A manly dessert table for Daniel Tosh!

So a few weeks ago I got a really fun opportunity to help decorate a manly dessert table.  Kristin, of Meringue Bake Shop, was contacted to do a dessert table for Daniel Tosh, as in Tosh.O, as in the funniest m effer on the planet who you feel bad about liking because he is so politically incorrect that you feel like just by liking him you could lose your job or have to go to confession.  She called me to brainstorm ideas and of course I had to worm my way in to actually doing the table.
Here is the adorable Kristin and her husband, Lyle, in the background.  Besides being awesome, she makes the most amazing desserts.  Lyle and Kristin are big fans of Daniel Tosh and I was super excited for her to get a chance to do a fun table for him.  The table was to be for the wrap party, as it was the last night of his nationwide tour.
Kristin pretty much let me go to town on this manly dessert table, although I always checked in with her to make sure that she approved of all the elements since her name was on the table.  We found that great striped fabric from IKEA and used a lot of wood, cement and natural elements for the decor.  Jenny of Hank and Hunt recreated the stripey pattern for us digitally so I could use it for tags, signs, etc.  Have I mentioned how rad she is?  How cool are those white porcelain succulents that Kristin found?!
MMMMMMmmmmmm.  Kristin’s salted caramel cupcakes and Push Cakes are one of my favorite flavors she makes.  Ridiculously tasty.
Macaroons…yum!  I was not a fan of chocolate covered marshmallows as a dessert table feature until I tasted these.  Whatever chocolate she used was exceptional and she coated that with graham cracker crumbs.  Yeah.  So good.  Let me take a moment to tell you about the mini pies.  These mini pies haunt me.  They are the best pies that I have ever had.  And I want them all the time.  For real.  They are made by hand and I wish that I could send these around the country so everyone can taste them.  Push Cakes are always a show stopper and I am sure they were very well received.  And although I have never met a crispy treat that I didn’t like, somehow Kristin manages to make them even better.  If you haven’t used Meringue Bake Shop for your party treats yet, you need to.  You will NOT be disappointed.
Thanks for letting me be a part of this super fun experience Kristin!  Even if we didn’t get to meet him.
Sharon
All photos mine

 

No More Boring Cakes on TLC!!!!

A while back, my husband took a job in northern San Diego County.  At first he did the hour long commute but when we became pregnant with our second child and I was going to quit working we decided we should move closer to his work.  We were not happy to leave our friends and family in Orange County behind.  On our moving day, my new neighbor, Jen, came over with a homemade peach cobbler.  Wow!!!  What a welcome!!!  Being that I wanted to move back to Orange County from our very first day in Vista, I never really got to know Jen that well.  But in the year that we were there, I saw her business, No More Boring Cakes, grow and she had just moved in to her first commercial kitchen as we were moving away.  If that cobbler is any indication of how her cakes taste, she is one of the best baker’s I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.  And her decorating skills are AMAZING!!!  
This is just a sampling of her work.  And I can’t wait to see what she came up with for the TLC show Fabulous Cakes!  Her episode is airing on Monday, May 23, 2011 so set your DVRs!  Check out her site here for info on her cakes and delivery.  She even does cake decorating parties!!!  And I am pretty sure she will come up to Orange County for those… I am so happy to see where her business has gone and look forward to see what happens in the future.  
Go!  Right now.  Set your DVR.  TLC – Fabulous Cakes, Monday May 23, 2011 
Sharon
(all images via No More Boring Cakes)

The world is my caramelized banana

This is Amy. You’ve met her before here. In an ideal world, Amy, Food Network’s newest star, Anne Thornton and I would be best friends. We’re all blond, we all love rap music and we all love dessert probably more than anyone should. In this little scenario, Anne would come up with the recipes, like this one for Salted Caramel Banana Pudding Pie (her signature dessert), Amy would make it and I would eat it. I mean, they could eat it too, but that would be my job. I have to contribute something right? But Anne lives on the East Coast so we can’t live the dream of blasting ‘Paul Revere‘ while becoming charmingly dusted with flour as we bake our 5th batch of something wonderful (you know among other reasons like we have never actually met or that, oh um, she’s a tv star). So for now, we’ll just have to follow along with her recipes, making sure to keep OUR roles intact – Amy cooking, me eating. I’ve been looking to incorporate more tutorial type posts in to the blog but I lack time to do it all. Amy will be stepping in to do some posting. We’re going to free form it right now and see how it goes. And when I saw this recipe come across my inbox I knew it would be the perfect first dessert for her to make for me, uh, I mean the blog.

Okay, um disregard the order of these photos. I guess, had I actually made it, I would have known what order to put the pictures in…Maybe my current system in flawed, but my stomach is certainly ok with it for now. So per Amy, it was really helpful to be as prepared with all the ingredients, as possible, before you get started. And she’d also like to warn that parts of this recipe are somewhat hard to juggle while caring for kid’s at the same time (for example, stirring the pudding continually for 15 minutes). This is a great nap time recipe but there are three steps to it so if your kid sleeps only a short period of time, I would wait until you had an extra hand around the house.

Begin with the crust so that it has enough time to cool completely before assembling. I also want to note that you will see two pies here. She didn’t double the recipe but instead made two smaller pies because, well, even though Amy is really nice to me, she wasn’t giving up the whole pie. After finishing up the crusts, move on to the vanilla pudding stage. When both of those stages are complete, you are ready to assemble.
This is the easiest part of the recipe. Layer the deliciousness and then let it chill for 2 hours. I spoke with Amy throughout the making of this pie and I have to say she was a bit disappointed in the flavor of the vanilla pudding at this point. Chilling is the key, it seems. When we sampled the chilled dessert, her tune changed. Although I think Amy will maybe even add some vanilla bean to the pudding next time, she’s fancy like that.
Amy and I quickly took these photos and then ran inside to taste it. O. M. G! Delicious. I am not a banana lover but this dessert is going to be put on my favorites list. I can’t even put in to words the way it all works together. I thought it was perfect. In every way. I almost ate the rest of the pie for my lunch. After all it is a fruit dessert, no?
This is Amy’s sink once she was done with the recipe but I sort of feel like there is a salad spinner sticking out in the right side. I guarantee that there wasn’t any salad in the dessert I tasted. ;)
Anne Thornton’s Salted Caramel Banana Pudding Pie
Crust
1 box Nilla Wafers (85 cookies)
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Finely crush 65 vanilla wafers in a plastic bag with a rolling pin or use a food processor. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the crumbs to top the pie. Mix together crushed vanilla wafers and melted butter until blended. Firmly press on the bottom, up sides, and onto lip of a buttered 9″ pie plate. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and place on a wire race, and allow to completely cool (about 30 minutes).
Vanilla Pudding
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
4 egg yolks
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a large bowl whisk together the sugar and the flour. Once it is a fine powder whisk in eggs and egg yolks, continue whisking until a smooth paste is formed. Slowly whisk in one cup of milk, once it is fully incorporated whisk in the remaining cup of milk. Transfer to a heavy bottom sauce pan, cook on medium heat. Whisking constantly cook for 10-15 minutes, or until it reaches the thickness of chilled pudding. When it is ready the pudding will begin to bubble and will be thick enough to hold soft peaks when whisk is lifted. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla.
The Pie
3 large ripe bananas (sliced like coins)
1 cup caramel sauce
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
1 recipe vanilla pudding
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
In a large bowl mix one cup of caramel sauce and 1 teaspoon fleur de sel, add bananas and stir until bananas are coated in salted caramel. Arrange 1/2 of the banana slices evenly over bottom of the crust. Spread half of hot vanilla pudding filling over the bananas, with 20 full vanilla wafers on top of the pudding. Cover vanilla wafers with the remaining banana and salted caramel mixture and spread the remaining vanilla pudding on top. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
In a large bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Whip in almond extract and sugar until peaks form. Make sure not to over whip, cream will then become lumpy and butter-like. Spread over the pie and garnish with caramel swirl and Vanilla Wafer crumbs.
Amy’s notes:
Amy prefers the Trader Joe’s Vanilla Wafer cookies for flavor so she would substitute these next time, and there WILL be a next time. She says she used a caramel sauce, also from Trader Joe’s, which says it already has fleur de sel in it. Next time she would make a homemade caramel sauce and add the fleur de sel. And since she doesn’t like almond extract, she would substitute vanilla next time in the whipped cream.
My notes:
This is freaking tasty and I want to only eat this dessert from now on including for meals. Welcome Amy!!! I look forward to having you blog your little heart out!
Anne will be making the Salted Caramel Banana Pudding Pie and other caramel treats on her Food Network show, Dessert First, this Sunday. Set your DVR’s! I also want to tell you that I made her Spiced Coffee after seeing it on last week’s show and it was soooo good. Put that recipe in your arsenal for your next brunch. The smell alone is totally welcoming and the taste, divine. Perfect for fall!
Sharon
(I had to use this post title because when Amy was asking me how I wanted her to do part of this dessert, she told me it was up to me and that “the world is your caramelized banana.” What a sweet thought. Way better then grody old oysters any day.)
All images by Amy and I.

Don’t miss Dessert First with Anne Thornton on Food Network!


Where has this show been all my life? I mean, Dessert First is like my unspoken motto. Food Network is premiering the new show ‘Dessert First with Anne Thornton‘ this Sunday, October 24 at 12 pm Eastern and I can hardly wait! First off, how darling is the graphic? I’ve been totally into blue and pink for party themes lately and this is the perfect mix of cute, retro and modern. But who is Anne Thornton? You can view her full bio on the Food Network site here, but most recently she was Executive Pastry Chef and Event Coordinator at Hotel Griffou (I want to go to there) in New York. I got a chance to ask her a couple of questions to get to know her better.

Q: Growing up, what was your ideal birthday treat?
Anne: I always asked for ice cream cake. It had to be chocolate pound cake with mint chocolate chip ice cream and decorated with pink roses. I still love ice cream cake. I’ll show you how to make a chocolate peppermint ice cream cake on my Christmas show which airs December 5th.
Q: What is your favorite dessert that you make and favorite dessert to eat out?
Anne: It’s so hard to choose a favorite dessert but my signature dessert is my Salted Caramel Banana Pudding Pie. My favorite dessert when I’m out is Baked Alaska, it’s hard to find but if done well it’s divine.
Q: I saw the dessert you made on The Nate Berkus show. Will your show feature easy treats like those carousel ice cream sandwiches or will they be more detailed?
Anne: On “Dessert First” I’ll show you how easy it is to make simple and elaborate desserts. You’ll learn tips and tricks that I’ve developed to give your desserts that “WOW” factor without a lot of work.
Q: What trends in party treats are you liking?
Anne: I’m a big fan of cupcakes and cake pops. I think we are going to see a lot more macaroons in the future. I’m a huge fan of these glamorous little treats.
Q: Puff pastry. Is it as hard as it looks?
Anne: Making puff pastry from scratch isn’t hard it’s just extremely time consuming and labor intensive. I love frozen puff pastry. It works beautifully and save a great deal of time and energy.
Q: Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?
Anne: Both! I have a special place in my heart and in my recipes for both of them. There is always room in my pantry for dark, milk, and white chocolate. No chocolate, no matter if it’s bittersweet or semisweet, will ever be turned away.
AMEN, sister.
Anne’s first show will show off some scary sweet treats for Halloween including these Red Velvet Brain Cupcakes. She’ll also feature a whimsical Milk Chocolate Graveyard Cake with chocolate trees, cotton candy and pretzel candy bones!
She’ll also feature a twist on an old standard with her Couture Caramel Apples. With toppings like salted pecans, toasted coconut and candied ginger this treat would surely win best dressed.
As with most of the Food Network shows, the recipes are available online. I can’t wait to watch this show each week to see what Anne has in store. Set your DVR’s so you don’t forget and watch this Sunday, October 24, 2010 12pm Eastern.
“Like” Anne on Facebook.
Follow her on Twitter.
Sharon
All images courtesy of Food Network

Recipes by Busy Dad



It really is a small blogging world. I didn’t know until after
we stopped working together that my friend Lisa’s husband
is a blogger also. Turns out he’s HUGE! And there is a
reason he has a large and loyal following. He is a dad,
fiercely funny and a brilliant writer. I’m totally in awe of
his skills. You have to check out his blog,
The Busy Dad Blog. But it doesn’t stop there. Turns out
he also cooks. He sounds too good to be true doesn’t he?
He is participating in a Tastemaker Challenge – you can
read more about the challenge here – and needs your vote
to win. All you have to do is watch the video, sign in to
Youtube and click on the stars to rate it.) How the heck
did this get on a party planning blog I hear you asking…
Duh, you could totally use these recipes at your next party.
Well…probably not for most children’s parties as most of
the kids I know shun seafood like tissues (sorry, I’m going
through a nose picking thing right now…). And maybe not
for a baby shower on account of the vomit factor, but I’m
sure they would work for a lot of other parties. I don’t know
what the prize is if he wins, but he is representing for all the dad’s out
there as the only guy in the competition and legitimately deserves
to win. He has my vote. Does he have yours? And while you are
logged in to Youtube, search ‘briansharon‘ to watch some funny
videos my husband has made of our family (minus the newest
baby because apparently my husband has also been a busy
dad). And as seems to happen when I blog in the middle of the
day, I have lost one of the kids. Rest assured, there are no weather
balloons around…ok, less then two weeks until our move. I better
get back to packing.

S-
-you may notice that the spacing is all wonky. I thought about fixing it and
it’s the thought that counts right…