Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mad Hatters Tea Party

I was recently asked by a friend from work to do some baking for a hens party. The theme was Alice in Wonderland. I love this theme because I can create scrumptious treats and add a little bit of quirkiness to them.

I immediately did some online research into what might be fun for a tea party and found the most beautiful ideas (I also came across the most awesome decorations, but that's an interest for another day). In the end, I went for a collection of six treats.

My first idea was jam tarts. Little jam tarts make me think of a proper English tea party. The crumbly buttery tart shells filled with delightfully sweet raspberry jam is the perfect sweet. I followed these with some mini carrot cakes with cream cheese icing, as I thought the illusion of something healthy would be good. 

I then wanted to add a bit of fun, so looked into marshmallows. A previous post on this blog was my marshmallow cookies with an amazing soft marshmallow filling. Making my own marshmallow for this recipe was a revelation. I had never enjoyed store-bought marshmallow before, but homemade marshmallow is so different. It's smooth and less sickly sweet. I found a simple recipe for marshmallow and decided to go with that for my marshmallow cones. I had to make three batches to get enough for the party, but they turned out beautiful with a slight glossy top.

Upon request, I also made my cupcakes. My friend from work has eaten these on multiple occasions. The recipe I use is from the Hummingbird Bakery, and is definitely the best cupcake recipe I have come across. I piped the icing onto the cupcakes in little spikes and made little "Eat me" signs. 

My final elements to the menu were some white chocolate and coconut heart biscuits and chocolate dipped strawberries. I don't think the hen or any of her guests were left hungry.

Because I was so taken with my marshmallow cones, I thought I'd share the recipe. ENJOY

Pink Marshmallow Cones
(Adapted from Frankie Magazine's Sweet Treats)

1 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp gelatine powder
2/3 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
red food colouring
flat bottomed ice-cream cones

Pour sugar, gelatine and water into a medium saucepan and stir until dissolved. Pop on low heat and boil for 10 minutes without stirring. Take pan off heat and let it settle for 10 minutes.

Add vanilla and one drop of red food colouring (be very careful to only add one drop of food colouring). Using an electric beater, mix on high for about 5 or 10 minutes - until it is thick and creamy.

Spoon the thick marshmallow into a piping bag and pipe into ice-cream cones. Leave at room temperature to set for about an hour. Before set, feel free to decorate with a sweet candy rose or hundreds and thousands.

Top three images by Inga Tracey.

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