I’ve found that there isn’t anything that will wow a crowd like food shaped into cute little animals. Most aren’t appropriate for cocktail parties (“Here’s your Hello Kitty cake pop, Mr. CEO”), but I have found one that is black tie friendly, if you know what I mean.
This particular hors d’oeuvre is not only completely adorable but also very easy to assemble. I promise you’ll get lots of comments on these little guys.
Cream Cheese Penguins
18 jumbo black olives, pitted
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
18 small black olives
Cut a slit from top to bottom, lengthwise, into the side of each jumbo olive. Carefully insert about 1 teaspoon of cream cheese into each olive. Slice the carrot into eighteen 1/4 inch thick rounds; cut a small notch out of each carrot slice to form feet. Save the cut out piece and press into center of small olive to form the beak. If necessary cut a small slit into each olive before inserting the beak.
Set a big olive, large hole side down, onto a carrot slice. Then, set a small olive onto the large olive, adjusting so that the beak, cream cheese chest and notch in the carrot slice line up. Secure with a toothpick.
My army of penguins are ready to go when you are.
The first time I ever heard of Peanut Butter Pie was when I asked my ex what he wanted me to make him for his birthday the first year we were together. He insisted he disliked cakes, tarts, and sweets in general (shocking that didn’t work out) but when pressed he said he wanted his mom’s Peanut Butter Pie. I assumed this was some sort of secret family recipe that had been passed down through generations but when I called his mom she laughed saying she got the recipe off of a box or something like that. She promptly emailed it to me, copied below.
Ex’s mom had a recipe for a crust but said not to bother and just to buy a store bought graham cracker or chocolate crust. My expectations were fairly low as it just seemed a little too easy and simple but boy was I wrong. I have since made this pie numerous times for both casual potlucks to nicer dinners (single servings kick it up a notch). I used Ina Garten’s pie crust recipe for this round as I had some left over from a previous project but if you are making a single pie I would go with the store bought graham cracker crust. So quick, easy, and delicious. Yum.
Mom’s Peanut Butter Pie
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup 10X (confectioners) sugar
3 oz. Cream cheese
8 oz. Cool Whip
Hershey’s Syrup for drizzling
Blend well first 3 ingredients. Stir in Cool Whip. Pour in graham cracker crust. Layer with Hershey’s Syrup. Top with Cool Whip. Drizzle syrup over top.
Gingerbread is great and all but Gingerbread CUPCAKES? Sign me up!
The lemonyness of this frosting really goes really nicely with the spice of these cupcakes, what a perfect combination. As you can see from the image I had to take the cupcakes into work as I was finding they were going much too well with my afternoon cup of coffee, morning cup of tea, late night glass of milk… you get the point.
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
From Gonna Want Seconds and slightly adapted from Epicurious
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (1/4 cup)-softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1 teaspoon baking soda
8 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1. Into a bowl sift together the flour, the ground ginger, the cinnamon, the cloves, the allspice, and the salt.
2. In another bowl cream 1/2 stick of the butter, add the granulated sugar, and beat the mixture until it is fluffy. Beat in the molasses and the egg, beating until the mixture is smooth.
3. In a measuring cup combine the baking soda with 1/2 cup boiling water and stir the mixture until the baking soda is dissolved.
4. Stir the mixture into the molasses mixture (the mixture will appear curdled) and stir the molasses mixture.
5. Stir the molasses mixture into the flour mixture, stirring to combine the ingredients well.
6. Line twelve 1/2-cup muffin tins with paper liners and pour the batter into the liners, filling them evenly with all the batter.
7. Bake the cupcakes in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. (The cupcakes will be flat or slightly indented on top.) Transfer the cupcakes to a rack and let them cool.
1. In a bowl cream together the cream and cheese, softened butter until smooth.
2. Add the confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla, and beat the mixture until it is fluffy and smooth.
3. Beat in the zest and the lemon juice and chill the frosting for 30 minutes. Spread or pipe the frosting on the cupcakes and EAT.