Tuesday, December 2, 2008

december article for tastebud magazine:
Sweeten the Holidays
Make the holidays a little sweeter this year by hosting a dessert and recipe exchange. This can be a low stress way to gather friends at your home, decorated for holidays and gain a new collection of sweet recipes to try throughout the coming year. To prepare for the festivities send each guest an invitation along with enough blank recipe cards for each guest to have a copy of the recipe from the dessert they bring. For my recipe cards I went to Paper Source on the Plaza and bought a variety of bright cardstock and then cut to the size I desired. I also purchased glassine envelopes so that each friend could take home the recipes in one stylish package. After you entice everyone with invitations it’s time to start the preparations at home. Start by creating a fun table with glass cloches and jars filled with colorful glass ornaments. These decorations remind me of bright colored candy and will go right along with the sweet occasion. The centerpiece for the table is a large urn filled with branches cut from the backyard with glass ornaments tied on with ribbon. To create this start with a heavy urn, cut a piece of wet floral foam to fit the inside then insert branches to desired fullness, add in cut wintergreens at the base and hang with an assortment of ornaments. This should stay fresh for several weeks. Now place platters and cake plates in varying heights around the jars and urns for friends to display their treats. Ask guests to bring their own to use if you do not have enough. Don’t forget to have some salty snacks to balance the desserts. Pretzels dipped in almond bark and sprinkled with crushed peppermint sticks is great for this along with mixed nuts or chocolate covered potato chips. To serve the sweets use a mixed collection of holiday dessert plates. I have received several as gifts and usually pick up a few different ones each year at after Christmas sales and now have a great mix of traditional to modern designs. Each holiday season when I get them out they also bring along great memories from previous celebrations and excitement to add the new ones into the mix.
After an evening of sampling desserts have a supply of take out boxes so each friend can take home an assortment of the treats! Choose from large Chinese take-out style boxes found at local craft stores or craft boxes tied with bakers twine. You may even want to pack up a few boxes for a local nursing home or other organization that would love to sample the home made sweets.
Happy Holidays!

Candy-Cane Brownies
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup flour
1/3 cup baking cocoa
¼ teaspoon baking powder
6 small candy canes, crushed
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons baking cocoa
2 tablespoons warm water
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
remaining crushed candy cane

1. In a bowl beat sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add butter, mix well. Combine dry ingredients in another bowl. Add to batter and mix well. Fold in ½ of crushed candy canes.
2. Pour into greased 8 inch square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Cool
3. For frosting combine butter, cocoa and water. Mix well. Gradually stir in sugar until smooth adding additional water if necessary. Frost the brownies and sprinkle with remaining crushed candy canes.

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About Me

my name is heather and i have three crazy, creative, funny, winey, smart, loving and sweet children (henry, charlie and lucy). we love exploring around town and playing at home. i love creating whether it is with fresh flowers, fabrics, papers or whatever inspires me on a particular day.