Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

I hosted my 5th annual Mother's Day at our house on Sunday. This is something I look forward to all year, and I'm always dog-earing recipes to try. I normally do a brunch, but it just didn't work out schedule-wise, so we decided on an after-dinner dessert bar instead. Yum! My stipulations for this sort of thing are to not have to do anything on the day of (since it is Mother's Day, after all - who wants to be cooking and cleaning on Mother's Day?). I did almost everything Saturday including setting out all of the dishes, so just before our family came, I had very little prep to finish. Here are the specifics:

On the Menu:

Fruit Pizzas

Nutella and Sea Salt fudge

Mini Strawberry Shortcakes

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookie Pies

Decaf Coffee

Fruit Pizzas
2 sticks of softened butter
1 cup of sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
3 cups flour

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla. Then add the baking powder and one cup of flour at a time mixing well between each addition. The dough will be very, very dry and stiff. If it doesn't come together in the bowl, knead it with your hands until it does. Split it into 2 balls, and do not chill. Roll the dough out to approx. 1/8 inch, and use cookie cutters in your desired shape. Arrange on an ungreased baking sheet, and bake for 5-10 minutes until the edges begin to brown lightly.

Frosting: I used the cream cheese frosting from this recipe. Refrigerate if you're not going to use it right away.

You can make everything a day ahead of time, but you should wait until just before serving to assemble the pizzas. Make sure to set the frosting out for 10-20 minutes or so to soften to make it spreadable. Frost the cookies, then arrange your favorite fruit on top.

Simple Mini Strawberry Shortcakes
This is a great way to put to use all of your empty babyfood jars!
I used a store-bought strawberry angel food cake. I sliced it with a bread knife, then cut circles out with a small biscuit cutter. You'll need 2 circles per jar. Slice a pint or so of strawberries, and sprinkle them with sugar. I did this the day before and let sit in the refrigerator overnight. They become juicy and more like a sauce than sliced fruit. Just before everyone arrived, I layered the angel food cake and strawberries and topped with whipped cream. You could also tie ribbon or tulle around each jar to match a party theme.

Mom's Fudge (with a Nutella and Sea Salt spin)
2 sticks of butter
4 1/2 cups of sugar
1 can evaporated milk
1 bag of mini marshmallows
1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 9.5 oz milk chocolate bar, chopped
2 squares of unsweetened baking chocolates, grated
1/4 cup of Nutella
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 cups chopped nuts
coarse sea salt

In a large pot, melt the butter. Add sugar and evaporated milk, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to a boil, and boil continuously for 6 minutes. Remove from the heat, and add the marshmallows stirring until they all melt. Add the chocolate chips, chocolate bar, baking chocolage, Nutella, and vanilla, and stir until all of the chocolate is melted. Stir in the chopped nuts. Pour into a well-buttered 9x13 pan, and sprinkle with sea salt. Let it sit at room temperature until it is set, and store in the refrigerator.

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookie Pies
I followed this recipe with only a few changes. Roll out the refrigerated pie crust, and cut into circles that fit your muffin tin. I have a set of biscuit cutters, and I used the biggest one (3 inches) for this recipe. Press each circle into a well-greased muffin tin, and fill with 2 tablespoons of the pie filling mix. Bake for 25 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle of the pie comes out clean.

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