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Posts Tagged ‘party food’

Cake pops. Is there anything cuter?

I first discovered these tiny pops of joy a few years back when a friend sent me a link to Bakerella’s red velvet cake balls, and we both spent a good portion of our workdays drooling over the images. Since then, cake pops have been something of a rage ever since someone decided to stick a lollypop stick in cake ball and call it a day. Now there everywhere from Starbucks to local bakeries, and they are simply all over the food blogosphere. And it’s pretty easy to see why. Bite-sized, perfectly portioned cakes, dipped in a luscious chocolate coating and decorated to make the most adorable treat you’ve ever eaten. They’re hard to resist.

Last week, Cara and I threw a party to celebrate. Cara had just finished running her second half marathon, and I had my first weekend free in three months! It just so happened that we had even more of a reason to celebrate when our best friend got engaged, throwing our festivities into over drive. And the main edible attraction for all this celebrating? Cake pops!

But not just any cake pops. Homemade funfetti cake pops. You see, in our apartment, Funfetti cannot be beat in terms of cake preference. Anyone whose had a funfetti cupcake or cookie knows what I’m talking about. Something about that fluffy vanilla cake laced with colorful sprinkles just puts any other cake out of its league. But, since Cara and I are taking this whole “no artificial ingredients” thing for a spin, I decided to make “funfetti” cake pops without using the Funfetti Cake Mix! That’s right, all from scratch.

By using an all-organic, whole wheat cake mix from Whole Foods, homemade vanilla frosting, and organic semi-sweet chocolate chips for the shell, I was able to keep these about 98% all-natural (I wasn’t about to hunt down organic sprinkles, something had to give). And if I can do it, so can you.

But hey, cake pops are definitely a treat, and I can attest that using Betty Crocker boxed cake mix to save some time will not let you down. These cake pops will still come out as sweet, moist, flavorful and delicious as the all-natural ones. Give it a whirl!

Homemade Funfetti Cake-Pops – Makes 50 pops

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 1 box of all natural organic cake mix, like Dr. Oetker Organics Vanilla Cake Mix
  • Additional ingredients listed on cake mix package, like eggs, milk, oil
For the frosting
  • 2 cups of confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of skim milk
  • 2 tsp all natural vanilla extract

Additional ingredients

  • 1 12-ounce bag of organic semisweet chocolate chips
  • Mixed variety of sprinkles, including nonpareils
  • 50 white lolly-pop sticks

Method

1. Start by baking the vanilla cake according to the package instructions. Once the cake has finished baking, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

2. While the cake is baking, make the vanilla frosting. Combine all frosting ingredients in a large bowl and beat on high with a hand or standing mixer until the frosting is light and fluffy.

3. Once the cake has cooled, crumble the cake into a large bowl. The crumbled cake should have an even texture. Add the vanilla frosting to the crumbs, as well as sprinkles – as much or as little as you like. I used about 2 tablespoons of sprinkles.

4. Mix cake, frosting and sprinkles with your hands until well combined. Using your fingers, form walnut-sized balls from the cake mixture. At this point, you can move to dipping them in melted chocolate, or you can freeze them. I usually freeze them as it makes them easier to dip.

5. When you’re ready to dip your cake balls, set up a double boiler and fill the top bowl with the chocolate chips. Set out a tray lined with parchment and have your nonpareil sprinkles ready. Stir the chocolate as it’s melting to ensure it is smooth.

6. One at a time, drop each cake ball into the chocolate. Roll the ball through the chocolate using a small spoon. Once ball is completely coated, use one or two spoons to lift it out of the chocolate. Let excess chocolate drip off for a moment, then set on parchment. Immediately sprinkle with sprinkles. Repeat with remaining cake balls.

7. Once all of your cake balls are dipped and decorated, put them in the fridge for at least an hour to harden. Once they are hardened, peel them off the parchment and insert a lolly-pop stick in the base of each one. Enjoy!

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This morning, a good friend asked me if I could recommend a delicious appetizer recipe that she could make to impress her soon-to-be in-laws. One recipe immediately came to mind, so I suggested it, but when she asked if she could find it on my blog, I realized it wasn’t here!
 
French Onion Tartlettes are one of those great go-to appetizers; they’re easy, you can make parts of them ahead of time, and they’re always decadent and delicious. I was first introduced to these when Adam made them for me two years ago for our “French” themed Valentine’s dinner, and have been going back to them ever since. Since these are such a staple in my cooking repertoire, I wanted to share them with you – these would make a great starter for Easter, or any other special occasion you have coming up this Spring!
 
After you read the recipe, you’ll see that the puff pastry base for these tartlettes can be topped with just about anything – from brie and Bartlett pears, to gorgonzola, figs and bacon, or sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella. This recipe is super easy to adapt and customize – you could even make a spread of several different types of tartlettes for one occasion!   Enjoy :-)
 
 
French Onion Tartlettes - Makes 24 3″ Tartlettes
 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 package frozen puff pastry (available in Freezer Section), thawed in refrigerator
  • 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 large Vidalia onions or other sweet variety, thinly sliced
  • 4 thyme sprigs, plus more for garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 cup good quality beef stock
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

2. Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and thyme sprigs and season well with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to brown. Add the stock, a tablespoon at a time, as the pan gets dry, scraping and stirring the brown bits that are stuck to the bottom oft the pan. When the onions are caramelized to a dark golden color, remove from the heat and discard the leafless thyme sprigs (the leaves fall off while cooking).

3. While onions are caramelizing (or afterwards) roll out two sheets of puff pastry to 1/8 inch thickness (or a 10″ x 16″ square). Using a glass or a round cookie cutter, cut out 3″ – 4″ circles in the dough. Discard the scraps. With a fork, pierce the center of each circle to prevent rising; do not pierce the  edges. Bake until the outer edges have puffed and are very lightly golden in color (slightly UNDERCOOKED); about 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside.

4. When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place a small heap of the caramelized onions in the center of each  pastry shell, top with some grated gruyere and bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

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