A Valentine’s Day Treat

Aprons & Stilettos Hearts

I recently whipped up a batch of heart-shaped Rice Krispies treats for my friends “Bridesmaids Meet & Greet” party and they were such a hit! These festive desserts are so easy-to-make, delicious and the perfect treat for Valentine’s Day.

krispie hearts

  • 1 bag of large marshmallows
  • 5 cups Rice Krispies® cereal
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Melting wafers (strawberry, vanilla or chocolate)
  • Heart shaped cookie cutter

Krispies Hearts

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Add the vanilla to the marshmallows and stir. Add Rice Krispies a few cups at a time and stir to coat.

Krispies Hearts

Using a buttered spatula, press 1/2 of the Rice Krispies mixture in a buttered 8″ x 8″ pan. Turn pan over onto a cutting board. Mixture should release easily from pan. Using the cookie cutter, press into mixture to cut out the heart shapes. Repeat this step until you have run out of space, reform the mixture and continue to cut out hearts using the cookie cutter. Repeat same process with the remaining 1/2 of the Rice Krispies mixture.

Krispies Hearts

In a separate bowl, heat melting wafers per the direction. If using vanilla wafers, add coloring if desired. Dip the corners of the hearts in the melted chocolate and let cool on a piece of wax paper.

Happy Valentine’s Day xx

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Safari Themed Baby Shower

Giraffe CakeIn the beginning of December my sister’s best friend, Christina, and I threw a baby shower for my sister Sarah. Several years ago my sister, grandmother and I departed on an adventure throughout East Africa so right away we knew what the theme should be! Not to mention my sister’s affinity for giraffes. So it was set – now let the planning begin!

TABLE SETTING

The color palette we chose for the majority of our decorations were browns, greens, yellows, and blues. So let’s start at the table.

Congrats Sign

Safari Baby Shower Table

The table runners were made by my friend & co-worker Kim who purchased the fabric from a local fabric shop. For the center pieces, I purchased several large and small mason jars, wrapped them in burlap and finished it with a twine bow. The flowers were a combinations of green Poms, Hydrangeas, Birds of Paradise and Eucalyptus from our backyard. The plates, napkins, cutlery, table cloths and premium stemware were purchased online from PartyCity.com.

Baby Shower Center Piece

FAVORS

As a takeaway for our guests, we had a 187ml bottle of Kenwood Vineyards Yulupa Sparkling wine wrapped in a burlap bag with a tag that read:

Capture1Additionally, we had these adorable (and delicious!) giraffe cookies made by Trisha Thomas who owns Dessert Divas in Sacramento.

Dessert Diva Cookies

MENU

1454680_10101160479112657_640340608_nQuiche Lorraine • Mushroom Spinach Quiche

Parmesan & Cranberry Salad • Fruit Salad • Assorted Muffins

Assorted Cheeses • Giraffe Cake • Safari Cake Pops

Cucumber Water • Jungle Juice (Pomegranate / Cranberry Punch)

Safari Table SettingTo save on time (as we had a lot to do in terms of decorating and last-minute crafts), we ordered the quiche from Whole Foods catering and picked up the fruit salad, muffins and cheese from the local market.

Parmesan & Cranberry Salad with Peach Vinaigrette

  • 8 cups mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Toasted walnuts
  • 2/3 cup peach nectar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • pinch of salt

This recipe yields 6 – 8 servings so I tripled it for the shower. To make the vinaigrette, mix together the peach nectar, vinegar, mustard, and salt in a large bowl. Slowly add in the oil whisking constantly. Add the cranberries and toasted walnuts to the mixed greens and toss well with vinaigrette. Garnish with the Parmesan cheese. The original recipe, adapted from Sandra Lee, calls for Pear Nectar but I swapped it our for peach and I also added in the walnuts to give it some crunch!

Punch & Water

Jungle Juice Punch (Cranberry, Pomegranate & Tangerine)

  • 5 cups cranberry juice
  • 3 cups tangerine juice
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 liter soda water
  • Fresh cranberries, for garnish

This was a huge hit at the party and it was so easy to make. In a large punch bowl combine the cranberry, tangerine and pomegranate juice. Top with soda water and garnish with fresh cranberries. (Variation: swap out the soda water for sparkling wine to give it an adult kick!)

Cake Pop For Parties

For dessert we had these adorable safari cake pops, made by our dear friend Lisa and this amazing raspberry marble (chocolate marble cake layered with chocolate ganache, vanilla buttercream, and fresh raspberries) giraffe cake made by Diana Katra, Cake Whimsy in Campbell.

Giraffe Cake | Aprons & Stilettos

While my sister was opening presents, we played baby bingo! These cards were so easy to make in Photoshop (or InDesign). If you don’t have the time to design your own baby bingo cards, you can find an array of adorable cards for purchase on Etsy.

Baby Bingo

My sister is due any day now so we’re just waiting around for the call! This will be her first, my parents first grandchild and my first time being an Auntie! I can’t wait! Cheers! ~Crystal

Table Setting

Brûléed Bourbon-Maple Pumpkin Pie

Bourbon Pumpkin Pie

Yesterday’s Thanksgiving feast wouldn’t be complete without your traditional pumpkin pie. For those of you who know me, know that I love making dishes that take it to the next level and this Brûléed Bourbon-Maple Pumpkin Pie does exactly that. When my Pops and I were researching recipes to make for Thanksgiving, we came across this dressed up pie recipe from Bon Appétit and decided YES! this is the pie we’re going to make.

Chocolate Pie Dough

  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3½ tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Pie Filling

  • All-purpose flour (for dusting)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 15-oz. can pure pumpkin purée
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground mace
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Pulse cocoa powder, granulated sugar, salt, and 1¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon flour in a food processor to combine. Add butter and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a large bowl.

Chocolate Pie Dough

Whisk egg yolk, vinegar, and ¼ cup ice water in a small bowl. Drizzle half of egg mixture over flour mixture and, using a fork, mix gently just until combined. Add remaining egg mixture and mix until dough just comes together. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, flatten slightly, and cut into quarters. Stack pieces on top of one another, placing unincorporated dry pieces of dough between layers, and press down to combine. Repeat process twice more (all pieces of dough should be incorporated at this point). Form dough into a 1”-thick disk. Wrap in plastic; chill at least 1 hour. (You can also do this ahead of time.)

Roll out disk of dough on a lightly floured surface into a 14” round. Transfer to a 9” pie dish. Lift up edge and allow dough to slump down into dish. Trim, leaving about 1” overhang. Fold overhang under and crimp edge. Chill in freezer 15 minutes.

Place a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350°. Line pie with parchment paper or heavy-duty foil, leaving a 1½” overhang. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until crust is dry around the edge, about 20 minutes. Remove paper and weights and bake until surface of crust looks dry, 5–10 minutes. Brush bottom and sides of crust with 1 beaten egg. Return to oven and bake until dry and set, about 3 minutes longer. (Brushing crust with egg and baking will prevent a soggy crust.)

Pumpkin Pie Filling & Bourbon

Whisk pumpkin purée, sour cream, bourbon, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, mace and remaining 3 eggs in a large bowl; set aside.

Pour maple syrup in a small saucepan; scrape in seeds from vanilla bean  and bring syrup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add cream in 3 additions, stirring with a wooden spoon after each addition until smooth. Gradually whisk hot maple cream into pumpkin mixture.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

Place pie dish on a rimmed baking sheet and pour in filling. Bake pie, rotating halfway through, until set around edge but center barely jiggles, 60 – 70 minutes. Transfer pie dish to a wire rack and let pie cool.

Brulee Pumpkin Pie

Just before serving, sprinkle pie with sugar and, using a kitchen torch, brûlée until sugar is melted and dark brown.

Brulee Pumpkin Pie

Happy Holidays! ~Crystal