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Category Archive for: ‘Food + Beverage’
Show me a person who doesn’t like cupcakes and I’ll show you a mystery of the universe. Cupcakes are delicious! They’re delicate, small and tasty. Plus, since you can decorate them any way you like, they make a starling addition to any occasion — like, for example, a bridal shower.
And you don’t have to be a baking queen to make them look good. All you need is a few basic ingredients, an hour or so, and a zip-lock bag. Bada bing, bada boom – cute bridal shower cupcakes.
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 8oz unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Step 1: Preheat oven
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 4: Add flour and milk
Add the baking powder and a third of the flour and mix lightly, then add the vanilla essence and a third of the milk and mix again. Alternate between the flour and milk, each time mixing lightly until everything is blended. Be careful not to over-mix.
- 4oz butter
- 2 ½ cups icing sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
- 3 teaspoons rose syrup
- Food colouring
- Zip-lock bag
Step 1: Mix butter and icing sugar
Mix the butter and icing sugar until they form a smooth paste. If you’re worried about your mixer spraying the icing sugar all over the kitchen, and don’t have a guard, you can knead the butter and sugar together with your hands until they’re somewhat blended, then mix.
Step 3: Add food coloring
Separate the icing into bowls and add the desired food coloring until you achieve the colors you like – you’ll need one color for the base, one for the leaves and at least one for the flower petals. I went with white, green and pink.
Step 7: Make leaf
With the fold of the zip-lock bag facing up, squeeze out the icing. As you do so, move the bag slightly forwards and backwards to form the veins on the leaf. Here’s a brilliant YouTube tutorial by howtocookthat.net that’ll show you exactly what to do.
Step 9: Make petals
Wash out your piping bag or make a new one, and fill it with your flower icing (in my case, pink). Begin the same way as with the leaves, by squeezing out the icing, but rather than zigzag-ing in and out, squeeze lightly and pull the bag away and up, to form the petals.
Step 10: Make flower
Using the technique in step 9, work your way around the cupcake until you’ve completed a circle. Then make a smaller circle on the inside, and another one, until you reach the very center.
Who says an edible favor has to be candy or another unhealthy sweet? I have another breakfast inspired wedding favor that is also healthy. What I love about this granola bar recipe is that it has no added sugars. I make this almost weekly for a morning snack, and thought it would be easy to share with guests. During the holidays I cut them into small squares and added them to my sweets platter. (Which also, included some doughnut holes from biscuit dough.)
Cranberry and Oats Bar
recipe adapted from Anja’s Food 4 Thought
- 2 cups of rolled oats
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1 cup cranberries
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups milk
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Step 1: Preheat oven to 375°F.
Step 2: Line medium baking sheet with parchment paper.
Step 3: Mix the dry ingredients together and set aside.
Step 4: Mix wet ingredients and pour into dry ingredients and stir to combine. Let mixture soak for 10 minutes.
Step 5: Then, pour onto pan and press down evenly. Bake for 20-35 minutes. The bake time will vary on how thinly you spread the mixture, so watch carefully.
Step 6: Take out of the oven, and cut into squares.
To package for favors, I simply wrapped each square in parchment paper and tied with twine. Simple and healthy! If you prefer loose granola you can make a granola “bar.” I would love to see a bridal brunch with a buffet of granola, toppings, and yogurt for a parfait. Toppings for the buffet could include: fresh and dried fruits, nuts, coconut, chocolate chips, marshmallows, and cinnamon.
I would love to know how you are incorporating your favorite foods into your wedding activities.
So! Are you hard at work planning your own wedding feast? The rosemary-rubbed pork chops I suggested got me thinking: why not let your guests take home a bit of the wedding meal you spent so much time preparing, and send them away with rosemary-infused favors? Making herb-infused olive oil at home takes mere minutes, a minimum of supplies, and is a thoughtful way both to show off your affinity for all things culinary, and offer your guests a treat to keep in their own kitchens.
Of course, to make a large quantity of these favors requires a bit of planning and shopping. You’ll need, first, to locate a vendor for large amounts of olive oil, the exact quantity of which will depend on the vessel you plan on using. I used mason jars for my project, because that’s what I had around, but I’d certainly recommend picking up some glass oil dispensers from any restaurant supply store. A quick Google search brought up these two vendors of bulk olive oil, but shop around for the best prices. Because you’ll be masking the oil’s base flavor with the rosemary, I wouldn’t worry too much about the oil’s quality, but for its general characteristic, shoot for something on the fruity rather than nutty side.
You’ll also need a fair amount of fresh rosemary. One 4-inch sprig per glass bottle should do, but of course that can add up when we’re talking olive oil favors for 100 or more guests. Large rosemary trees are available at many garden and even grocery stores: one 24-inch tree should offer up enough fresh rosemary for about 20 favors.
Rosemary Olive Oil Favors
- Glass bottles or containers with either canning jar lids or rubber stoppers
- 8 ounces of olive oil x number of guests
- 1 24″ rosemary tree per 20 guests
- tags and ribbons for instructions and labels
- First, gently trim, wash, and bruise the rosemary to release its flavor.
- Then, combine the oil and the rosemary in a large pot. Cook until a candy thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 180 degrees.
- Remove the oil from the heat and allow it to come to room temperature.
- Remove the rosemary from the oil and place in the bottles. Using a funnel and ladle, carefully spoon oil into the bottles, sealing tightly.
Oil should be made several days before the wedding, at a maximum, as the infused oil will keep in the refrigerator for about a month.
Before distributing as favors, decorate the bottles with ribbons and labels. Delish!
Of course, you can infuse olive oil with just about anything… Suggestions, anyone?
Wedding favors are a tricky business. At the same time that you, the bride and groom, are trying for something original and memorable, you also don’t want a sizable portion of your wedding budget to be spent on little trinkets that your guests may or may not accidentally leave behind in their hotel rooms. Which is to say that we’re looking for something small and inexpensive, but that packs an original and expressive punch.
Moreover, the best wedding favors will not only reflect your wedding’s theme, but, in turn, your personality as a couple as well. I don’t know about you, my dearest DIY-Foodie-Bride, but the first thing that popped into my mind upon considering all of these requisite characteristics was seasonally appropriate homemade jams!
Here are the pros of giving out seasonally appropriate homemade jams as wedding favors:
-Possibility of adorable jars, decorated with wedding-color ribbons
-Can be made in large batches and kept for months before the big day
-Ingredient lists are generally inexpensive
-Leftovers can be handed out at work or to kids’ teachers as holiday presents
And the cons:
-None that I can think of.
So! Let’s get to work, shall we?
Since we’re in the height of winter wedding season, I decided to make use of the piles and piles of beautiful citrus fruits currently available at the grocery store and make orange-cranberry marmalade. The recipe is incredibly simple, but does take a tiny bit of planning.
After bringing the ingredients to an initial boil, you must let them sit overnight, before boiling them again for two hours. After that, however, you simply jar the marmalade and store it. I’ve added cranberries because they’re wintery and look lovely in the jar; orange marmalade straight-up would of course be delicious, too. Bonus if you use some kind of marmalade glaze in your DIY banquet, and then alert your guests to the fact that they’re taking home a featured ingredient.
Makes about six favor-sized jars; can easily be doubled, tripled, quadrupled…
- 4 navel oranges
- 2 lemons
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- 8 cups granulated sugar
- 8 cups water
- candy thermometer
- large stainless-steel pot
- 6 small glass jars
- labels and ribbons, to suit your taste
Step 1: First, slice the citrus fruits into very thin half-moons by first slicing them lengthwise, and then across. If you are making very large batches of marmalade at a time, invest in a mandoline slicer, which will make this (the most involved) step go extremely quickly. Place the slices in a large stainless steel pot along with the cranberries, and cover the fruit with the water. Bring to a boil.
Step 2: Remove the pot from the heat, and add the sugar; stir until completely dissolved. Let the pot stand, covered and at room temperature, overnight. The next morning, submerge the jars in a large pot of water, and bring to a boil to disinfect. Remove from the heat after about five minutes or so, and allow to cool.
Step 3: Bring the fruit mixture to a boil again, and cook until a candy thermometer inserted in the liquid reaches 220 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour the marmalade into the clean, hot jars, and seal. Allow the jars to come to room temperature before refrigerating.
Step 4: Decorate the jars with ribbons and labels listing ingredients.
With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we found some great quick and easy recipes for a winter bridal shower, a small snowy wedding, Christmas engagement party, or even a wedding anniversary. Betty Crocker recently debuted her 2012 Red Hot Holiday Trends, which are designed to excite your taste buds and be the hit at your party.
Here’s what the Betty Crocker team has to say (all recipes, except the non-alcoholic apple cider, and photos are from Betty Crocker):
Trend: Punched Up Punch
This year, punch is back on the menu at creative cocktail bars across the country. Batch cocktails like punch have a renewed focus on flavor and are perfect for the holiday host who wants to step out from behind the bar.
Sparkling Ginger Hard Apple Cider
This fruity, sparkly, bubbly, big-batch cocktail gets its signature kick from hard cider, bourbon and ginger liqueur. It’s a modern take on punch that’s perfect for entertaining.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
- 1/2 cup bourbon or brandy
- 3/4 cup ginger-flavored liqueur
- 1/4 cup clear orange-flavored liqueur
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- Several dashes aromatic bitters
- 4 bottles (12 oz each) hard apple cider, chilled
- Ice chunks or ice cubes, if desired
- Red apple slices
1. In pitcher or punch bowl, mix bourbon, liqueurs, maple syrup and bitters. Slowly add hard cider.
2. Carefully add ice. Garnish with apple slices.
Here is a quick tip: For a non-alcoholic punch idea, try my tasty version:
Frosty ginger apple cider
- ½ gallon apple cider
- 1 gallon ginger ale (2-2liters)
- Apples thinly sliced (4 apples)
- Cinnamon sticks (garnish)
- Crushed ice
1. In a punch bowl mix apple cider and ginger ale. Add some cinnamon sticks and apple slices to punch bowl. Fill 12 glasses with crushed ice.
2. Garnish each glass with apples and add cinnamon stick; pour over crushed ice. Serve immediately.
Trend: Layers. Layers. Layers.
This year has been all about layers, in everything from food to fashion. Even the classic layer cake has been reimagined, as cake lovers revel in colorful cakes that take layers to the extreme.
18 Layer Red Velvet Cake
Take your celebration to impressive new heights! Once you cut into this stunning cake, guests will go gaga over all 18 layers. You don’t have to reveal how easy it is to make. We won’t tell.
Prep time: 1:45 hrs:min
Total time: 4 hours
- 1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® white cake mix
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
Red Velvet Cake
- 1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® German chocolate cake mix
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
- 1 bottle (1 oz) red liquid food color (about 2 tablespoons)
- 2 1/2 cups marshmallow creme (from two 7-oz jars)
- 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
- 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray. Line bottom of each pan with cooking parchment paper. Spray parchment paper with cooking spray.
2. In large bowl, beat White Cake ingredients on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Loosely cover and refrigerate.
3. In another large bowl, beat Red Velvet Cake ingredients on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
4. Spread 1/2 cup red velvet batter in bottom of each pan. Loosely cover and refrigerate remaining batter. Place all 3 pans on oven rack positioned in center of oven. Bake about 8 minutes or until cake is set when lightly touched in center.
5. For next cake layer, spread 1/2 cup white batter evenly over each baked red velvet layer. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until cake is set when lightly touched in center.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5, twice, baking 9 to 12 minutes per layer or until top of cake layer is set when lightly touched in center.
7. Cool 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans; remove parchment paper from bottoms of cakes. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat marshmallow creme, butter, vanilla and 1 tablespoon milk with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Beat in powdered sugar until fluffy. If necessary, beat in more milk, a few drops at a time until spreading consistency.
9. To assemble, stack cake layers, spreading 1/2 cup frosting between each layer. Spread thin layer of frosting over side and top of cake to seal in crumbs. Refrigerate cake 30 to 45 minutes to set frosting. Spread remaining frosting on side and top of cake.
Quick tip: To make your cake sparkle, add White Cake Sparkles from Wilton to give your cake that winter wonderland effect!
Also, dragees or silver balls will make this cake pop. Fancyflours.com has dragees in all sizes ranging from 2 to 10 mm. [Special Note For California Residents: Virtually no one sells silver dragees within CA or to CA residents due to a long-ago - and utterly frivolous - lawsuit. They're not illegal here, there are no laws on the books restricting sales of them; no one seems to want to be a target of the attorney that brought on the lawsuit.]
The 2012 Red Hot Holiday Trends from the “Original First Lady of Food” Betty Crocker, are a wonderful addition to the bridal world. Sometimes we get so “wrapped up” during the holidays that it is nice to know that Betty is there for you making it easy and delicious.
To see Betty’s hottest food trends for the holidays, please visit bettycrocker.com.
Any other trend spotters out there? What do you think of Betty’s list?