Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ladies Dessert Night

I just realized how behind I am on some of these posts I've been wanting to do. Looking at my calendar I realized it has been almost two months since I hosted a Ladies Dessert Night at my place to celebrate a good friend's engagement! If you are nervous about hosting a dinner party this might be a good first step for you - cocktails and dessert will make most people very happy, and mini desserts are adorable. With just 8 or 9 girls coming over I knew that if I made 3 or 4 different things it would be too much, but what's the fun in having just one or two options?! I set out to find a nice variety of chocolate and fruity - because you don't want to end up with just one or the other. Dessert diversity we'll call it.

Ladies Dessert Night: Vegan Cookie Dough Balls, Lemon Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting, Chocolate Mint Cookies .... and no celebration would be complete without Champagne and Sangria!

Another plus of having people over for meals at your house - you find new recipes! This Vegan Cookie Dough Ball recipe came from an old coworker who came over for dinner and brought these. They are delicious and quick, though a bit messy, to make.

Vegan Cookie Dough Balls
1/2 cup unsalted cashews
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup rice flour (whole wheat pastry flour is good too)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 TB brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 TB + 1/2 tsp maple syrup (or a bit more if dough seems really dry)
1/2 tsp honey
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

In a food processor, add the cashews and oats, processing until you have a fine crumble. Add the salt, sugar and flour and process again. Add in the maple syrup and vanilla and process until completely combined. It will be sticky, but it's okay - you'll just have to be a bit messy while you're rolling the balls. Add in the chocolate chips and process once more. Form into balls - pat flour on your hands to help with the sticking or wash your hands in between every few cookie dough balls. Put them right into the freezer, which will help them bind together until you're ready to serve!

The cupcakes were a tester recipe for a this past weekend's bridal shower and as it turns out they were a big success.
I loved that the recipe called for fresh pureed strawberry in the frosting! I used the same frosting recipe but ended up trying a slightly different lemon cake recipe after losing the original one.

The Chocolate Mint Cookies were a find from my mother years ago - and are ALWAYS a big hit! They are my coworkers favorite cookies I make I think, and so I made them for her going away party as well. The deocrating part can be time consuming, but they're adorable and different than the usual cookie you see at a party.

One sign of a successful celebratory evening!

TIP: When hosting a dessert night like this one I like to also have some non-dessert items on hand just in case people need something to counteract all the sugar they're consuming! I compromised and also put out bowls of cocoa almonds, strawberries and cinnamon sugar pretzels - so offered a little saltiness but didn't kill the dessert theme. Different candies are also another option if you don't feel like baking 3 different recipes.

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