Save Room for Dessert

Assorted Desserts
There’s a reason they say: “Life is short. Eat dessert first.” It really is the best part of the meal. Now that spring has arrived, there will be plenty of entertaining opportunities. Why not offer to bring dessert? Many people don’t realize that craft stores have large baking departments with specialty pans, cake decorating tools, glassware, cake plates, fondant and many other useful tricks of the trade to make your desserts the hit of the party.

Apple Pie
Apple Pie – Hot apple pie a la mode is a favorite any time of year. Layering the apple slices across the top in a creative spiral design adds to the visual appeal.

Birds Nests
Chocolate Birds Nests – Kids and adults love the taste of Rice Krispie Treats but these have a wonderful springtime chocolate twist. Simply follow the recipe using chocolate rice cereal.  Drop spoonfuls into cupcake wrappers and shape into nests. For the finishing touch, place a few malted milk eggs or jellybeans on top as eggs.

Brownie
Brownies with Heart – Everyone has a recipe for brownies. To make them extra special, bake them in a specialty pan with individual compartments. Cut out a paper heart and set in on top, and then sprinkle with powdered sugar. It’s so much more impressive than the usual square cut brownie.

Caramel Flan
Caramel Flan – This delicious egg custard has a caramel glaze poured over the top.

Raspberry Cheesecake
Raspberry Cheesecake – Any flavor of cheesecake is a delicious choice year round.

Chocolate Fudge Cake
Chocolate Fudge Cake – This chocolate lover’s dream has a thick layer of chocolate fudge icing, chocolate filling and a chocolate graham cracker crust. Yummy!

Chocolate Roll
Red Velvet Roll – Moist rich chocolate cake filled with vanilla cream and topped with chocolate shavings, coffee beans and a dusting of chocolate powder – Who could resist?

Chocolate Truffles
Chocolate Truffles – To make these decadent truffles, you will need to fill the candy mold one layer at a time. Form the outer shell by coating the mold with chocolate. Next add the filling. Popular favorites are hazelnuts, butter cream, peanut butter, caramels, chocolate liqueurs and cream fillings. A piping bag can be used to make filling easier. Refrigerate the mold to allow the filling and chocolate to solidify. The last step is adding another layer of chocolate to fill any remaining voids and seal the top of the mold. Refrigerate and carefully un-mold. If you want a more colorful treat, dip each truffle in melted chocolate and then dip in candy sprinkles.  Your candy making skills will be the envy of all your guests.

Cookies
Assorted Cookies – Dress up your next batch of cookies by using fanciful cookie cutters, and embellishing with icing, sprinkles, nuts or dipping chocolate.

Cupcakes
Cupcakes – These are easy to make party favorites and kids love to help with decorating.

Fruit Tart
Fruit Tart – This is a beautiful, eye-catching dessert. It’s all about the pattern and colors. The brightly colored plate creates the perfect frame for this artistic piece.

Fruit Yogurt
Yogurt Parfaits – What could be easier than mixing yogurt and fresh fruit?

Muffins
Muffins – Decorative paper wraps add pizzazz to simple muffins and cupcakes. Use a piping bag to apply whipped cream icing and top with a few berries and a sprig of mint.

Raspberry Vanilla Pudding
Raspberry Vanilla Pudding – While this may appear fancy, it’s easy to make. You’ll need an empty egg carton to hold the glass dishes at an angle. Mix the pudding, pour it into the tilted dishes and refrigerate. Puree raspberries and pour onto the firm pudding. A little whipped cream, a few chocolate pieces, a fresh raspberry and a mint leaf complete this visually intriguing dessert.

Strawberry Cream Puffs
Cream Puffs – Two dessert favorites in one: cream puffs and strawberry shortcake.

So many delicious choices! What’s your favorite? The only challenge in making dessert is preventing your family from devouring it before the guests arrive. Oh well, you can always make extra just in case.

Happy Crafting!

Holiday Food Presentation

Raw Food
Hosting Thanksgiving dinner for family and friends? As you know, it’s one of the most stressful holidays of the year. The house needs to be cleaned, guest rooms prepared, and recipes tested for side dishes, hors d’oeuvres, entrees and desserts.

Turkey Dinner
It is said presentation is everything. Once the food is prepared, how will it be served? Are you planning to have a sit down dinner or buffet style? Is one main table enough or do you need a separate table for the kids? Do you have enough serving platters, bowls, and utensils? Food should not only taste good, but it needs to look appealing as well. Capture your guests’ attention and stimulate their appetites with these food presentation ideas.

Dining with an Incredible View
Dining with an Incredible View
If your home has an outstanding view – ocean, lake, mountains, forest, garden, cityscape, etc. – seize the opportunity to showcase the view and your fabulous food by placing your table accordingly.

Dual Purpose Decor
Ceramic Pumpkins
This dining table centerpiece features a trio of ceramic pumpkins with matching leaf-shaped appetizer plates. Be sure to have plenty of coordinating coasters on hand to protect your fine wood surfaces.

Happy Hour – Beer & Cocktails
Happy Hour – Beer & Cocktails

Food Becomes Art
Food Becomes Art
These acorns, berries, and leaves have been artfully arranged upon the beautiful wood grain of a large cutting board. This would be a perfect setting to serve a dish of appetizers in the center.

Finger Foods
Appetizers

Fancy Appetizers
Fancy Appetizers

Natural Serving Pieces
Natural Serving Pieces
Everyone knows you can eat pumpkins, but why not use them to serve soups and dips?

Make Your Own Salad Bar
Salad Bar

Store-Bought Salad Platter
Store-Bought Salad Platter
With so many dishes to make, sometimes it’s just easier to let your local grocery store prepare a few items to save you time, while still making an impressive dish. If you want your guests to think it’s homemade, place the plastic store plate on top of a larger serving platter, and conceal the plastic rim with a vegetable garnish as shown.

Casual & Stylish Family Buffet
Casual & Stylish Family Buffet

Meat & Potatoes with a Twist
Meat & Potatoes with a Twist
Thick cuts of beef are layered over sprigs of green herbs and topped with baby golden potatoes on this hearty platter.

Food Safety for Chargers
Food Safety for Chargers
You’ll notice in this photo that a charger is mistakenly being used as a serving platter for a chicken dinner. Food Safety Tip: These resin or metal plates are for decorative use only – they are NOT FOOD SAFE. Food should not come into direct contact with the charger. Instead, set another smaller plate on top to hold the food (especially hot items), or line it with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, a paper doily, or wax paper.

Veggies Galore
Veggies Galore

And let’s not forget the most anticipated part of the meal…

The Desserts
The Dessert Table
Besides the delicious choices, there’s a lot going on in this set up. Chocolate truffles have been placed in the center of cheerful yellow silk flowers. Chocolate mousse and vanilla bean custard are adorned with confectionary sprinkles and topped with tiny yellow bows tied to spoons. Cake stands have been used to achieve varying heights. Autumn flowers in a mixture of glass jars and bowls create the perfect balance in this inviting and delectable presentation.

Multi-Tiered Dessert Display
Multi-Tiered Dessert Display
Dilemma: Which confection to try first? Solution: I’ll have one of each please!

Desserts by Mother Nature
Desserts by Mother Nature
Carved fruit is a real attention getter. Carving kits or the right knife make it easier to create a breathtaking display that’s almost too pretty to eat…almost.

Dining by Candle Light
Dining by Candle Light
Don’t forget to consider the lighting for your guests’ dining pleasure. There’s a reason why many restaurants have dimmed lighting and lit candles upon the tables. The warm, cozy ambiance stimulates your appetite and invites you to relax and enjoy.

Traditional Holiday Fare
Traditional Holiday Fare
We eat with our eyes first. With creative planning, having a dinner party can be an enjoyable and successful event for everyone, including the hosts. Choose your menu, set the stage, and let the curtain rise on a spectacular meal to the resounding cheers of your guests. You’ve got this!

Happy Holidays & Happy Crafting!