Thursday, August 30, 2012

LowCountry Boil - Part 3 - Decor & Desserts

So let’s talk about this party decor...I was going for a rustic, Americana look but that kind of took on a mind of it’s own, transforming from red, white and navy to red, white and turquoise.  I thought the turquoise was much more playful.  I also brought in the burlap and craft paper color so everything wasn’t so matchy-matchy.  I thought the colors played on each other nicely.

My most labor-intensive craft was the dot-garland.  I simply picked some scrapbooking paper that had similar colors and designs, cut out a circles and glued them onto twine.  Things got complicated when I realized how many circles I was going to be cutting out, as each dot on the garland was composed of 2 circles.  Needless to say, the cramp in my hand from cutting hung around a few days. {Note to self: invest in punches next time, a la Martha Stewart}  In addition to the scrapbooking paper, I also made a garland with craft paper and newspaper. {I originally planned on covering the tables with newspaper but then I realized, with the help of my mom, that newspaper print + food probably wasn’t a good idea -- either way I loved the color that the newspaper provided in the garland.}

Next, I used some fun fonts and created tags for each of the mason jars that held the SkinnyChow Spiked Arnold Palmers and secured them to the jars with colored bakers twine that I found at Michael’s.  They were a hit along with the paper red and white straws I got on Etsy.  

I also created a Lowcountry Boil sign and a chalkboard menu on white foam board.  I love the foam board because it’s smooth and extremely sturdy.  I just painted the foam board with chalkboard paint and wrote out the menu on it.  Everyone loved it and it was so simple and cheap! {And I can use it again and again!}

On to dessert -- I didn’t get many pictures at all because it was so dark by the time I served dessert but really -- you guys have got to try these Blueberry Pie Cookies.  They are amazing and the crust part of the cookie is tender and flaky and oh-so-good!  I also served Vanilla Caramel Corn in popcorn bags I found on Etsy and my guests loved picking up a bag and snacking on it while they socialized.  

Blueberry Pie Cookies (makes 32 3-inch pies)
Pie Crust:
2 1/2 c. flour
6 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter
about 1/2 c. ice water

2 1/2 c. blueberries
1/2 c. sugar
juice and zest from 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp cornstarch

  1. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt together with a fork.
  2. Cube butter and “cut” it into the flour mixture until there are no butter bits that are bigger than a pea.  Make sure you don’t go smaller than this because you will lose flakiness.
  3. Add the ice water, a tablespoon or two at a time and use a fork to wet the flour/butter mixture.
  4. Keep adding until the dough just starts to hold together.  Don’t let the dough get too wet.
  5. Divide dough in two, cover each half with plastic wrap and fridge for a couple hours at least.  
  6. Toss blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and zest, butter and cornstarch in a medium bowl.  Set aside.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 and line the bottom of cookie sheet with parchment paper
  8. Remove one of the covered dough halves from fridge.  Divide this in half and roll out on a floured board.
  9. Using a 3-inch round cutter, cut eight circles out of pie dough.  Place these on parchment paper, evenly spaced.
  10. Spoon a small amount (5 to 6 blueberries and a little sauce) into the center or each pie circle.  
  11. Cut eight more circles out of the pie dough and place them on top of the blueberry topped bottom.  Press down the edges with fork and brush with egg yolk.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Cut small slits on top.
  12. Bake 10 to 14 minutes and cool on wire rack.  Repeat with rest of dough and berries.

Vanilla Caramel Corn
3 packages butter-flavored microwave popcorn
1 1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup
2/3 c. sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. butter, cubed
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Pop popcorn according to manufacturer’s directions.  Transfer to two very large bowls; discard any unpopped kernels.
  2. In a large heavy saucepan, combine brown sugar and corn syrup.  Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 3 minutes.  Carefully stir in milk and butter; return to a boil.
  3. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.  Pour over popcorn and toss to coat.  Spread in a single layer on a greased 15-in x 10-in x 1-in baking pans.
  4. Bake at 250 for 40 minutes, stirring once.  Remove from pans and place on waxed paper to cool.  Break into clusters and store in airtight containers.

All in all, I think my first Lowcountry Boil was a success. If I could do anything different next time, I’d get a bigger pot to do the boil in and I would definitely do the boil over an open flame to be more authentic.  Hopefully next year!

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