plates 8) rainbow chevron napkins 9) a rainbow frosted cake

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10) a gold tinsel backdrop

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and of course 11) a 2nd cake with clouds, rainbow and unicorn

IMG_4437Correction…there are 12 things you need for a complete Unicorn Birthday Party…. 12) an adorable little birthday girl!

P.S…..

When having a breakfast birthday party, as we did here… don’t serve donuts with breakfast! There was no room left for CAKE!!!

Happy Birthday Lucy Lu!

 

Olaf Cake Tutorial

What is a FROZEN party without an Olaf Cake???!

It’s a super easy way to make your FROZEN themed party extra special. With these pans, I used one box of white cake and 1/2 batch of homemade frosting (equal to 1 can of store bought). ATTENTION! All Dairy Free people!!! If you use dairy-free box mix and store bought vanilla icing, this can be a dairy free dessert for a party where an allergy may be an issue.

Here’s what I did…

oval pan, round pan, jumbo muffin pan...crisco'd ans floured

oval pan, round pan, jumbo muffin pan…crisco’d ans floured

fill each pan, half way with white cake batter

fill each pan, half way with white cake batter (as you can see I put a pastry tip in the round cake to speed up cooking and cook it evenly, probably not necessary though)

cook until golden, cool completely

cook until golden, cool completely

draw olaf on back of wax paper, flip over and trace with melted chocolate, using a pastry bag and small round tip. (buttons are chocolate covered Nilla Wafers)

draw Olaf on the back of  some wax paper, flip over and trace with melted chocolate, using a pastry bag and small round tip. (buttons are chocolate covered Nilla Wafers)

trim oval cake for head, trim round cake for body, trim muffins for neck and feet (cutting them flatter as needed to keep them all relatively the same height)

trim oval cake for head, trim round cake for body, trim muffins for neck and feet (cutting them flatter as needed to keep them all relatively the same height)…OLAF HAS A BELLY BUTTON!

remove chocolate pieces from wax paper

remove chocolate pieces from wax paper

cover the cake in white frosting, apply chocolate eyebrows, arms, small and buttons. Nose is a Nilla Wafer trimmed into a triangle and sprayed with edible orange food coloring.

cover the cake in white frosting, generously coat with powder sugar and apply chocolate eyebrows, arms, small and buttons. Nose is a Nilla Wafer trimmed into a triangle and sprayed with edible orange food coloring.

Chocolate Dairy-free Pudding!

Very recently, we discovered our precious little Lucy Lu has joined her brother’s ranks in  being anti-cow’s-milk. He has been allergic to cow’s milk in every way, shape and form since he was born, and so I became quite resourceful in covering my recipes into dairy-free treats. So with new development in my daughter’s digestive journey, going dairy free is easy as pie…or pudding, in this case.

Here’s what I did…

Ingredients...almond milk, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, salt, cocoa

Ingredients…almond milk, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, salt, cocoa

in the stove pot, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt and cocoa

in the stove pot, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt and cocoa

to the milk add vanilla. add milk to stove pot of ingredients to make a chocolate milk mixture.

to the milk add vanilla. add milk to stove pot of ingredients to make a chocolate milk mixture.

add egg yolks, 1 at a time, combining thoroughly

add egg yolks, 1 at a time, combining thoroughly

keep stirring over low heat until pudding becomes thick

keep stirring over low heat until pudding becomes thick

thick and smooth

thick and smooth

set in the fridge for 4 hours or longer

set in the fridge for 4 hours or longer

the face of approval

the face of approval

Here’s what you’ll need…

Chocolate Dairy-Free Pudding

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/3 cup cocoa

1/3 – 1/2 cup sugar

2 cups Almond Milk

7 egg yolks

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1) combine dry ingredients

2) add milk and stir until smooth

3) turn heat on Med. Low

4) add yolks, 1 at a time, stirring constantly to avoid lumps

once thickened, remove from heat and transfer to ramekins to chill, covering the surface of the pudding with plastic wrap so a skin doesn’t form.

5) chill in fridge for at least 4 hours

6) serve with whipped cream, berries or a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Enjoy!

A Dessert To Honor A Ballerina: The Pavlova

While walking frantically through the grocery store, after work yesterday, searching for a delicious dessert inspiration to hit me, (We were having some friends over in a few hours (freaking out!) and they were bring the entree and I was doing salad and dessert) I came across the berry section of the produce aisle and what do you know, all the berries were on sale. Hallelujah! Berries…something with berries. Boom! It hit me. Pavlovas!

I stumbled upon this gem of a dessert a few years ago, when it struck me as unique and genius. I love meringue, right, and a pavlova is like a meringue crossed with a….a marshmallow…and I love marshmallows too, so naturally when I discovered how the two could become one, I was doomed. It gets better. The top of this miraculous ballerina cake is loaded with whipped cream and fruit. Berries by the quart. It’s so light and fresh, you can literally eat a whole half of the cake and feel justifiable.

Pavlovas are named after the Ballerina Anna Pavlovna Pavlova, supposedly created in New Zealand, or Australia by argument, in honor of the beautiful Anna.

Anna Pavlvoa. The inspiration...delicate and airy

Anna Pavlvoa. The inspiration…delicate and airy

It’s a very fitting tribute. The crisp flaky outer shell of the “cake” is delicate and ruffled like a tutu, and the center is moist and fluffy like a cloud. One bite and I feel like I could pirouette through the kitchen…stop me now.

Here’s what I did

ingredients.

ingredients.

6 egg whites ready to whip...see those beautiful yolks? don't chuck em! save them for something else!

6 egg whites ready to whip…see those beautiful yolks? don’t chuck em! save them for something else!

whisk together the cornstarch and the sugar

whisk together the cornstarch and the sugar

add the salt and the cream of tarter, then add the sugar 1 Tablespoon at a time on Med. High

add the salt and the cream of tarter, then add the sugar 1 Tablespoon at a time on Med. High

My mixer is a ballerina...look at her spin

My mixer is a ballerina…look at her spin

almost there

almost there, just added in vanilla and vinegar

the rub test

the rub test

feels a little gritty, needs to whip a few more minutes

feels a little gritty, needs to whip a few more minutes

stiff peaks

stiff peaks

no more grit

no more grit

trace an 8" circle on parchment...boy was that fun measuring all the circular items in my kitchen

trace an 8″ circle on parchment…boy was that fun measuring all the circular items in my kitchen

flipped my circle over so the pencil graphite isn't touching my cake

flipped my circle over so the pencil graphite isn’t touching my cake

plop it out into the circle

plop it out into the circle

push it out to the circle edge, flatten the top and sweep up the sides to create a stubby little volcano shape

push it out to the circle edge, flatten the top and sweep up the sides to create a stubby little volcano shape

300º preheated oven

300º preheated oven

just finished baking...now it's time to dry out

just finished baking…now it’s time to dry out

Blueberries. Raspberries. Blackberries. Strawberries. Berries!!!!! Rinsed and Drained, gently patted dry

Blueberries. Raspberries. Blackberries. Strawberries. Berries!!!!! Rinsed and Drained, gently patted dry

step 1: place dried pavlova on serving plate

step 1: place dried pavlova on serving plate

load with Fresh Whipped Cream... or Cool Whip...whatever you got time for

load with Fresh Whipped Cream… or Cool Whip…whatever you got time for

step 3: add the berries and sprinkle with powdered sugar

step 3: add the berries and sprinkle with powdered sugar…P.S. if you don’t want yours to be broken, don’t let your 5 year old “help” you get it ready. “Help” = pick apart and eat 

cue harps...ahhhh....

cue harps…ahhhh….

flaky shell with marshmallowy interior...we almost finished off the whole thing before I remembered to capture this image...close one.

flaky shell with marshmallowy interior…we almost finished off the whole thing before I remembered to capture this image…close one.

Dinner, thanks to the very talented Lorraine, was a-ma-zing and dessert, thanks to Anna Pavlova, was just as satisfying

Here’s what you’ll need…

Pavlova

1 1/4 C sugar

6 egg whites

2 Tbsp Corn Starch

1/4 tsp. cream of Tarter

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp vinegar

Whipped Cream or Cool Whip

2 pints Bluebberies

1 pint Raspberrries

1 pint Blackberries

handful of Strawberries cut up

powdered sugar for dusting

Whip egg whites until frothy then add in tarter and salt. Whisk together sugar and cornstarch. add by the Tablespoon into egg whites on medium high speed. Once stiffer, add vanilla and vinegar. Whip to stiff peaks and make sure its not gritty, by rubbing a small amount between finger and thumb.

Trace an 8″ circle onto parchment and form meringue into a flattened volcano like shape within the circle. Bake at 300ºF for 1 hour and let it rest in the oven for 2 hrs or overnight. It may crack and fall as it cools…its ok.

Fill with whipped cream and top with berries.

Blueberry Lemon Macarons

In honor of my sister-in-law heading to Spain and Paris for a month (so jealous), I made macarons for her bon voyage party, like she won’t get her fill of them in Paris. Let’s just take a moment of silence as we approach the holy grail of patisseries…

…the macaron.

Soak it in. Mmmmmmmm. Ok, that’s good. Now let’s dig into this recipe.

Here’s what I did…

the ingredients. Egg whites, sugar, almond flour, confectioners sugar, dye, candy thermometer, spatula, water,

the ingredients. Egg whites, sugar, almond flour, confectioners sugar, dye, candy thermometer, spatula, water,

trace circles on parchment that can be slid out from under the macarons parchment

trace circles on parchment that can be slid out from under the macarons parchment

almond flour and confectioners sugar

almond flour and confectioners sugar

combined with whisk, making a well for the egg whites

combined with whisk, making a well for the egg whites

2 eggs white and food dye added to make this colorful thick paste

2 eggs white and food dye added to make this colorful thick paste

cover the almond paste to prevent drying

cover the almond paste to prevent drying

place sugar and water to saucepan

place sugar and water to saucepan

beat egg whites until soft peaks form, adding 35g of sugar at this point

beat egg whites until soft peaks form, adding 35g of sugar at this point

heat the sugar until 240º

heat the sugar until 240º

drizzle in the molten sugar syrup slowly while mixing

drizzle in the molten sugar syrup slowly while mixing

meringue holds a firm string of whites when pulled

meringue holds a firm string of whites when pulled

add 1/3 of the meringue to the almond paste

add 1/3 of the meringue to the almond paste

I added a bit more food dye  after the first round of meringue was added

I added a bit more food dye after the first round of meringue was added

add the rest of the meringue to the almond base

add the rest of the meringue to the almond base

fold together and press against the bowl  to combine

fold together and press against the bowl to combine

piping out little mounds just shy of 2", using my template as a guide

piping out little mounds just shy of 2″, using my template as a guide

drying out for about  45 minutes

drying out for about 45 minutes

notice the dull surface, these are dry to touch

notice the dull surface, these are dry to touch

check out those feet

check out those feet

shells matched by size and shape

shells matched by size and shape

shells filled with lemon curd and blueberry buttercream

shells filled with lemon curd and blueberry buttercream

hmmmm...who ate one?!

hmmmm…who ate one?!

handpicked flowers by little guys, macarons and coffee...perfection

handpicked flowers by little guys, macarons and coffee…perfection

showing us some macaron excitement

showing us some macaron excitement

thick, structured and just enough filling

thick, structured and just enough filling

Here’s what you need…

Blueberry Lemon Macarons

Almond Paste: 

150g almond meal

150g powdered sugar

50g egg whites (2 whites)

food dye

dash of salt

Meringue:

55g egg whites (+2 egg whites)

35g granulated sugar

120g granulated sugar

40g water

Measure precisely! Sift flour and sugar together and process in food processor if necessary to make VERY fine. Combine all ingredients in the paste until it is uniform and cover.

Whip egg whites for meringue until frothy, then add 35g sugar slowly until soft peaks form. While on stove heat 120g sugar and water until 240º (just under) then drizzle into whisking egg white on Med. High.

Add 1/4-1/3 meringue into paste and blend together. Add rest of meringue and combine until just dripping of spoon. Texture should smooth out into a smooth circle if piped. (This may take some practice to figure out the right consistency here. I’m not gonna lie, it may take a few batches to nail this aspect…don’t give up!)

Bake at 300º for 15-20 mins. remove from parchment when cool. Once you fill and sandwich together the macarons, wrap them in plastic wrap and let them sit overnight in the fridge to reconstitute the cookie and reach the right texture. They can be frozen too, only let them thaw in their wrapping before serving.

Blueberry Buttercream

butter, blueberry syrup and 10xsugar

(sorry I kinda winged it with this one, basically a buttercream overloaded with syrupy cooked blueberries)

Lemon Curd

Recipe coming soon!

Homemade Beignets for dessert

Last night was a great night at our house. We had two great friends over for dinner, the weather was gorgeous (we left the windows and doors wide open, we build-our-own cheeseburgers for dinner and had homemade beignets for dessert.

If you look at my last post, I walked you through prepping the beignet dough or choux pastry, so it could chill in the fridge all day. Tonight, after dinner was put away and cleaned up, we pulled that puppy out of the fridge and made beignets!

this is what the pastry dough looks like after sitting in the fridge all day

this is what the pastry dough looks like after sitting in the fridge all day

I used a Tablespoon size mechanical scooper to drop dough into the oil

I used a Tablespoon size mechanical scooper to drop dough into the oil

As pictured I used my countertop deep fryer, but you could certainly use a dutch oven on the stovetop as well.

floating beignets will soon double in size

floating beignets will soon double in size

removed from oil and dusted with powdered sugar

removed from oil and dusted with powdered sugar

beignets served with, homemade whipped cream     ala Jamie and dipping sauces ala Tim (thanks guys)

beignets served with, homemade whipped cream ala Jamie and dipping sauces ala Tim (thanks guys)

flaky outer shell and fluffy hollow interior

flaky outer shell and fluffy hollow interior

These perfect little donuts are ridiculous! I won’t tell you how many I ate…let’s just say I threw my GI Diet out the window today, out the window and down the street, threw it out like a moldy piece of bread from the bread drawer….I ate a lot of them. It’s kryptonite.

Check out my post from yesterday for the recipe.

Preparing for Beignets

Beignets. Tonight. I. Can’t. Wait.

If you’ve never had beignets before, imagine the best doughnut you’ve ever eaten, then make it fluffier, egg-ier, more deep-fried, and cover in powdered sugar. Even then, I can’t describe the utter perfection they are. Their hollow insides make them PERFECT for dipping into chocolate sauce or raspberry sauce as well as homemade whipped cream.

The first time I ever had beignets was at The Grand Lux Cafe and they were eye opening! I’ve managed to duplicate them somehow and am quite a bit of danger of gaining 50lbs from making them at a whim.

Only weeks ago, I found out beignets are made of Pate a Choux (the pastry that makes cream puffs and eclairs) but whereas the creme puff is baked, beignets are deep fried. What?!

SOooo, I took a reliable choux pastry recipe I had been using and dropped it in super hot oil and, well, it was a very exciting night. It was such a big hit, we decided to bless our guests that we are having over tonight with a fresh batch. I made the dough last night so it has time to chill (and so I have more time to clean my messy house before our guests arrive tonight)

WARNING! Once you try these, you’ll never be satisfied with a regular donut again.

Here’s what you need to do…

8 tablespoons butter on medium heat

8 tablespoons butter on medium heat

1 cup of water

1 cup of water

combined butter and water

combined butter and water

add 1/4 tsp salt

add 1/4 tsp salt

add 1.5 Tablespoons sugar

add 1.5 Tablespoons sugar

in another bowl, add 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

in another bowl, add 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

and 1 cup of all purpose flour

and 1 cup of all purpose flour

sift the dry ingredients together ....pretty like snow

sift the dry ingredients together ….pretty like snow

get your biggest wooden spoon out

get your biggest wooden spoon out

stir the water and butter mixture

stir the water and butter mixture

when it starts to boil its ready

when it starts to boil its ready

add the flour

add the flour

start stirring like its going out of style

start stirring like its going out of style

dough starts to form a ball

dough starts to form a ball

cook for 3 more minutes to cook flour

cook for 3 more minutes to cook flour

dough forms a tighter ball

dough forms a tighter ball

transfer dough to the bowl that i used to sift flour

transfer dough to the bowl that i used to sift flour

I get the pot in hot water right away to make for easy clean-up

I get the pot in hot water right away to make for easy clean-up

add eggs 1 at a time and mix until combined

add eggs 1 at a time and mix until combined

getting there...

getting there…

...there

…there

(5 eggs later)

(5 eggs later)

for making beignets, chill the dough. Old lunchmeat containers are the perfect size

for making beignets, chill the dough. Old lunchmeat containers are the perfect size

chill for 4 hours or overnight...yes that is lemon curd on the shelf below...yum

chill for 4 hours or overnight…yes that is lemon curd on the shelf below…yum

Beignets Recipe (Pate a choux)

8 Tablespoons Butter; unsalted

1 Cup Water

1/4 tsp salt

1.5 Tablespoons sugar

1 Cup flour, sifted

1/4 tsp. Baking Powder

5 eggs

powdered sugar

Cook water, butter, salt, and sugar over medium heat until it boils gently

Sift flour and powder together

Add flour to liquid and stir until it forms a dough ball; cook 3 minutes longer

add eggs 1 at a time

Put in container with lid and store in fridge for 4 hours or overnight.

Drop 1 Tablespoon dollops into HOT 365 degree oil (canola oil)

fry 3-4 at a time so it doesn’t crowd the oil

Remove from oil to lined tray, sprinkle with powdered sugar sifted over them

Tonight my guests are supplying the dipping sauces, so I’ll let you know what we end up with and I’ll be sure to get pictures along the way. Check out tomorrows post to see the finished beignets. Can’t wait!!!!!