St. Valentine’s Day Dinner Party
Did you know that the oldest paper valentine believed to exist is in the British Museum? It was written in 1415.
St. Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to have a dinner party where you might even ask your guests to come dressed as a famous lover! Make heart-shaped sugar containers and fill with chocolate candy as favors. These charming containers are irresistible. Rose petals create an atmosphere of utter romance. Buy three or four red roses to sprinkle fresh rose petals down the table, and don’t forget to put rose petals in the powder room too.
Another memorable Valentine’s Party is an all-chocolate evening. Encourage guests to bring their favorite chocolate dessert recipe. Begin such an evening with a glass of Bellini served in chilled champayne flutes. The pink color of Bellini, a classic Venetian wine cocktail, is perfect for this day. Since it is best served ice cold, put the bottle in your freezer thirty minutes before serving to create a very icy presentation. It was first served in Venice, Italy in 1948. It is truly a special treat that can be found in most wine shops or gourmet grocery store.
Edible Sugared Rose Petals
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons meringue powder
3 tablespoons water
To make edible sugared rose petals, use only organically grown roses, those grown with no pesticides. Each rose bud will give you about 15 petals. Pull the petals off the roses, rinse them, and dry thoroughly on paper towels.
Pour the granulated sugar into a food processor or blender and process to make super fine sugar. Place the super fine sugar in a bowl for later use. Combine the powdered sugar, meringue powder, and water. Put the mixture into a blender and beat on low speed until well mixed. Then beat on high speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes.
Dip one petal at a time into the meringue, covering both sides. Then dip the petals into the super fine sugar, sprinkling to coat both sides. Place petals on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Let them dry at room temperature for 2 hours and then turn the petals over and continue drying overnight.
Store in an airtight container with wax paper between the layers of petals. A beautiful addition to any dessert table.
Sugar Heart Container
Here’s What You Need:
* Recipe of Gum Paste
* Recipe of Royal Icing Glue
* 3-inch heart shaped cookie cuter
* 10-inch x 1-inch piece of stuff cardboard
* Elastic thread or cord (very thin)
* Silk flowers, ribbon
* Corn starch, rolling pin, sharp knife
* Waxed or aluminum foil to line baking sheets for drying
Here’s What To Do:
1. Make a recipe of gum paste and roll a small amount of the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch heart shaped cookie cutter, cut two hearts for each container. To complete the container, cut one 10-inch x 1-inch strip of dough for the sides.
2. Make two holes at the top of both hearts, using a skewer or ice pick. Save one heart as the lid. To complete the container, moisten the strip of dough with a little water and form unright around one the the heart cookies. Use little aluminum foil balls to support the sides if it sages (until it dries). Continue rolling and assembling the containers until all of the dough has been used. Let the lids and containers dry on a cookie sheet overnight, turning them once during this drying period. Do not place the lids on the containers until both are completely dry.
3. Make a recipe of Royal Icing Glue and pipe the edge of the lid and base of the container using the decorator tip of your choice. Let the icing containers dry overnight.
Royal Icing Glue
2 large egg whites
1 16-ounce box powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water
Beat egg whites and water until foamy. Add sugar and beat until fluffy with soft peaks. The recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups of icing. If icing is not stiff enough, just add a little more sugar. If too stiff, add a little water, 1 teaspoon at a time. Since it dries quickly, keep the icing covered with a damp cloth while working. Do not make too far ahead.
4. Attach the lid to the container by threading a piece of the elastic cord through the holes on the lid and then through the holes on the bottom of the container. Tie a knot on the bottom. The cord should be loose enough to let a person lift the lid to retreive the goodies and tight enough to keep the lid closed.
5. Hot glue a silk flower and ribbon bow to hide the holes and cord. Fill the containers with mints, nuts or miniature chocolates.
Gum paste is sugar dough that can be rolled thin and cut with cookie cutters. It dries very hard and looks almost like porcelain.
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 boxes powdered sugar (3 pounds)
Mix gelatin and warm water in a small bowl and let stand for five minutes. Then press mixture through a fine strainer into a large mixing bowl. Add cornstarch and beat until smooth.
Next add the sugar, one cup at a time, until smooth and sticky dough is formed. Place the dough in an airtight container or a large bowl covered with a damp cloth. When working with this dough, use only a small amount at a time. Be sure to keep the remaining dough covered at all times. It dries very quickly.
Before rolling the dough out, dust it and the work area with extra cornstarch. Gum Paste projects can be made ahead of time and stored in a covered box in a dry place.
This recipe yields about 25 three-inch round or heart-shaped containers.