Party Inspiration – Cookies and Milk

So we have decided this year to NOT throw a birthday party for my soon to be 4-year-old, because he wants a slightly more expensive birthday present (A red Ferrari sports car to be exact, I think we may have to settle on a go-cart). I’ll be honest, its got me feeling like a pretty terrible mum, because If you are anything like me, you slightly obsess over children’s birthdays party. Well any party’s really. The creative side comes out and I spend months trolling the internet for ideas and ways to be original. I LOVE IT! It’s my side hobby. My bestie and I always say one day we will focus on it full-time and make it a career. I love to creative unique idea’s and I hate the stereotypical “Disney cartoon” themes, with cartoon characters plastered all over plates, though I did cave once my putting barney toppers on my sons 2nd birthday cakes.

Anyway the “not having a party” thing got me thinking of all the parties I’ve gone to and the ones that ive done so I thought I’d share some creative inspiration on parties gone by.

The first was my youngest 2nd birthday. He’s a tough one. He’s not really into any cartoon themes, nor does he have a favourite colour (yet), or a preferred teddy. The one thing he does obsess about however are biscuits (cookies for the folks over in the USA). As in completely and utterly obsessed. He cries for them when he wakes up, if he sees someone drinking tea he wants them, he wants to “dip dip” into the tea. Naturally, that was the selected theme. “Cookies and Milk”. I love it because the theme here in South Africa is not common, yet.

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Using blue and brown for the colour combinations I found some brown striped paper that I used as the base for decoration. We had chocolate and strawberry milk as well as milkshakes available and I went crazy with the cookie themed food.

First the cake – It was the idea around my whole party and I wanted it to be the “pièce de résistance”.

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It was one giant layered chocolate chip cookie with cream cheese icing. Super sweet and way to much to eat a huge slice, but it was one of those cakes I kept going back in for another spoon. If I made it again I would probably try to make it a little more “cakier”, but it was exactly what I wanted, a giant cookie. I found the recipe here.

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Additional desserts included Mini Oreo cheesecakes, and choc-chip cookie dough cupcakes which you can find on recipe girls site here. In hindsight I would change the icing on that recipe, I know it was meant to be “cookie dough” but I found the brown sugar to be too grainy, I prefer a smooth icing.

I made batches of mini cookies up and filled jars around the table with them as well as put some in the give away bags. For an activity the kids are at the perfect age to roll out and make their own sugar cookies and I had some pre made for them to ice as well.

It is such a fun theme and the possibilities are endless, I really wish I could do it over. The one thing I wanted to do, but I just ran out of time, was to give away glass jars filled with a layered cookie mix to take and bake at home. Maybe you could use that idea?

I’d love to hear some of your favourite party themes. Happy planning xx PS I know my photos aren’t professional 🙂

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Raspberry Tarlets – helping me cure my berry addiction

Best Raspberry Tartlet Recipe

There’s something about summer and berries that goes hand in hand. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, im addicted!

I love the “quintessential” look to tartlets. They are so easy to make and the reward is HUGE! Tarlets can make any amateur chef feel like a professional!
Sweet shortcrust pastry
2¼ cups plain flour
1/4 cup icing sugar
125g unsalted butter, softened
2 x large eggs eggs

3-4 punnets fresh raspberries

1. For sweet shortcrust pastry, combine flour and icing sugar in food processor, process to combine. Add butter and process to fine crumbly texture. Add eggs and process until pastry comes together. Knead lightly on floured surface until base is smooth, pat the top to flatten slightly then wrap in baking paper and refrigerate 20 minutes or until firm enough to roll out.
2. Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan forced).

3. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface, use pastry to line base and sides of 6-9 medium sized tartlet pans (I use the ones with removable bottoms) OR you can use a 3cm deep, 24cm loose-based tart tin. Trim off any excess pastry, prick the base all over with a fork, then refrigerate for 10 minutes.

4. Place sheet of baking paper over the pastry and three-quarters fill with raw rice or beans. Bake blind for 15 minutes or until edges are light golden. Remove paper and rice and bake further 10 minutes or until base is dry and pastry golden. Set aside to cool in tins. Transfer pastry cases to serving platter.

Creme patissiere is the smooth custard filling for fruit tarts. It is quite easy to make and you should get a really smooth custard with this method. I really like to play around and for an added touch of “exoticness” sometimes I use half milk, half coconut milk to add a zing!

Ingredients

• 2 egg yolks

• 50g castor sugar

• 25g plain four

• 1 1/4 cups milk (full cream) – feel free to play with coconut milk too!

• A Vanilla Pod

• In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar

1. Gradually beat in the flour with just one tablespoon of the milk.

2. Place the rest of the milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan, Cut Vanilla Pod in half and scrape out seeds. Bring this infusion to boil and remove Pod.

3. Whisk this into the egg mixture in a slow stream – ensuring that you whisk continuously so as it does not go lumpy. (by using a balloon whisk you should have no problems with this)

4. Return the mixture to the saucepan and place back on the heat. Continue to whisk until boiling (just a few seconds ) then remove from heat and continue whisking and cooking for 2 – 3 minutes.

Allow to cool.

Pour into a dish and keep in a refrigerator until you are ready to fill your pastry shells.

Allow shells to cool, feel with creamy yummy-ness and top with raspberries and icing sugar! Best served outside, in a garden, lying down, on a picinic blanket 🙂 yummmmy I LOVE summer x