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Lori Horton
Lori Horton is the owner of Celebrations by Lori in Pittsburg, Ks. With over 15 years experience in the bakery business, Lori opened Celebrations in 2000. She is always out front with the most unique ideas in cake and cookie decorating for all occasions. Celebrations is also on top of the industries' latest trends and products with the area's largest selection of baking and cake decorating supplies. Open Monday - Saturday, Celebrations can be reached at 620-231-5700 or at www.celebrationsbylori.com
Candy, Chocolate & Sweets
2010-12-01 13:20:00
Holiday desserts
Answer: ‘Tis the season for holiday parties, decadent desserts and “OMG, can I get the recipe for that?” So, let’s talk about the kind of event you want to host. The latest trend in all things party, is the D.A.D. get-together. Who doesn’t enjoy Drinks, Appetizers and Desserts? Rule #1, make sure that your invitation states in advance that it’s a D.A.D. party so your guests don’t come expecting a sit down meal. Not only will they be disappointed, they could end up leaving in the middle of the party for a fast food run! While, desserts are always plentiful at Christmas, most people want a little savory with their sweet, so this is a great way to mix it up a little. Start with simple drinks like cider. For the adults, you can simmer it in a crock pot with cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cloves and a bit of dark rum to really inspire the holiday mood. For the kids, hot cocoa is sure to be a hit, just don’t forget the mini marshmallows! Moving on to the appetizers, there is a wide selection. Just keep in mind if you are having a large number of guests, consider choosing appetizers (and desserts) that are both bite sized and portable so everyone can try a bit of everything and still mingle. Also, don’t choose too many items with messy glazes or sauces, this is just asking for more post-party clean-up. Lastly, the dessert portion of the evening. Again, you don’t want too many dips or toppings that may spoil after setting out for two or three hours. Many times what takes a dessert from good to great is the presentation. Pull out all those serving platters and dishes that you only use this time of year and stack them, drape them with sparkly fabric, whatever it takes! Save back a few of those shiny Christmas tree ornaments to sprinkle around the buffet table, even add a small strand of lights if you like. Simple things like chocolate dipped pretzels, caramel corn, mixed nuts and cookies are good fillers, but what about the “WOW” factor? One of my favorites is mini pecan pie tarts, they are yummy and still look great at room temperature for a while. Another can’t-miss is chocolate truffles. They make an elegant arrangement and look much more time-consuming than they are. Of course, nothing is more traditional than fruit cake, banana or pumpkin breads sliced on a beautiful platter. Tiers of mini muffins or brownie squares can be dressed up with a few chocolate shavings and fresh raspberries on top or a dab of caramel sauce with crushed pecans. Don’t forget, brownies can be baked in mini muffin papers too! You’ll want to keep a pot of fresh coffee brewing to accompany dessert and nothing goes better with coffee than scones. Although cranberry orange is a traditional combination, it also adds a touch of color to the table. The most important thing to remember is don’t try to over-complicate things. The holidays are hectic enough without adding party stress to the equation. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative with the things you already love and make them new holiday classics. Pecan Pie Tarts 15 mini phyllo dough shells ½ cup coarsely chopped pecans 1 large egg 1/3 cup dark corn syrup 1/3 cup sugar ½ teaspoon vanilla 1 tablespoon melted butter Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Place pecans on a foil-lined cookie sheet and bake for 5-8 minutes or until toasted and aromatic. Remove pecans from cookie sheet and set aside to cool. Place mini phyllo shells on cookie sheet. In a small mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg with a fork. Stir in corn syrup, sugar, vanilla, melted butter and toasted pecans. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of pecan mixture into each mini shell. Place cookie sheet with mini pies into oven and bake for 12 minutes. Let cool completely before serving. Cranberry Orange Scones: 3 cups all purpose flour 1/3 cup sugar 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 tablespoon grated orange peel 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 3/4 cup dried cranberries 1 cup chilled buttermilk Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda into large bowl. Mix in orange peel. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in dried cranberries. Gradually add buttermilk, tossing with fork until moist clumps form. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead briefly to bind dough, about 4 turns. Form dough into 1-inch-thick round. Cut into 8 wedges. Transfer wedges to prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until tops of scones are golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let stand on baking sheet 10 minutes. Serve scones warm or at room temperature. Simple Chocolate Truffles 6 oz. semisweet baking chocolate, chopped 2 tablespoons butter ¼ cup heavy whipping cream 1 tablespoon white vegetable shortening ½ cup semisweet or milk chocolate chips Finely chopped nuts, fruit or candy decorations, if desired Cover cookie sheet with waxed paper. Melt baking chocolate in 2-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, remove from heat. Stir in butter until melted, stir in whipping cream. Refrigerate 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, just until thick enough to hold a shape. Drop mixture by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Shape into balls. If mixture is too sticky, refrigerate a bit longer. Freeze for 30 minutes. Heat chocolate chips and shortening over low heat, stirring constantly until chocolate is melted and shortening is completely incorporated, remove from heat. Dip truffles, one at a time into chocolate, then immediately roll in crushed pecans, chocolate jimmies, coconut, mini chocolate chips, or holiday candies. To display, place each truffle in a mini baking cup available at any cake decorating supply store. Store in airtight container, serve at room temperature.
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