Friday, January 11, 2013

Holiday Parties!

Ok, I know it has been almost a month since I posted an update.  It was my "holiday break" with school and while I continued to work I wasn't required to post or turn in time sheets.  This is a horrible excuse for not keeping up with everyone, but it was such a busy time of year at the shop and I was lucky to be able to make it home and eat dinner before I crashed into bed almost every night.  LOL

A huge part of this was due to all of the holiday parties.  We were so busy each week with orders for upcoming get togethers.  Not that I am partial, but one of the best parties was the December Bunco we hosted at my parents house.  If you dont know what Bunco is......well, it is pretty much a dice game that is an excuse for a group of friends to get together and socialize and it is usually held once a month at rotating locations so no one person is always stuck hosting.

Back to the party treats.  For Bunco we created a holiday finger food menu with both savory and sweet items........and of course a holiday "punch".  We made cranberry chili meatballs, crab puffs, pigs in a blanket (of course!) with a garlic mustard dipping sauce, ham and Gruyere pate a choux thumbprints (picture below), Tuscan olive dip, wrapped brie, and the ever present crudite platter.  Oh my gosh, how could I forget the cutest part of the savory spread!  I made penguins out of black olives, cream cheese and carrots.  They turned out to be adorable!!!

Now, on to the desserts! Earlier in the week I finished my little gingerbread house that originally was going to be one of the prizes for the evening, but then we decided we wanted to keep it and give away something, so it became a decoration instead.  I wanted to create a dessert menu that was completely made of different flavors and themes we associate with the holidays also making sure there was enough variety that everyone should find something they like.  The starting line up is as follows:  Red Velvet peppermint cream cheese brownies, spice cake mini cupcakes with cream cheese whipped cream icing, Egg Nog cream puffs dipped in white chocolate, chocolate snowballs (cake balls), and of course gingerbread men.  It was quite a busy day off but so worth it.  I think the best part of everything I do is seeing other people enjoy what I have created.  It gives me such a sense of pride and just goes to confirm that this is what I should be doing and that I have made the right choice in the direction to change my life.

The Red Velvet peppermint cream cheese brownies were very easy to make and turned out beautiful.  They have just a hint of cocoa (just like the cake) and the peppermint flavoring is added to the brownie portion and not the cream cheese swirl.  These had just the right amount of all of the different flavors so they melded perfectly and had a nice fudgy texture. 

For the mini cupcakes I just made a simple spice cake mini cupcake and topped it with a cream cheese whipped cream icing.  Very easy, but they turned out super cute.

Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of the cream puffs (which I cannot believe!!!).  They were so yummy though.  I made some choux paste and piped it into petit four size, two bites....chomp chomp, (that was for you Chef and then once they were baked and cooled I filled them with an egg nog pastry cream and dipped them in white chocolate. 

Oh cake do I love thee.  Well, in truth depending on the cake ball.  I loved these little guys because they were super easy.  First I took some chocolate cake scraps and crumbled them into a bowl and added some simple syrup until it started to hold its shape when pressed into a ball.  Some people use icing for this step, but I actually prefer the simple syrup.  Once I scooped and shaped all of the balls onto a sheet pan I placed it into the fridge to set up while I cleaned up and set up the next step.  I then melted some white chocolate and put some shredded coconut into a shallow dish.  I first dipped and coated each ball in the white chocolate and then immediately rolled it in the coconut.  The result was a super moist delicious chocolate snow ball.  I think these were my favorite of the desserts.  First of all they were super cute and secondly I LOVE chocolate and coconut!

Each guest left with a goody bag of a gingerbread boy and a gingerbread stocking.  We really had the best time that night and I am so blessed to be able to share my passion with others and see them enjoy my creations.  Again, I cannot wait to get back to Tallahassee and move forward with my shop.  I am learning so much here and I have so many people to thank for that. 

I hope you all had a fantastic and blessed holiday season filled with all of the joys of the season!  Now, its time to party and move into Carnival season, king cakes and MARDI GRAS.......but that my friends is for another post.  Most of you know I normally sign off with Keep It Sweet, but thanks to my amazing husband and son I may have to change it up a little bit.  They got me the cutest sign for Christmas.  They told me it was for me to hang in my shop someday.  Love these boys!!!!

Soooooo, always remember Life is Sweet!

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