Pinocchio Preview


Just wanted to give you all a little preview of the Pinocchio Dinner Party that I had on Sunday. I will hopefully be posting the menu and decor tomorrow with a tutorial on how to make these adorable puppets later this week!

 

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Snow White’s Caramel Apple Cupcakes


I am sorry I am a little late getting this tutorial to you. Holiday Preparations are in full swing and this took a backseat to the dreaded Christmas Shopping. Without further adieu Spiced Cupcakes with an Apple Filling and Caramel Buttercream.

 

Step 1- Make the Cupcakes.

Unfortunately I do not have an exact recipe for you. We had a slight cupcake disaster in the kitchen that lead to half the boxed mix ending up on the floor so I made it up from there. But I did just reveal my secret- Boxed Cake.

I love to use the boxed mix as I experiment and create recipes. The box is designed for people to screw up. It is made so that it will still rise even if your measurements are a little off. So I use the box a few times to test flavors and then I turn it into a recipe. Check out The Cake Mix Doctor she has an amazing blog and books to give your cake a homemade taste. Once you try a few of her recipes you will get the idea and be able to create your own.

Here is what I did- I used a boxed spice mix. I added an extra egg. Substituted apple juice (cider would work as well) and Sour Cream for the oil. I also added a little applesauce to the mix- This is a very popular oil substitute as well. I also added a dash of vanilla. Bake the cake as directed. Make sure you let it cool.

I like to make the cupcake the day before to give it ample time before frosting. Just make sure you store it in an airtight container so you don’t loose freshness.

Step 2- Make the Caramel

I made a homemade caramel for the frosting. It also needs ample time to cool so it is advised that you make it the day before. Make sure you have everything on hand. Caramel can turn in the just the few seconds it takes you to locate an ingredient.  If you are using store bought caramel (in which results will be just as good) just omit this step.

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Take 1 cup of brown sugar (you can also used granulated white- but I think the brown gives deeper flavor) and melt on moderately high heat- whisking constantly until it begins to boil.

 

 

 

 

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Add 1/2 a cup of butter to boiling sugar and whisk vigorously until butter has melted.

When all of the sugar has melted (there shouldn’t be any clumps) remove the pan from the heat.

 

 

 

 

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The image to the right is the caramel (with no lumps) cooling for 5 seconds before the next step.

SLOWLY add whipping cream. The caramel will foam. Whisk the whipping cream in until you reach your desired consistency.

 

 

 

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Pour caramel into a glass bowl or jar and set on the counter until it reaches room temperature.

 

You can cover and store in the fridge for up to two weeks. Just make sure you return it to room temperature before making frosting.

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3: Easy Apple Pie Filling

So I took another short cut here and made my apple pie filling in a bag. This filling can be as gourmet or as simple as you would like. You can use my recipe or feel free to use your favorite.

Peel and dice 2 apples into1/4″ cubes. Granny Smith is the most popular as it holds up the best- but I had Macoun on hand so I used those.

Put Apples into a Gallon sized ziploc bag with 2 Tablespoons of flour, 1 Tablespoons of butter, 1/4 brown sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. Seal bag and toss it around to mix ingredients.

* I use less butter and no water when I make these for cupcake filling as I dont want the filling to seep into the cupcake*

Put it in the microwave for 3 minutes or until apples are soft. That’s it! You can use this for pie filling, add it to your cupcake batter, or just eat it as a snack ;-)

 

Step 4- Fill Cupcakes

I used to struggle with this step- it is like anything practice makes perfect so don’t kick yourself if it doesn’t look awesome- don’t worry it will still taste amazing.

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Use a melon baller to scoop out the center of the cupcake. Insert the filling. You may need to break off a little piece of the scooped out center so it fits then simply place it back on the filling- it does not need to line up perfectly.

 

Step 5- The Frosting

*Important bring 2 sticks of butter to room temperature before beginning. It is best if you leave it on the counter as melting butter will make the frosting less creamy and its hard to heat without melting- If you have to soften in the microwave for 5-10 seconds at a time*

 

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Cream 2 Sticks of Room Temperature Butter. (That is whip the butter until it reaches a creamy and fluffy consistency.) Add 3/4 of a bag (32oz) of confectionary sugar and SLOWLY mix into butter. As it begins to get clumpy add 1/2 a cup of caramel. Mix until smooth.

*If this does not yield the desired consistency add a little milk to smooth it or add more sugar to thicken it*

Step 6- Frost the cupcakes

I frosted my cupcakes for this dinner two ways.

1. I used a can of red frosting with a star tip to create an apple affect. I added a cinnamon stick for further detailing

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2. I used a ziplock bag to pipe on the homemade caramel frosting. If you would like to use the apple technique with the caramel frosting simply add red food coloring when mixing the caramel into the butter and sugar. You can put the frosting into a pastry bag with a star tip. If using the ziplock bag technique fill bag about half full and seal. Manipulate frosting in your hands to warm it up a bit to give you a more malleable consistency. Snip off a corner of the bag and squeeze out the frosting in a circular motion.

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There you have it. Please comment if you have any questions. Enjoy!

With a Smile and a Song


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

The great Julie Andrews once said, “Let’s start at the very beginning… A very good place to start.” (I am also a little bit of a theatre geek- sorry!)

I vividly remember getting my first copy of Snow White, it was my 7th birthday and my aunt had wrapped it up along with a pair of earrings. At the time my ears weren’t pierced and I was very confused until she explained that she was taking me to go get them done. We went to the piercing pagoda in the mall and I sat there clutching my VHS as I got my very first pair of earrings.
I have always liked Snow White, but it has never been one of my favorites- I think it is a little too scary for my tastes. What I do love about it is the design elements. Everything from the movie has become so iconic- the cottage, the mirror, the apple are all so distinctly Snow White. That made deciding how I wanted to design the buffet table very difficult. I decided to do both an Evil Queen themed table and a dwarves’ cottage table.

For this table I took the Evil Queen’s primary colors- purple and black and draped fabric to give it a regal look.

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The Mirror- I found in the wood working section of Michaels and spray painted gold.

The Platter- This is Disney Park Authentic piece which was sold by the Disney Store last year- it can still be found on reseller websites such as ebay.

Spell Book- I had made the spell book and poison apple as decorations for a fairytale themed murder mystery party I hosted last Halloween. The book is a piece of thick cardboard covered in fabric with paper I had printed on and aged with tea.

Poisoned Apple- A painted artificial apple. You can find fake apples at any craft store. I put some tape where I had wanted the eyes and nose before I sprayed it with green paint. I sprayed it from the top only and made sure it really saturated so it dripped.

Crown- I purchased from Love Crush Boutique on Etsy. I bought it about a year ago have moved since so it got a little smushed.

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The Dwarves’ Cottage

I went very earthy with the tones. The actual cottage was painted for the fairytale event last year. I used burlap and lace for the table covering. I added baskets and flowers to  really get the cottage feel. The lanterns are from Christmas Tree Shop. I added a few birds from Michael’s as a reference to Smile and a Song and Whistle While You Work. One of my favorite images is Snow White in the forest with a bluebird on her finger.

 

 

The Menu:

Autumn Apple Salad

German Jagerschnitzel and Knodel (German Hunter Style Chicken in Mushroom Sauce and Potato Dumplings)

Gooseberry Pie

The Queen’s Poisoned Apple Cupcakes- tutorial to follow

 

As much as I wanted to I didn’t want to overload the menu with apple, instead I tried a balance of traditional Bavarian food and apples. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is based on Snow White a popular German fairytale published by the Brother’s Grimm in 1812.

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Autumn Apple Salad

This is one of my favorite salads and I can’t say I really have a recipe for it. But here is a list of what I put in it.

Chopped Braeburn Apples

Sliced Almonds

Gorgonzola Cheese

Dried Cranberries

I used Mixed Greens for this dinner but I also like it with Spinach.

Dressing of Choice- I used Newman’s Own Cranberry Vinaigrette.

This is great with grilled or roasted chicken to make a more substantial meal. Whenever I have leftover roast chicken I make this salad the following day.

I served it in a cauldron on the Queen’s Table. If this was for a larger event I would have done more of a salad bar style with the same ingredients. If you got a wooden toy train or even a cutout you could serve each individual item in a different wooden bowl propped up with black cardstock circles attached to represent the Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train.

 

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Jaegarsnitchzel and Knodel

One of my favorite parts of the movie is when Doc tries to ask Snow to make him apple dumplings. I was already making gooseberry pie and apple cupcakes so I didn’t want to add those as well but I decided a potato dumpling would be perfect. The traditional German fair is something they would eat and it’s delicious.

I got both the schnitzel and dumpling recipes from Bavarian Kitchen.

I used chicken instead of veal as I knew one of my guests won’t eat veal. Another adaptation for picky eaters would be to omit the sauce and serve a breaded cutlet.

You could also do a chicken and dumpling soup.

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Gooseberry Pie

As I have mentioned I hosted a Fairytale Murder Mystery for
Halloween last year (photos from that event can be found on My Website) I made a mixed berry crumble and called it gooseberry pie for simplicity sake so I decided that I was going to make the real thing for this.

I bought gooseberries from Amazon. Oregon Fruit Gooseberries in Light Syrup, 15-Ounce Cans (Pack of 8) And began a search for the the perfect recipe.

I decided to get fancy and make seven individual pies for each of the dwarfs. I should have stuck with the recipe. The Gooseberry has so much moisture that getting them out of the cups was a disaster. I was able to save a few and put them in ramekins but when I make this again I will drain the berries longer and make a whole pie.

Poisoned Apple Cupcakes

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These were an amazing success. I will provide a tutorial on how I made them in my next post.

 

Having a Snow White themed party?

Make the event unique from the very beginning by sending out a mirror shaped invitation. For a personalized spin add the birthday girls picture in the mirror – on your birthday you are always fairest in the land.

One of the elements I love from Snow White but was unable to include in this dinner is the Wishing Well. Make a wishing well out of cardboard- spray the bottom with grey or brown and after it has dried completely use painters tape to mark out uneven squares- spray again with the stone affect paint for a cool 3D look.

A Green Apple Punch served in a cauldron or individual vials label poisoned are popular and adorable.

Games/ Activities

Last night we played Apples to Apples in honor of the Queen. I had left my Disney version at my family’s summer home but that would have been even more perfect! You can find it on Amazon.

Pin the bow on Snow White OR Pin the Crown on the Evil Queen

Pass the poisoned apple – A Snow White version of Hot Potato

Seven Dwarves Bowling or Ring Toss- Disney’s Family Magazine came out with this cute toilet paper craft a few years ago. They can be incorporated into either game.

Mining for Jewels- you can do this a few ways for younger kids bury jewels in a sandbox and have them dig to find them. Or send older children on a scavenger hunt!

Decorate a Magic Mirror Photo Frame- Have kids decorate a frame and give them a picture to put in it as a favor.

Another cute craft is making a dwarf beard with cotton balls.

I have never been a fan of bobbing for apples but it is a party favorite.

Treats:

A great favor for little girls are Snow White headbands. Buy headbands at the dollar store and use red ribbon to create the iconic headband.

Also cute are a treat bag of Hersey’s kisses with the label True Love’s Kiss or Magic Kisses.

 

 

Be Our Guest!!


Welcome to My Culinary Cabaret!

 

With this blog I hope to combine three of my favorite things:  cooking, parties and Disney!!

 

Before I jump right in let me tell you a little bit about myself. I LOVE my job- I am an event and office manager at a tech company in Boston. I am given so many unique opportunities to be creative with all sorts of really cool events. I also am the owner and founder of Creative Celebrations by Christina – a full service event planning company.

 

I obviously can’t get enough of planning because now I am starting this blog which I plan to focus on Disney Dinners.  My boyfriend and I absolutely love Disney. As we prepare for our Disney vacations we always count down by watching movies and I always theme a dinner to go with it.  For the past few years we have been trying to collect all of the animated features (damn that Disney vault,) and I promised when we finally had them all I would do a dinner for each.  As it happens there are currently 52 Disney animated features that have been released on DVD so I plan to do one a week  for the next year.

 

When Disney released their new ‘show your Disney side’ campaign I knew I couldn’t just do these dinners for us- so I am not only showing but sharing my Disney side. Each week I will share our menu and theming. I will also provide alternatives to either scale the dinner back, turn it into a party, or make it more kid friendly. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or requests.

So to quote from my favorite movie:

“It is with greatest pride and deepest pleasure that I welcome you tonight. And now, we invite you to relax. Let us pull up a chair as the dining room proudly presents… your dinner”