I recently shared part one of my oldest daughter’s sweet sixteen succulent party theme and I’m back to share more of the pretty details! This party really reflected her personal style which is laid back and outdoorsy. This boho themed party incorporated her love of sunset colors and succulents. I especially love how all the desserts turned out! I worked with some seriously talented dessert pros and they nailed it.
This was the dessert table that I set up in our outdoor tent area. Here’s what it looked like from the outside.
The color palette was a play off of Taylor’s love for desert sunsets. Personally, I feel like the colors really brought this boho dessert table together.
The handmade sign above the table read “oh how sweet sixteen.”
Let’s start with this cake. Because, WOW. It was a “semi-naked” cake because she loved the look of a naked cake but also really enjoys eating the icing. :) I can’t blame her! The color was a sunset-y peach color and it was adorned with real succulents.
The topper was laser cut from wood and added such a nice finishing touch to the cake. (The flavor was snickerdoodle and it was delicious!).
The cake was really a show stopper.
The cupcakes were topped with the most creative fondant toppers. They looked just like mini succulents! There were also some flat toppers with boho-inspired patterns on them. No one could believe they were edible. (You might remember the cute toppers we had at my London’s 5th birthday breakfast party? Same talented source, more on that below.) (more…)
I have a little confession: I was always scared to bake a cheesecake. I am not sure why, really. I guess I just assumed it was tricky, required a special pan, and was going to taste bad. But none of those things are true. This simple recipe for mini cheesecake bites is my proof. I am so glad I decided to develop this recipe because it was easy and the reward was delicious!
I wanted to come up with a creative dessert that was easy to make but would impress guests at our recent family dinner party. I like being able to serve bite-sized desserts on a platter so guests can take one (or two) and pass them around. This also works out really well for the dishwasher, because there is less to clean up after everyone has gone home.
Gather a few ingredients and get ready to bake (you’ll find the full recipe below). Don’t be intimidated (like I was) at the idea of making your own cheesecake from scratch. I promise it wasn’t difficult and it tastes way much better than the no bake-versions I had tried in the past. The star is the Philadelphia Cream Cheese which is made with, fresh milk, real cream, and no preservatives – nothing else tastes like it.
See, no special pan! I simply lined an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. You’ll want to let it overhang about 2″ on each side so you can later “lift” the baked cheesecake out of the dish. If your parchment paper isn’t big enough, just use two pieces that criss-cross the pan. The bottom part of the dish will be your graham cracker crust layer. Then, you’ll pour in the creamy cheesecake mixture on top before putting it in the oven.
It bakes low and slow for about 30 minutes at 325 degrees. This ensures your cheesecake top doesn’t crack. But don’t worry too much about it even if it does because you’re going to top it with drizzled chocolate and candy bar pieces so no one will even notice.
While it’s baking, cut your favorite candy bars into bite-sized pieces. You’ll use these for your cheesecake toppings. You’ll need about 48 pieces.
After it comes out of the oven, let it cool for about 15 minutes and then place it in the freezer for another hour, (be sure to cover it with plastic wrap first). This cools it down so it can harden a bit, which will help you cut the cheesecake into nice 1-inch pieces.
Once you have cut your pieces, add a drop of chocolate sauce or fudge to each piece and then place a candy bar on top. That’s it. Easy, right?
Place these mini cheesecake bites on a platter or use a cake stand. I promise, they won’t last long!
Serves: 16 Servings when a serving equals 3 pieces
For the crust
1½ cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
5 tablespoons butter, melted
For the cheesecake filling
2 eggs at room temperature
2 8-ounce PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Bricks, softened, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup granulated sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For The Topping
5 Tablespoons chocolate sauce
48 Candy bar pieces
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with overhung parchment paper.
For the crust. In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter, and mix until all of the crumbs are moistened. Press the mixture in the pan and press firmly into an even layer.
For the filling. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese (I used the paddle attachment in a stand mixer but you could also use a hand mixer) until it is light and fluffy. Next, add in the sugar, salt, cornstarch, eggs and vanilla, beating to combine well after each ingredient is added. The mixture should be very smooth. Pour the filling into the prepared pan on top of the crust. Place in the center of the oven and bake until just set (about 30 minutes). You’ll know it’s set when it doesn’t jiggle in the pan. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before covering the pan with plastic wrap and placing in the freezer for an additional hour to harden up.
To Make The Bites. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, uncover and remove from the pan using the overhung parchment paper to “lift” it out. Using a sharp knife, slice into about 48 1-inch squares. Top each bite with a drop of chocolate sauce, then place a piece of candy bar on top of each one.
Can we agree that mini desserts are just better? These mini pudding parfaits are just so cuuuute, aren’t they? (Spoiler alert: They also taste delicious.)
I actually made these dessert in mini wine tasting glasses I had on hand. They just so happen to be the perfect size for mini pudding parfaits! These mini mason jars would also work perfectly (and I love that they have lids).
You can completely customize this recipe and get really creative. I used the classic Nilla Wafer cookies to make a cookie crumb crust at the bottom. Then I layered homemade vanilla pudding, jimmies (sprinkles), and whipped cream. But you can do any cookie crumble (Oreo would be so good!) and any flavor of pudding you like. You get the idea, have fun with it! This combo reminds me of my childhood which just makes it taste extra sweet. :) (more…)
I’m not sure how it happened but Halloween is right around the corner (EEEEEKKKK!). Is it just me just me, or does it seems like the year is just rolling along at top speed. Crazy! Well, if you find yourself needed to make halloween treats in the next few weeks, these ghosts cupcakes are simple and super fun!
Want to know a little secret I have on keeping things simple? I don’t always make my own cupcakes (insert horror screech here, right?). In fact, I just go to my local grocery store bakery and ask them to sell me un-iced cupcakes. It’s so easy (you can totally do this for cake layers too!). Then I get to skip the baking and have fun with the decorating. Just keepin’ it real…. and simple. ;) (more…)
Lately, my cravings for all types of popsicles seems to be growing stronger. I’m going to go ahead and blame it on all the delicious popsicle recipes I’ve been spotting on Pinterest. I love that you can combine so many different flavors when experimenting with recipes. Layering different types of juices when making them creates a fun and interesting treat –and you can get creative with flavors AND colors. Check out these striped juice popsicles.
A lot of baking goes down in December. Am I right? School parties, neighborhood gifts, potlucks, cookie swaps – it seems there is always a reason/need to be whipping something up. In my family there are those staple things that we bake every year. You can bet on some type of sweets for breakfast (like cinnamon rolls or now, these pecan pie pancakes), a really seasonal dessert (think fudge), and of course a holiday staple – cookies.
This season I’ve teamed up with Sugar In The Raw® to bring you some festive holiday treats (check out these monster lollipops and this pumpkin pie spice latte cake), and today I’m sharing my most recent holiday recipe with you – Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies.
Have them on hand to serve your family or pop in guests, box them up and ship to a distant relative, or tie them with a ribbon for a special teacher gift.