I got a call last week from my sister-in-law. She had been assigned dessert at a fancy party that she and my brother were attending…just a few days later. She needed help, and I just so happened to be in town. She asked for my help (eek!), and I happily obliged!
Of course, “helping” for me meant taking over completely and making a menu for several tasting desserts. There would be fourteen people at this fun party, and we both wanted them to have lots of sweet choices for their after-dinner treat.
This was the menu. I think that we’re in business here!
I started out on Friday evening by making some from-scratch cheesecakes that turned out so perfectly. Baking them a day early allowed them to cool completely so they were ready to be formed into pops and dipped in chocolate on Saturday.
I’ve never made cheesecake from scratch before, but it was easy-peezy and holy smokes delicious. And Hubby ate all of the “failed” pops and couldn’t get enough, so that is saying something for a guy who isn’t crazy about sweets.
The cheesecake took longer to set than I expected, so I ended up forming them into balls and then popping them back into the freezer to set up.
Melting cheesecake doesn’t mix well with warm dipping chocolate, you know?
And only the best would work for a party of this magnitude. This chocolate perfectly cut the sweetness of the cheesecake. Rich, creamy, decadent. I think they will like it!
After being dipped and tapped to get rid of any excess chocolate, the cheesecake pops were rolled in fresh graham cracker crumbs and then placed back in the freezer until transportation time.
They turned out amazing. I guess the whole rustic look is working here, because the party-goers couldn’t get enough of these. They were big on purpose, so each partaker got one to enjoy.
I don’t think that I would attempt cheesecake next time, unless it didn’t have to travel. We had to store everything in a cooler on top of some ice to keep them cold. They weren’t very forgiving when it came to travel, but I’m glad that they held up through the party!
I decided to add some mint to the menu through some homemade Oreo cookies with from-scratch cream cheese mint frosting. The cookies were delicious and uniform in size, thanks to my one-inch cookie scoop.
These were deliberately removed from the oven just a little early so that the cookies would stay soft and chewy. After cooling on the pan for a few minutes, they were moved to a wire rack to hang out until ready for some frosting in between.
The frosting got tinted green to let the guests know what to expect when they took a bite.
My sister made a birthday cake once for my brother. It was covered in a beautiful green frosting, and we all got excited for the mint explosion about to ensue. But she was stunned at our expectations…it was just green frosting.
I have learned so many lessons from this wise sister…now I know that green frosting = mint, and never bring fruit trays to Christmas Snack Tables.
Next I baked some sugar cookie cups to fill with a sweet cream filling. I piped this into the cups and then topped with beautiful fresh fruit.
The cookie cups were so fragile, but I love how they turned out. They were chewy in texture, and the cream just melted in the mouth. The tart bursts of the berries on top made a nice presentation with the eyes and with the mouth!
These were less than two inches wide, so they were just little guys. But lots of flavor came in little packages. And it’s fruit, right, so it’s healthy!
I made five treats today, thinking that I would still have four back-ups in case one of them didn’t work the way that I wanted. I am thrilled that all five dessert options turned out today…fragile cookie cups included!
It made baking from 7:00 AM nonstop through 4:00 PM a wonderful experience. I have way more fun with this whole catering thing when the goodies turn out well!
You know that I couldn’t really cater a party without having a cupcake offering, right?
For today, I decided to go with Rolo Cupcakes similar to these from My Baking Addiction. I changed the frosting and used melted butter in place of vegetable oil for an even better cupcake.
The cupcakes turned out perfectly plump and not too tall or short. I was relieved.
I’ve always wanted to try a “dripping” chocolate ganache on top, and I am tickled to announce that it worked like a charm!
Kitchen Assistant Hubby had to help me with this step, since the chocolate ganache set up quickly after touching the cooled caramel cream cheese buttercream frosting. So he came right behind my spoonfuls of
sugar chocolate ganache with some cut miniature Rolo candies.
I love when people are shown what they can expect to taste. Rolos on top because there was a frozen Rolo baked inside!
Tickled was I at seeing these done cupcakes. They look so dang edible!
My last item to prep for the day was Lemon Drops for some nice tart flavor. I usually make Paula Deen’s Lemon Blossoms, but they always get stuck in the pan regardless of how well the pans are greased. And I couldn’t deal with that potential failure today of all days!
So I decided to try a new recipe from Woman’s Day for Little Lemon Drops, and they worked like a charm. I held my breath when I turned the pan over. They were supposed to just fall out…and they did!
Wonder of wonder, miracles of miracles!
I set them out to cool on a tea towel. To make them look even more professional, I decided to top them with Sugared Cranberries.
They sat in a dissolved-sugar glaze overnight before being tossed in more sugar, so the tart smack was really toned down. They ended up being the perfect topper for pretty little lemon bites of bliss.
Aren’t they fancy?!
After I made a lemon glaze, it was time to dip the little lemon drops and then top them with the cranberries.
Wait for it….wait for iiiiiiiiiitttttt…….
SHAZAM! (Say that in a Gomer Pyle voice, please).
Don’t you just want to pop one (or thirty) of these little guys into your mouth? Of course, for quality-assurance purposes, I did just that.
No, I didn’t count. But I was happy with the party taking place in my mouth!
The glaze actually locks in the moisture from the cakes. I toned down the lemon juice in the glaze because the extreme tartness today came from the sugared cranberry on top.
Aren’t they gorgeous?!
I was really happy with how everything turned out. I feel so blessed that all five attempts at awesome desserts worked well enough to be proud of putting them in front of people to eat.
My brother said that each and every dessert was a hit at the party, and he even managed to hand out some business cards for them to call me again.
I’m OK with that. It must have been the cute Chrome Animal Name Card Holders, huh?