ALL POSTS TAGGED "dessert"

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Insta-Grahams

Here is the s’mores modern rival. A hands-on tasty graham cracker-based treat that is perfect for a digital age. This hybrid is a clash of s’mores and the classic baked graham cracker toffee. These easy breezy snacks are loaded with kid-friendly toppings and only take a few minutes to assemble into creative iPhone-sized pieces. The variations are pretty much endless and only limited by imagination.

White Chocolate Selfie Insta-Graham

My nephew Uri with his Insta-Graham titled “White Chocolate Selfie.”

Norm’s Notes: Let Me Take a Selfie

When I visit my sister, I cook. I cook a lot! Feeding this crew is no easy task. She has five handsome young sons and one awesome husband who I’m lucky to call my brother-in law. I love the challenge of feeding this many people balanced meals and it is my pleasure to give them a break from the stove and add some variation to their usual diet.

The boys all love to watch me simmer away in the kitchen and I’m constantly in search of things that the party of five can all help make. So during my most recent weekend visit, almost on cue, serendipity stepped in and brought us the Insta-Graham. The creation was a true family affair. My sister provided the initial concept, the boys gave the flavor combos and names, and my brother in-law captured all of the fun on camera.  The three flavors are just the beginning of what you can do. Try out a variety of topping combinations to make your Insta-Graham into a one of a kind “selfie”. Don’t forget to add #Insta-Graham.

Peanut Butter Parfait Insta-Graham

My nephew Fabian is excited to chow down on his “Peanut Butter Parfait Insta-Grahams.”

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Lemon-Vanilla Custard

The finale of the Summer Entertaining Toolkit presents a sweet send off with Lemon-Vanilla Custard. This luxurious confection has the perfect balance of sweetness and richness. Think of it as refrigerator ice cream; a creamy, dreamy treat that tops a variety of ripe summer fruit and baked goods or is great, on its own, a spoonful at a time. [FYI, a few dollops of custard over sliced fresh bananas and vanilla wafers makes for one great tasting banana pudding as well!] This easy one-pot dessert comes together in no time and will delight your palate with its silky sweet taste.

The featured recipe will make about 8 servings depending on how much you decide to spoon on. A heaping tablespoon or two usually does the trick. However, it is easily doubled to serve twice the amount of individual servings or be used in a large trifle dish layered with fresh fruit and cubed pound cake to feed a crowd. Use ripe summer stone fruit like peaches, cherries, nectarines, and plums or fresh berries for the best results. Fresh cut melon is not a good choice to serve with this custard since they tend to water out when the custard is added, leading to a milky watery mess in the bottom of the serving bowl. Try the custard for breakfast, spooned over waffles or pancakes and topped with chopped fruit. Or smear on a piece of fresh pound cake for a quick dessert.

Overall, this recipe follows the same theme of versatility and customization as the other recipes included in my Summer Entertaining Toolkit. I hope this program has provided core recipes that you may incorporate into gatherings throughout the season. They all work together as a full menu, but try options where you break them out individually and compose a meal based around one or more. I encourage you to play and experiment with the menu to make it your own.

 Norm’s Notes: Canning Jars as Serveware

Canning jars offer a casual appeal in serving your menu and are cheap enough to be purchased in bulk when hosting a large number of guests. Use them for individual servings of dessert, green salad, or as holders for flatware on a buffet. My preference is for the wide-mouth variety because they are easy to fill and eat out of. I also use canning jars as holders for tea-light candles outdoors as they are sturdy enough to survive a slight wind gust without tipping. Place jars of varying heights and volumes to create mood lighting at the table or pack a few with fresh cut flowers for a simple centerpiece. Personally, I steer away from them when serving beverages since the screw top glass feels a bit unsophisticated, but if you like them for that purpose, go for it. A case of 12 wide mouth half-pints or pints costs around $12 to $15 and will serve you well over the year, whether as a container for banana pudding or quick table lantern.

Lemon-Vanilla Custard Trifle

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So far, we’ve shown you how to decorate, dress yourself and prepare a cheese board for the holidays. It’s time to move on to the dessert table. This may be the most important part of your party (other than the bar, of course) — especially if you’re having a sweets-only get together.

To help you get started on your dessert table, I’ll share this very simple chewy gingersnap cookies recipe with you. You can make these a day or two in advance because they will still taste fresh come party time! Pair the cookies with an even simpler pumpkin pie dip recipe that’s dangerously delicious. Spread the dip on top of each cookie or spread it between two cookies to make a sandwich. Yum!

Gingersnap Cookies With Pumpkin Pie DipPhoto by Jason Kisner

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Check back soon for more dessert recipes, how to style a dessert table and other inspiring holiday ideas.

We’ve teamed up with our friends over at DIYNetwork.com’s Made + Remade to throw a holiday party, and you’re invited!

Follow along as we craft the party decor, set the holiday table and cook up the menu. Along the way, you’ll get the step-by-step instructions and tips to throw a great party in your home. Catch up on all the posts here.

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Ice cream is a staple treat at pool parties, and an easy way to incorporate some color while carrying through the theme of your party is with DIY ice cream cone wrappers. The Happy to Create blog shares a template to make your own wrappers – you just print out the template on scrapbook paper of your choice, wrap the sugar cones with the paper and secure it with double-sided tape. This simple idea will go a long way at your poolside party – but don’t forget the rule of no swimming 30 minutes after eating (I’m definitely guilty of that!).

 DIY Ice Cream Cone Wrappers

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When I was first introduced to Melody’s work, I was immediately smitten. Melody Brandon is an incredibly talented pastry chef and the co-owner of Sweet and Saucy Shop in Long Beach, California. Her cake designs and dessert displays are beyond perfection. I had the opportunity to interview Melody about how she got started, a few of her favorite events and what the future holds for her growing business. Read on to get to know Melody a little bit more and get inspired by some of her decadent desserts!

{Kentucky Derby Party}

1. You are a such an inspiration to so many, not only as an incredible cake and dessert designer, but as a savvy business woman. When did you know that this is what you wanted to do for your career? Tell us a little of your background and how Sweet & Saucy Shop came about. 
Well to be honest I actually always thought I would be an elementary school teacher and that is what I went to school for and almost finished my degree in.  I was assistant teaching in various classes when I found that teaching just didn’t have enough creative freedom for me and I didn’t like all the rules and regulations you had to follow.  I stopped teaching at the particular school I was at for a little break and in the meantime had just gotten married and loved throwing parties for friends and family and for quite some time had been obsessed with Food Network & cookbooks; although I had never really thought of it as a career option.

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Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Are you hosting dinner this year? We are! My husband is in charge of the turkey, I’m in charge of desserts (as always) and our family members are bringing the rest. In our feature, Sunflower Thanksgiving Dessert Buffet, I shared several ideas for delicious desserts. I’m definitely going beyond pumpkin pie this year and serving up a variety of mini sweets.

Cake pops are such a popular trend at parties and gatherings these days. Order or make them in flavors and colors that coordinate with your Thanksgiving decor. These mini pumpkin mousse parfaits were so delicious and really easy to make. I simply adapted the recipe for the mini parfait glasses.

Cupcakes are an unexpected dessert for Thanksgiving, but your littlest guests will love them. Dress them up with fondant sunflowers or paper cupcake toppers and display on a decorative cake stand. Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies are easy to make and the cream cheese marshmallow filling is divine. Display them in mini dishes for the perfect serving size.

I designed a full printable collection for you to use for your Thanksgiving festivities!

Check out the full Sunflower Thanksgiving story for more decorating ideas and to download the printables!

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I rarely throw parties. Why? I love my friends, but so much work goes into hosting a get-together, from the food and cocktails to the entertainment and decor. It’s not cheap, either. To successfully throw an amazing soiree, every detail matters. Plus, my standards are very high, since I work in the design world. Fortunately, with an abundance of spring and summer festivities on the horizon, HGTV.com has created the go-to party planning guide for hosting casual get-togethers, dinner parties, bridal showers and more (without the cost and headaches!). Here are a few of my favorite ideas to get you started.

Simple Party Planning Table Place Settings

Welcome guests by creating simple yet eye-catching place settings and DIY centerpieces that coordinate with the theme of your dinner party:

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