Gourmet S’mores Skillet for National S’mores Day

Fiesta Dinnerware Gourmet S'mores Skillet recipe

When we noticed there was an entire day dedicated to s’mores, it didn’t take us long to grab our new Individual Skillet and try some sticky marshmallowy recipes.

We created a Gourmet S’mores Skillet that grownups and kids alike will devour. Warning: you might want to double or triple this recipe.

This spin on a campfire classic can be made right at home in the oven, which means it can be made any time of the year. And that’s just fine with us!

 

Fiesta Dinnerware Gourmet S'mores Skillet recipe

It starts with a layer of a buttery pretzel crust. We subbed pretzels for graham crackers because, let’s face it, sometimes after eating s’mores we’re left craving a bag of chips. And then you need something sweet again. It’s an endless cycle of salty/sweet. We figured, let’s just put the salt in the sweet and save all the trouble and extra calories.

Fiesta Dinnerware Gourmet S'mores Skillet recipe

Next is a layer of creamy dark chocolate fudgy goodness. We traded the milk chocolate that’s traditionally used in s’mores for decadent dark chocolate because here at Fiesta Dinnerware, we’re colorful and different. Our recipes are a little different too! The saltiness of the pretzels combined with the richness of the dark chocolate is completely divine.

Fiesta Dinnerware Gourmet S'mores Skillet recipe

The final layer is simply marshmallows. That’s what ultimately makes a s’more a s’more, right? We chose mini marshmallows, but you could use larger marshmallows if you’d like. The marshmallows toasted to a perfect golden brown under the broiler in our Individual Skillet, featured in the new Foundry cast iron-like finish.

Gourmet S'Mores Skillet
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For the pretzel crust
  1. 1 cup finely crushed pretzels (about 3 handfuls)
  2. 4 tablespoons sugar
  3. 12 tablespoons melted butter
For the chocolate filling
  1. 12 ounces dark chocolate chips
  2. 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
For the marshmallow layer
  1. 1 (10.5 ounce) bag marshmallows
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease two Fiesta Individual Skillet Bakers or 1 8x8" baking pan with butter.
  2. Make the pretzel crust. In a medium bowl, stir together the pretzel crumbs, sugar and melted butter until all of the crumbs are evenly moistened. Pour half into the prepared Fiesta Individual Skillets or the full amount into an 8x8" pan and press evenly into a tight, compact layer. Bake until it is lightly browned and has a faint toasted smell, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  3. Make the chocolate filling. Place the chocolate and sweetened condensed milk in a heatproof bowl and set it over a small pan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until it is completely melted and smooth. Immediately pour it over the pretzel crust and spread it into an even layer.
  4. Immediately place the marshmallows on top of the chocolate filling, pressing down slightly. When ready to serve, turn on your oven's broiler and place the pan on the center rack. Broil until the marshmallows are puffed and browned, 1-2 minutes. Removed from the oven and let cool briefly.
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Fiesta Dinnerware, Always Festive http://alwaysfestive.com/

Fiesta Dinnerware Gourmet S'mores Skillet recipe

While it’s still warm and melty, be sure to share this special treat with someone you really love. It’s a good thing this recipe makes enough to fill two Fiesta skillets! 

 

 

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Strawberry Shortcake Cookie Crumble Truffles

Strawberry Oreo Truffle ScarletIt’s safe to say that, by now, almost everyone has tasted (and fallen in love with) the Oreo Cookie Truffle.  It’s also safe to say that Oreo Cookie Truffles might just be the ultimate no bake dessert.  Seriously, those tasty little bites of heaven couldn’t be simpler to make. With only a handful of ingredients and minimal effort, you are rewarded with darling confections that will tempt even the staunchest dessert adversary.

Strawberry Oreo Truffle IngredientsAdding to this list of accolades, we must point out that the Cookie Truffle is also endlessly adaptable.  Just think of all of the special edition sandwich cookies that call to you from super market shelves every season, and you’ll see what we mean.  Cinnamon Roll Cookie Truffles? Yes, please!  Red Velvet Cookie Truffles?  Did you even need to ask?  But we are getting ahead of ourselves here (read: look out for more of our Cookie Truffle recipes!).

Strawberry Oreo Truffles Plates x2With today being National Strawberry Day, we’ve decided to make a special edition of our own: Strawberry Shortcake Cookie Crumble Truffles.  These charming truffles capture the flavors of fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and golden cookie crumbs to create a two-bite, shortcake-turned-truffle that will leave you asking for at least one more.

Strawberry Oreo Truffle DoughSo how did we manage to get all of those authentic shortcake flavors into our truffles?  Well, we simply stuffed our truffles with diced fresh strawberries and whipped cream. The truffle’s base of crushed cookies and cream cheese is exceptionally easy to work with and lent itself to molding into a slight bowl shape.

Strawberry Oreo Truffles BerriesFrom there, we spooned teensy bits of whipped cream and finely chopped berries into the center and then covered with another flattened round of dough to form a sandwich of sorts. At that point, we gently squeezed the sides together and rolled into a ball shape.

Strawberry Oreo Truffle ScarletOf course, a truffle isn’t really a truffle until it is enrobed in rich chocolate.  We kept things light, and dipped our cookie balls in melted white chocolate, which complimented the strawberry shortcake flavor we were aiming for.  A colorful mix of pink and red sanding sugars gilded the lily and provided a satisfying crunch to these otherwise creamy confections. 

Strawberry Shortcake Cookie Crumble Truffles
Yields 10
Crushed vanilla sandwich cookies and cream cheese united with fresh strawberries, dipped in white chocolate.
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Ingredients
  1. 20 vanilla sandwich cookies
  2. 4 oz. cream cheese
  3. 3 strawberries, finely diced
  4. ¼ cup fresh whipped cream
  5. 8 oz. white chocolate, melted
  6. Red sanding sugar or sprinkles
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, crush cookies with their filling. Add cream cheese and pulse until a dough forms. Alternately, crush cookies in a plastic zip-top bag by rolling with a rolling pin. Mix in cream cheese.
  2. Refrigerate dough for at least 20 minutes, until firm.
  3. Line 2 large baking sheets with waxed paper and set aside.
  4. Using a small spoon, scoop out about ½ tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball, then flatten. With your thumbs, create a small indent in half of the flattened rounds and carefully spoon a tiny dollop of whipped cream onto each.
  5. Add about 3 or 4 cubes of the diced strawberry then cover with the other, un-topped dough rounds.
  6. Pinch the sides of the dough together then carefully shape into a ball. Place truffle balls on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet and chill in the freezer for a few minutes until firm.
  7. Meanwhile, melt white chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler, following package directions. Using the coldest truffle ball first, dip each into the melted chocolate using a fork. Roll around in the chocolate and then scoop up with fork, tapping to allow excess to drip through the fork prongs.
  8. Place white chocolate dipped truffle on the second waxed paper lined cookie sheet and immediately sprinkle with colored sanding sugar or sprinkles.
  9. Refrigerate truffles for about 10 minutes until firm. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve, up to 5 days.
Fiesta Dinnerware, Always Festive http://alwaysfestive.com/
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Confetti Cake Cookies

Confetti Cookies Lapis Script
These clever cookies capture the flavor of birthday cake in a chewy cookie because, well, who doesn’t love a good cookie? The secret to this flavorful phenomenon lies in the mix.  We’ve incorporated equal parts of flour and cake mix to create a faux-cake cookie that will blow your mind.

fiesta confetti cake cookies

Chockfull of creamy white chocolate chips and colorful sprinkles, these buttery little cookies have the unmatched ability to coax out the inner kid in us all.  Try them out as a casual alternative to fussy birthday cakes or whip up a batch for the kiddo’s next sleepover.  These treats don’t require a special occasion to be enjoyed.

Confetti Cookie Dough

While you can certainly incorporate some semi-sweet chocolate chips into this cookie as well, we felt the white chocolate chips provided the truest birthday cake flavor.  Change up the sprinkle colors to coordinate with the season too!

Fiesta Confetti Cake Cookie Dough Balls

In order for these cookies to reach their full potential, you absolutely should let the dough chill in your fridge for at least 2 hours.  At that point, take the dough out and roll it into balls.  You can return the dough balls to the fridge for a longer rest if you desire or start baking them off.  Another tip to help these cookies turn out nice and thick is to shape them to be taller rather than completely round.

Fiesta Confetti Cake Cookies

Depending on how big you make your cookie dough rounds, you will end up with about 2 to 2.5 dozen of these tasty little treats, but be warned: they go fast!

Fiesta Confetti Cake Cookies Stack

 

Confetti Cake Cookies
Yields 24
A buttery drop cookie infused with birthday cake flavor.
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Ingredients
  1. 1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1-1/4 cup boxed vanilla cake mix (just the dry mix)
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  5. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  6. 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  7. 1 egg, at room temperature
  8. 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  9. 1 cup white chocolate chips
  10. 1/2 cup sprinkles
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cake mix, and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars together on medium speed until smooth. Add the egg and mix until combined, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and sprinkles and mix on low until they are evenly disbursed.
  3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days. If chilling longer than 2 hours, roll the cookie dough into balls at the 2-hour mark. Place the dough balls on a plate, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
  4. Once dough has been chilled, preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Scoop rounded balls of cookie dough onto the baking sheet, using about 1.5 tablespoons of cookie dough per cookie.
  5. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until edges are slightly browned. The centers will still appear soft, but the cookies will set as they cool. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
Fiesta Dinnerware, Always Festive http://alwaysfestive.com/
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A Sweet New Years Eve

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

I can’t believe it’s almost 2016? Where did this year go!?

The life cycle of the New Year’s Eve celebration began with watching Dick Clark in Times Square and counting down for the ball drop, then it was all about the party which eventually gave way to sitting up with brave kids who couldn’t quite make it to midnight. Now, we love to gather with friends, play cards, and enjoy yummy food while we ring in the New Year. Does this sound like your NYE? How do you celebrate?

This year is especially exciting since we’ll have our family home. I hope the games run past midnight and the conversation even longer. No celebration at our house would be complete without a dessert table with a treat for everyone.

hlc-new-years-table-2015-921

 

When Fiesta Dinnerware introduced Slate, I fell in love! It’s classy and timeless and incredibly adaptive. It was very easy to reach for the White and Slate with an accent of Turquoise; it’s a classic combination that works every time, the unanticipated bonus? It was so much fun creating only black and white desserts! Establishing these parameters was a terrific exercise in producing a cohesive and delicious dessert table for a new years eve.

Without a doubt, the star of this dessert table is the Three Tier Server in Turquoise, and why not? It’s gorgeous. This dramatic piece can be used in so many ways. From all three plates to just one plate or combining different colors of servers makes this piece one of my favorites.

Choosing which sweets to place on each tier, I went by size: smaller items on top and the largest desserts on the bottom. It looks good and feels like a natural choice. Coconut and almond bonbons on the top shelf are creamy and delicious. I baked the brownies and piped on cream cheese frosting then paired them with white chocolate covered pretzels. Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream and Chocolate Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream anchor the base.

The sparkly snowflake on top came from a local art supply shop; I love how it looks and compliments the piece.

hlc-new-years-2015-769

 

When I visit with friends, sometimes they tell me, they can’t make a dessert table for a party or say they just don’t have time to make all those sweets from scratch. Well, neither do I!

It’s totally acceptable to mix store bought favorites with homemade dishes. Hosting a party is more about genuinely welcoming guests and not standing in the stress of desserts.

Let’s take a look…

hlc-new-years-2015-770

I love the versatility of the Omni Serving Trays – I don’t have to present four sections if what I really need is two. Also, every component of this presentation is store bought – graham crackers, bonbons, and sandwich cookies. And each one is a favorite – that’s a win!

I wasn’t sure how the dark cookies would look in a dark tray, but it totally works. It was fun finding a bonbon wrapped in Turquoise and knew instantly it would be the star of the Omni trays.

As I shared before, popcorn balls are the hot hot hot dessert right now. A variation on that is caramel corn, but I wanted to stay with the color scheme of black and white, so what did I do?

Say hello to my Popcorn and Oreo Gooey Delight.

It was too easy. I popped about ¾ cup white popcorn kernels (I use a hot air popper) and poured onto a baking sheet (with 1” sides). It broke my heart to deliberately break 1 sleeve of cookies and scatter over the popcorn. I melted 4T of butter in a pan, added a bag of marshmallows. Working quickly, I poured the melted marshmallows over the popcorn/cookie mix and using my bare hands (coated liberally with butter – the mix is hot, give yourself permission to use a wooden spoon, wear gloves, wait a moment, etc), I stirred until I couldn’t effectively combine any longer.

Caution: Your mileage may vary, but contents are likely to disappear upon impact.

hlc-new-years-2015-780

The White Pie Plate is sitting on top of a White Bouillon Bowl – it’s a perfect way to raise something off the surface of the table to create visual balance. These two pieces go well together based on shape, size, and silhouette.

When thinking about a theme, clocks felt like a natural choice, to symbolize the passing of time. When I was visiting my BFF in Missouri, we spent the better part of a day visiting antique malls in the area. She took me to lunch and we never stopped laughing. We spotted this larger vintage clock and knew right away I need to bring it home with me. The tag was marked, “as is”, I didn’t need it to work and the price reflected its condition. Unfortunately, a clerk wound it up and it started to tick and was still ticking as I drove myself to the airport. How does this happen with a broken clock? I love my life!

If you don’t have a BFF, find one. My life partner is everything to me. And my best girlfriend tells me when my slip is showing.

hlc-new-years-2015-932

And why not add more clock faces? How about on a cake?! I love a fancy cake. Most of my layer cakes have a simple, rustic but appealing look to them. Rosettes are so lovely for special celebrations and New Year’s Eve is one such occasion.

This triple-layer Vanilla Bean Cake is filled with vanilla buttercream tinted black. Since I already had chocolate cupcakes on the table, I didn’t want to add another chocolate cake. The vanilla is crazy good and worth it to process the whole bean. And I’m in love with this cake!

The roses are made using a large open-star piping tip. I start in the center, draw the buttercream over to the 3 o’clock position, and then continue in a counter-clockwise circle until I reach the 4. Overlapping the roses just a wee bit ensures complete coverage of the crumb coat.

hlc-new-years-2015-777

 

Because things don’t always work out, my plan for Panda Cupcakes became Panda Inspired Cupcakes. I lost my panda googly eyes, which were found immediately upon completion of the photo shoot, of course. I’m sold on the look.You see pandas, right?

 

hlc-new-years-2015-952

I don’t always prepare party favors or take-home gifts, but I did this time. These little jars are stellar! There is 5.5 Tablespoons of M&Ms in each jar, which becomes the perfect snack for the bus/car/tram on the way home.

We were traveling recently and made it a point to stop in a candy store that offers every color of M&M candies. So an ombre of fun was designed.

After I got these made, I tried several different types of bows/ribbon/string – but nothing worked. I think the ombre look is bold enough and doesn’t need anything else.

How adorable is this for a wedding/shower/birthday party favor?

Go green – reuse it.

hlc-new-years-2015-786

 

All of the food – delicious! While your guests prepare their own plates, enjoy your own party. It’s a win having friends and family who like spending time together.

hlc-new-years-2015-874

How I use my Fiesta Dinnerware on a daily basis is influenced by what I’m doing – fancy or every day, the Medium Flared Vase is a staple. We have this vase on our Dining Room table almost all the time and certainly when we’re entertaining. It can anchor a dessert table without stealing limelight from the star. This vase is a workhorse and I love it.

hlc-new-years-2015-948

Celebrations mark the passing of time, seasons, change and growth. Traditions, like the NYC Times Square Ball Drop are cultural norms that bind us to a larger group. Or, family traditions like card night and ringing in the New Year cements us to our smaller, inclusive group, that says, “my people, my family”. Traditions and rituals draw us together.

When our kids started going out with friends for New Year’s Eve, I was afraid they’d make the same mistakes I had made as a young person. We’re so fortunate they haven’t done that; I’m grateful they learned from my mistakes. That’s part of change too, parenting adult kids, loving them and being present in their lives.

For now, I get to create and love and experience my little corner of the world. Time keeps on ticking…Happy New Year!

Vanilla Bean Layer Cake
A light and delicious Vanilla flavored cake
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1tsp Baking Soda
  2. 2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  3. 1tsp Salt
  4. 1 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  5. 2 2/3 Cup Cake Flower
  6. 1 Cup Vegetable Oil
  7. 1 Cup Buttermilk
  8. 2 tsp Clear Vanilla Extract
  9. 6 Egg Whites
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In medium sized mixing bowl, sift together dry ingredients; set aside.
  3. Process Vanilla Beans - add seeds to milk, stir. Add vanilla pods to milk and gently warm up to slightly warmer than room temperature. Tend carefully if in the microwave.
  4. In large mixing bowl, beat egg whites. Add sugar – beat thoroughly until smooth. Add oil and vanilla – beat on high until frothy.
  5. Alternating…add flour mix and buttermilk; set mixer to low.
  6. Divide batter among cake pans.
  7. Bake for 22-25 minutes.
  8. Cool completely. Frost with luscious Vanilla Buttercream.
Notes
  1. Note: Batter will be thin
  2. Hot Tip: This doesn't lend itself to substituting half of the oil with applesauce - some of the sparkly vanilla flavor is lost. The cake turns out wonderfully, but the flavor is diminished a wee bit.
Fiesta Dinnerware, Always Festive http://alwaysfestive.com/

 

 

 

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DIY Father’s Day Edition

Father’s Day is right around the corner, and this year, we want to show dad just how much we appreciate him. Nothing shows your dad how much you care like homemade, DIY gifts. Now, we’re not talking homemade cards that we would make in our elementary days; although, your dad probably has a pile of them stashed away to look at from time to time. We’re talking about quick and simple gifts that dads of all ages can and will enjoy, and that we enjoyed making ourselves. So, put away those markers, crayons, and construction paper, and break out the glue guns and scissors; it’s time to channel our inner ten year old and get to crafting!

The first gift that we will be making for dad is the perfect sweet treat that is sure to satisfy any chocolate craving; a bouquet of your dads favorite candy. We found that the perfect piece to display this bouquet is in our Fiesta® utensil crock, which dad can then use to store nuts and bolts in the garage. What you will need for this gift is:

-A foam ball

-A hot glue gun

-Wooden rods

-Candy bars

Bouquet SuppliesTo start, take the hot glue gun and glue the wooden rods halfway up the back of each candy bar, pressing gently to secure the rods to the wrapper.

Glue gun

Once the glue has dried and the rods are secure, place the foam ball into the Fiesta® utensil crock, and firmly press one of the glued rods into the middle of the foam ball. You may want to cut about an inch and a half off of the rods so that they sit lower in the utensil crock. Continue to place the rods into the foam, strategically surrounding the first rod, making sure to press them all the way to the bottom of the foam.

bouquet

To finish up this DIY project, fill the remaining space in your Fiesta® utensil crock with pieces of your dad’s favorite bite-sized candy. We chose white chocolate peanut butter cups and chocolate covered caramels. To add another simple touch, chose some ribbon in a pattern that complements the utensil crock, cut it to the proper length, tie it in a simple knot, and watch your dad’s eyes light up as you hand over this sweet treat.

Finished Bouquet

If your dad is more into something sweet and salty, we have just the gift for him! This simple gift can be completed in just a few short steps. What you will need for this gift is:

                -Peanuts

                -Bite-sized candies

Latte

It’s really that simple. For this gift we used our Fiesta® Latte Mug and our 16 ounce Tervis Sunny Dots Fiesta® Tumbler as containers for the peanuts and your dad’s favorite bite-sized candies. Alternating between peanuts and chocolate covered candy, pour layers of each into both the Latte Mug and tumbler.

Finished Latter

Once you have filled both to the brim, dress them up by adding a creative cutout saying “Dad’s Stache.” This gift will leave your dad snacking all day long.

Our next Father’s Day gift is one that we think would be a hit with dads everywhere: shot glasses. These are not just your run-of-the-mill shot glasses, though. We have transformed the timeless Fiesta® AD Demitasse Cup into a shot glass. Pair a few cups with your dad’s favorite liquor and you’re sure to have a winner.

Shot Glasses

Last, but certainly not least, is another gift that is an all-time favorite: a platter of your dad’s favorite cookies. For this gift we used a Fiesta® Medium Oval Platter to display our cookies. We baked the classics for our dads this Father’s Day: chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies. How can you go wrong with those? However, if these are not your dad’s favorite, feel free to substitute them for his go-to’s.

Cookies

If these gifts don’t seem to suit your dad, check out some of our Fiesta® Hacks for other gift ideas that are sure to please dad.

Happy Father’s Day!

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