I’m pathetically behind on posting the rest of the party foods from my granddaughter Bella’s 6th birthday party. I plead heat (it was in August) and a busy month. Ok two busy months. Most of the finger foods I served didn’t have recipes. They were fun food ideas I’d picked up here and there and on Pinterest. Pinterest is SO excellent for kids’ party ideas!
One of the biggest hits was our miniature hot dogs. I took King Hawaiian buns, cut them in half vertically, then almost in half again. They looked like hot dog buns laid on the side. I had my P.S. (Party Supplier/hubby) pick up cocktail weenies and I heated them in a saucepan of water, then tucked them into the “buns”. I put squeeze containers of ketchup and mustard next to them on the buffet table and the devouring began.
Actually I was really impressed with the taste of the weenies. I’d always served them in Western dressing in a crockpot at Christmas, and hadn’t realized they had wonderful flavors on their own! I might rethink having to “cocktail” the weenies every year. But hotdogs for Christmas seems wrong, even in their miniature cuteness.
Another finger food was krab salad in wonton cups. I’d always wanted to make wonton cups and this was a good time. The family loves krab salad; I’ve covered that in a post before. The cups were fairly simple to make.
I took each wonton wrapper and used a cookie cutter (vintage Tupperware!) and cut out a flower shape. After spraying them with cooking oil I tucked them into mini muffin cups.
I baked them in a 350°F oven until they were beginning to brown on the edges, then let them cool on the tins.
When they were cooled I did a second batch, then later a third batch. They were fun to make!
At the party, at the last minute, I scooped the krab salad into the cups and they were crisp and tasty. I can now say I’ve made wonton cups in mini muffin tins. It’s crossed off my bucket list.
Another fun food idea I’d wanted to try was to take miniature potatoes and make them twice-baked. I’d originally thought it would be fun to make potato salad and put in the hollowed out skins, but scrapped that idea when I decided to do cold krab salad wonton cups. Warm potatoes would be a different slant.
I roasted the potatoes until they were just done, then let them cool until I could comfortably handle them with my hands.
I scooped out the centers of the potatoes after I’d halved them all.
Mixing sour cream, shredded cheddar, salt and pepper with the scooped out potatoes with a potato masher, I then refilled them, sprinkled with more cheddar, and put them in the oven to stay warm until serving.
Unfortunately I photographed all of the steps except the final one, when they were stuffed and heated! One of those blogger moments when you realize you had too many things going on at once to remember the photo. You’ll have to imagine the bites of goodness that really were fun to eat even on a warm day. I think it made twice baked potatoes even more flavorful because they were small bites.
A finger food that was kid-tailored was the tomato soup in miniature glasses (note I didn’t say “shot glasses”- that would be wrong), with a plank of grilled cheese over them. That idea was based on my kids’ favorite foods for lunch, made simple and fun. I actually used tomato soup I’d previously made and frozen and warmed it in a pitcher for pouring into colorful little plastic (shot) glasses I’d bought on Amazon for my Christmas buffets.
The grilled cheese was made out of potato bread from my P.S. and I used American cheese, the kind in slices that we loved as kids. I still love that kind best, I’ll admit it. After I grilled the sandwiches whole, I cut them into slices of 4 and balanced them over the top of the soup glasses. It was like a Barbie portion. They were well-liked, of course!
The last finger food I wanted to discuss was a cute idea but it was tougher than it looked. I saw a picture of skewered mini meatballs, wrapped with cooked spaghetti, topped with a black olive and sitting in cups in a red sauce. Spaghetti and meatballs on a stick! Pasta finger food! Neat idea!
As my sister, Linda, growled at me, it wasn’t as easy as it sounded. The pasta stuck to everything like glue and was hard to wrap and… it wasn’t as cute an outcome as that picture I’d seen. But it was totally delicious.
I’d made my ricotta meatballs, in a smaller size, ahead of time. Then I’d made my usual tomato basil sauce. I made spaghetti the day of the party and rinsed it, which usually keeps it from sticking.
I think the heat in the kitchen made the pasta sticky again and I wasn’t there to suggest they rinse it again as they assembled the skewers. I was setting up the other foods outside on the buffet.
Eventually Linda got the skewers all wound with pasta and placed them in the white paper cups. We set the pitcher of sauce next to them on the buffet and let them pour their own. I’d probably not do that again, it was messy. The sauce should have gone in the cups before the meatball skewers. Note to self. Or not. I probably won’t make them again. So many fun foods to try, so little time.
The cake itself I saved for last. I’d seen the Kit Kat cakes that looked like barrels with candy inside them all over the internet. Usually they had M & Ms or jelly beans in them. I thought that was too much sugar and that mini Oreo cookies would be better. Duh. Probably equal in the sugar department, but I liked the look of a barrel of mini Oreos!
What I wanted to do, and didn’t have the time, was to dip each mini Oreo in melted white candy coating tinted pink. I even bought the right pink food coloring so the coating wouldn’t seize up. Well, now I have it for another time, because I didn’t use it. Sigh. The cake would have been just adorable with pink cookies tucked in the barrel for a girl birthday! But she’s a chocolate fan and it was just as good the pink-less way.
I wasn’t sure if the kids would like strawberry cake, and I wanted a pink cake so I used a yellow cake mix (my personal favorite) and added pink food coloring. I made one layer by placing the round layer pan on waxed paper, drawing a circle around it, then cutting it to fit inside the pan. No spray is needed.
I filled the cake pan with the whole cake batter mixture. I baked it just until the toothpick tested dry. I used to make and decorate cakes so I’m fairly good at producing a nice, moist cake. Timing is THE only secret to a good cake. Never cook it as long as the box says. They’re wrong. The toothpick knows.
I let the cake cool for about an hour, then used a knife to loosen around the inside of the pan. I placed a plate on top of the cake and turned it upside down. It came out beautifully. I peeled the waxed paper off the top and it was ready to frost. My cake had a slight bulge on top (belly) but turning the cake upside down, nobody knew!
I used container frosting, I blush to admit. My former cake-decorating self is ashamed; I can make some pretty good frostings, when I have time. I didn’t. Canned frosting came to my rescue. I used about 2/3 of a container of chocolate frosting around the outside of the layer cake. Being pretty wasn’t really necessary; it was going to be completely covered with Kit Kat bars anyway. I just made sure it was nice and thick.
Then I’d planned on pink frosting for the top, and bought a container of strawberry frosting. I wouldn’t have needed to do that since I’d abandoned the pink coated cookies, but I had bought it and wanted to use it up. I spread a thick coating on top, again not worrying about edges because it too would soon be completely covered.
I’d bought 2 packages of full sized Kit Kat bars, and first realized they were too tall for my one layer cake. I simply took a sharp knife and cut them all down to the same size. I just wanted them about 1 1/2” taller than the top of the cake. And then I ran out. Drat. I needed about 8 more pieces. My P.S. ran to the store and got more, and saved the day. Barrel cake was assembled.
Next I sent P.S. up to my hobby drawers for ribbon. I said “choose any shade of pink ribbon, it doesn’t matter”. He brought down 3. Must be a man thing? I chose the shade closest to the frosting color, which didn’t matter because the frosting would soon be completely covered. I tied the ribbon around the barrel, emptied the bags of mini Oreo cookies on top, and the cake was done!
Decorating the cake took less time altogether than it did to write this blog! The kids were in awe, excited about: 1) Candy! 2) Cookies! 3) Cake! Isn’t that the best of all kids’ worlds? Cutting into it later was a nightmare, however. It didn’t reach the plates looking so pretty in some cases. But oh well, it was all going to be chewed anyway, as Grandpa P.S. reasoned. With Oreos rolling all over and Kit Kats going askew, it was a chocolate avalanche. Totally tasty though!