Tuesday, December 27, 2011

{Free Printable} 2012 New Year's Eve collection as featured on Parents.com!


Last year, I put together a New Year’s Eve table using party circles and I have put together a 2012 version for you! I am excited to share that the design was featured on Parents.com today! 

I wanted to create a design that would allow for fun, simple and easy ways to decorate for a New Year’s Eve party.
The colors I used are black, gray/silver, purple and white along with damask and polka dot patterns to give a chic and modern twist.







The party circles can be used for cupcake toppers, gift tags, wine tags, garland/banner, napkin rings, straws, food labels and more! So many ways to decorate for your New Year’s Eve party that can be put together quickly especially if you don’t have a lot of time to prep.

Print on heavy card stock, matte photo paper or 8.5 x 11 full size label sheets to make stickers. Cut to make squares or use 1 7/8” and 2” circle and scallop circle paper punches.

Get your 2 inch scallop circle punch HERE.

Download your free 2012 New Year's Eve printables HERE!


Friday, December 23, 2011

{Tutorial} Peppermint Macarons

A few days ago, I put together ideas for planning a Pretty Peppermint Party.  One of desserts I found were these fabulous Peppermint Macarons I spotted on Studio DIY.  As you know, I LOVE macarons and have been on the quest to find an easy step-by-step tutorial.  What better time than to try and create macarons for holiday parties?  I wanted to see if I could find out who the creator behind the beautiful treats was.  I came to find out the stunning photos of the macarons is also the creator of the gorgeous macarons.  Stacy Able is not only a fantastic photographer, but she has quite the passion for making macarons.  Stacy is sharing her Peppermint Macarons today and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.  Wouldn't they make the perfect gift wrapped in pretty paper packing for the holidays?

Peppermint Vanilla Bean Macaron Recipe

200g almond flour
200g powdered sugar
80g egg whites
80g egg whites
200g regular sugar
80 ml water
1 vanilla bean pod, seeds scraped out
2-3 drops of peppermint extract
Red food coloring (optional)
Crushed Candy Canes (optional, for finishing)


Heat oven to 355F
Separate egg whites ensuring there is absolutely no egg yolk. You may set the egg whites aside for 2-3 days in a refrigerator to “age”.
Measure out egg whites into two small containers with 80g in each.

Measure out almond flour and powdered sugar; add to food processer or spice grinder and pulse. Once the sugar and almond flour is a fine texture, sift 2 times; add
the vanilla seed scrapings, peppermint extract, and 80g of egg white, set aside.

Cook sugar with water in a pot over medium heat with candy thermometer. Gently swirl the water and sugar a few times so it cooks evenly. When the temperature reaches 230F take the pot off the oven.
While sugar is cooking, Begin whipping the other 80g of egg whites with stand or hand held mixer. When eggs are in a soft peak drizzle the 230F hot sugar syrup down the bowl in a thin stream and continue beating until you get a firm, shiny meringue.

Pour half of the almond/powered sugar ingredients into meringue and stir ensuring you scrape the sides and bottom. Add the second half and stir. Note: do not over stir. You want the batter to look like a thick magma that when dropped in the bowl slowly absorbs into batter. Over stirring creates flat, pancake, cracked cookies.
Place parchment on a cookie sheet and trace 1 inch circles on the parchment then flip the parchment as you do not want pen marks on the cookie.

In a pastry bag use a plain round tip and pipe out circles on your parchment. You can create swirled color by adding a few drops down the side of the pastry bag or a solid color by adding a few drops of color while mixing the egg white/almond/sugar ingredients. Once you have your circles piped, firmly hold the cookie sheet and rap the sheet against a counter a couple times. This is done to help form the foot/pied bottom of the macaron.

Let the dough sit for 15-30 minutes to form a soft non sticky shell.
Place in oven for 11 minutes and put a wooden spoon or chopstick in the door to let some heat escape. Note- this will produce a slightly chewy Macaron which is traditional without browning the cookie. If you’d like them done slightly more you can cook at 300 for 20-25 minutes.
Once cookies are done, pull them out of the oven and let them cool. Do not remove from parchment until cool as they may stick. Pull up the corner and gently peel from the Macaron or use a metal spatula to gently remove shells.
To complete the cookie, make a simple butter cream and add a few drops of flavoring. For this recipe, we used a few drops of peppermint extract. Spoon icing onto macaron shell and gently press the two sides together.

Roll the cookie into crushed candy canes.

Macaron shells will last 3-4 days if left on the counter. If unfilled you can freeze the cookies then thaw and fill for an instant glamorous treat.

All Photos by Stacy Able Photography

Thanks so much Stacy for sharing your Peppermint Macaron recipe and tutorial.  I cannot wait to try the recipe and I know the macarons will be a hit at our next party!  I hope that everyone will enjoy making the French treats!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

{Guest Post} The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle

I am delighted that Callye of The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle is stopping by.  I have been a HUGE fan of Callye's amazing creations for quite some time.  Each cookie that Callye decorates is seriously a gorgeous piece of art.  Today, she is sharing an easy step by step tutorial for making holidays cookies inspired by my Christmas Chevron design.  Get ready to swoon!

Hi, I am SweetSugarBelle, and I am almost obsessed with cookie decorating. Christmas is one of my favorite times of year because it's all about cookies. Cookie decorating often has a reputation for being difficult, but with a few tips it's much easier than it seems.
Today I am going to show you how easy it can be to make cookies that perfectly coordinate with your party decor.

These designs didn't just fall out of my brain. They were actually inspired by this photo of Stefanie's gorgeous holiday collection. I picked out a few of my favorite elements of the design. My eyes were immediately drawn to the chevron print, the splash of off-lime green, and the adorable font. To make these into cookies I decided to put my own spin on these elements.

To decorate these cookies you will need:
  • white piping and flood icing
  • red piping and flood icing
  • green flood icing
  • toothpicks
  • Christmas colored non-pareils
If you need an easy and tasty cookie recipe, click HERE.
For royal icing, click HERE.

*note...be prepared to work fast. This technique is easy for beginners, but the icing dries quickly so work one cookie at a time.
Begin by outlining the cookie using a
#2 tip and flooding it with white icing. If you need more help with this, click HERE.

As soon as you have filled the cookie, use the red and green flood icing to create alternating red and green lines in the wet white icing. This technique of dropping wet icing onto wet icing is called wet on wet. When the cookie is striped, quickly drag a toothpick up and down through the lines in a wavy fashion.

Let the cookie dry for eight to ten hours and that's all you need to make simple chevron cookies
I also made "JOY" cookies based on Stefanie's printables. I began by outlining and filling a cookie as shown above. After the cookie dried overnight, I used a #1.5 tip to pipe the word joy onto the cookie. This is a lot simpler than it seems.
First of all, I chose that particular word because it's the shortest, therefore it has less chances for me to goof.
Begin by piping the middle letter in the center of the cookie. This helps to keep things centered. Being sure to work slowly {this is the key} add the rest of the letters slowly and carefully making sure the tops and bottoms are even.

Let the words dry completely {about an hour or so} and then add a sprinkled border by piping an outline, then dipping or sprinkling them with sprinkles.

Let dry and you will have an impressive yet easy set of cookies for your Christmas party or gift.

Do not let the thought of decorated cookies or royal icing intimidate you. With a little help and practice, you can make cookies like these!
For more tips, tricks, and recipes, visit my blog The Sweet Adventures of SugarBelle. I'd love to share many more fun cookie decorating ideas!

I hope you''ll make these soon! Happy Holidays!

Thanks so much Callye for sharing your cookie magic with us today!
Be sure to check out Callye's blog where you will find oodles of fabulous cookies, recipes, tutorials and fun extras!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

{tutorial} Fancy Cupcake Frosting from pen n' paper flowers

Recently, I had the privilege of contributing to The Party Dress Holiday Magazine.  When the issue went live, I was blown away by all of the holiday inspiration. One of my favorite contributions from the issue were cupcakes with the most beautiful frosting finish from Jess of pen n' paper flowers.  Jess is so sweet to share her Cupcake Frosting Finish using a French tip with us today.  The simple tutorial will have you creating beautiful cupcakes in a snap.  Perfect for your upcoming holiday parties!

You'll need one of these...

Insert the tip into a pastry bag or ziploc bag and then fill the bag with frosting.  The frosting will need to be light and fluffy but somewhat dense/thick in order to hold its shape.
Jess used a Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Frosting for these cupcakes.

Start with a squirt/blob of frosting that looks something like this...

Tap your cupcakes on the counter or flat surface until the frosting settles to your liking...

Top with a candy of your choice...

You can even try this on mini cupcakes too!

If you want to get a little more fancy, try a 3 tier effect using the same technique.
The trick is to pipe on the first layer, lifting up but not completely detaching from the first layer to begin the second layer.
Make the second layer slighter smaller...lift without detaching and repeat with a smaller circle of frosting to complete the third tier.
Again, tap the cupcake on the counter or flat surface until the frosting settles and add a small topping of choice.

Thanks so much Jess for sharing the tutorial with us.  Can't wait to start creating fancy frosting cupcakes for our upcoming holiday parties.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Pretty Peppermint Party Ideas

I love the simplicity of the red and white color combination of the favorite peppermint candy. It reminds me of the holidays and I am seeing the candy incorporated everywhere this season. I thought I would put together ideas for a Pretty Peppermint Party. If you are hosting an upcoming holiday party or event, here are some stylish ways to incorporate the classic colors from table decor to the desserts for your guests! 

Straw Burst Wreath via Woman's Day

Candy Wrapped Gifts via Good Housekeeping

Peppermint Dream Dress via Little Ticket

Christmas Candy Decor Cones via Celebrations at Home

Red and White Gingerbread House via Sweetopia

Candy Gifts via Martha Stewart

Peppermint Twist Cake via Sweetapolita

Candy Cane Cocktail via Martha Stewart

Peppermint Macarons via StudioDIY

Star Mint Meringues via Better Homes and Gardens

Peppermint Marshmallows via Morgan Moore

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes via Annie's Eats

Peppermint Chocolate Cake Pops via 52 Kitchen Adventures

Peppermint Paper Place Cards via anna and blue paperie

Felt Garland via West Elm

Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Favors via Country Living

Peppermint Hot Chocolate via Martha Stewart

Chevron Wrapping Paper via Mr. Boddington's Studio

If you have seen ideas for a peppermint themed party, I would love for you to share.  Christmas is right around the corner.  Only a few short days to get your last minute holiday prep done.  But most importantly, spending time with the ones you love!
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