Design to Dish: Halloween Chocolate Sugar Cookies

chocolate sugar cookie cut outs halloween party ideas

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays—I love how the weather is a little cooler, the sky a little darker and moodier, the food comforting and cozy. Some people really go all in for creepy, gory Halloween stuff, but I prefer my Halloween whimsical, charming, and old-fashioned, and I love the idea of throwing a really wonderful, timeless Halloween party for friends and neighbors. My party would be full of pumpkins and treats, hay bales and cornstalks, and massive amounts of festive fall fun!

Ever since I was little, I’ve loved decorating sugar cookies (and eating them!). My kids love them too. It’s a great way to get in the spirit of whatever holiday is coming up. If you give the cookies a chocolate twist, they are even more perfect for Halloween! Chocolate sugar cookies cut out in fun Halloween shapes would be a great party favor for a Halloween or harvest party, or a fun party-time activity! Keep reading for the recipe…

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Creepy Halloween Cocktails (Part Two): Swamp Swill Martini

halloween dirty martini with cockroach olive garnish by kelli hallWith Gin, Olive Brine, and an Edible Palmetto Bug

For the second Halloween cocktail in our three-part series (the previous drink was The Black Heart, a dark and mysterious concoction made with figs), I created this cocktail to celebrate fall in the Carolinas. In the swampy South, October is the time of year when the creepiest creatures emerge from their hiding places—including the icky Palmetto Bug (a.k.a. the hugest cockroach you’ll ever see and the unofficial South Carolina state bird since it also has wings, eeeek!). This Palmetto Bug, however, is made for chomping: He’s fully edible, with a black-olive body and chive antennae (sprayed with black food coloring). The cocktail is essentially a dirty martini with a nice, salty flavor to suggest swamp water and fresh herbs floating around to add a bit of murkiness.

Keep reading for the cocktail recipe…

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Recipe: Pumpkin Chai Latte

By Ashley of  Sugar & Cloth

The start of fall really only means one thing: pumpkin spice lattes. Since we all know and love them, I figured I would combine them with one of my other current faves, chai, to make a perfectly fall concoction with this pumpkin chai latte recipe!

You only need a few ingredients and it’s as quick and easy as your favorite hot chocolate recipe…

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Creepy Halloween Cocktails (Part One): The Black Heart

storybook menu styled for halloween cocktailsHands down, Halloween is my favorite holiday. And there’s no better way to celebrate than toasting the season with some spooky concoctions. I’ve created three potent potions that I’ll be serving up to my guests this Halloween—each recipe is super simple, has plenty of creep factor, and is made using basic ingredients you may already have in your bar or fridge. I’ll be sharing the three Halloween cocktails in the next few weeks—first up, let me introduce you to the “Black Heart.”

Setting the scene is key for any Halloween soirée, and spooky details are my favorite place to start. Serving cocktails on their own is perfectly fine, but I always rely on a menu design to help tell a story and set the mood. I love how Jody Worthington’s Storybook menu looks like a page that’s been pulled from a book of spells—it’s the perfect piece to conjure up some cocktail magic.

Black vodka and fig cocktail by kelli hallWith Black Vodka, Fig Vodka, and Creme de Cassis

Keep reading for the cocktail recipe…

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Design to Dish: Pink & Blue Oreo Pops

Written by Melissa of Lulu the Baker

boy or girl gender reveal baby shower party ideas recipes

Gender-reveal baby parties are all the rage these days! If you haven’t thrown one for a pregnant friend or had one thrown for you, then chances are you’ve probably attended one recently. Between the cute pink-and-blue decorations and the big-reveal moment, these parties—where you share whether you’re having a boy or girl with your friends and family—are tons of fun! Minted has lots of cute gender-reveal baby shower invitations, and I rounded up some really darling pink-and-blue party ideas to go with them. Balloons, confetti, cakes, flowers, and of course, treats galore—all in shades of pink and blue!

I started making Oreo pops a few years ago and couldn’t believe how easy and delicious they were! I made them to give away free with purchases at a pop-up shop I was participating in, and customers started coming by specifically to buy Oreo pops—they wound up becoming my most popular item! They’re just Oreos on a stick that’s dipped in candy melts, but somehow those humble ingredients come together to make a really adorable, gourmet treat. The combination of pink and blue Oreo pops looks especially cute together, and would go perfectly on a dessert table or as party favors at a pink-and-blue baby shower! Keep reading for the recipe…

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Recipe: Cucumber-Rosemary Gin and Tonic

Please welcome the lovely Brandy Brown of  Marabou Design, a longtime Minted community member and our newest contributor to Julep! Brandy, who lives in Seattle, will be sharing her favorite recipes, DIY projects, and styling ideas. Welcome, Brandy! 

A delicious cocktail begins and ends with its ingredients, which is why I always recommend quality over quantity. This new spin on a classic gin and tonic combines rosemary sprigs hand-picked from my garden and locally grown cucumbers—the flavors capture the Northwest in a glass! This cocktail is herbal, refreshing, and effortlessly chic, making it the perfect beverage to enjoy all year-round. Get the recipe after the jump…

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Design to Dish: The Best Red-Velvet Cupcakes

By Melissa of  Lulu the Baker

birthday party bridal shower girls night out theme

While I was browsing Minted a few months ago, I found this darling invitation for something called a “Red Velvet Revelry.” I love the idea of building a whole party around such a rich, decadent dessert! Everything about red-velvet cake is show-stopping, from the deep color to the delicious, tangy flavor. It’s the perfect centerpiece for a luxe birthday party, bridal shower, or girls’ night out, and it’s a great party theme that works any time of year.

After having a few not-so-stellar red-velvet cake experiences, I just didn’t see what all the fuss was about. The cakes and cupcakes I ate were always dry and a little lacking in flavor. Then, I found a recipe for red-velvet cake that was tangy and rich, with subtle chocolate and buttermilk flavors, and everything changed! The cake baked up light and fluffy and moist—it changed my mind forever about red velvet cake! I’ve modified the recipe a little over the years and now have a go-to red-velvet cupcake recipe that is always a big hit! Read on for the recipe…

Links:
1. Red Velvet Revelry Invitations from Minted
2. Chocolate-Covered Strawberries from The Savage Feast
3. Gorgeous red and pink flowers via Style Me Pretty
4. Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe below
5. Red and pink balloons via Snippet & Ink
6. Red Velvet Revelry party decor suite from Minted

red velvet birthday party bridal shower girls night out theme

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott

For the cupcakes:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

For the frosting:
1 brick cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
a pinch of salt
cream or half-and-half

Line 30 cupcake tins with paper liners. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt, and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until combined. In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder and food coloring, and beat the mixture into the main bowl. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, beating until just incorporated, then add 1/2 of the buttermilk, again beating until just incorporated. Repeat until all of the flour and buttermilk have been added. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar, then fold the mixture into the main bowl. Divide the batter evenly among all of the baking cups (I use my ice cream scoop!). Bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt, and beat until smooth. Beat in cream or half-and-half as necessary to reach desired consistency. When the cupcakes are completely cool, frost them. You can either pipe on a thin layer of frosting, or spread it on with a frosting spreader.

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Halloween Puppy Chow Recipe

By Ashley of  Sugar & Cloth

Oh yes, the beloved puppy-chow snack we all know and love gets a ghoulish twist in my monster-themed version! The kids will flip for this stuff, especially since this spooky version has Jack-o-Lantern and bone sprinkles mixed right in…

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Homemade Caramel Sauce

Written by Melissa Fenlon & Sara Albers

By Melissa & Sara of  Alice & Lois

September is a favorite of ours—from the crisp, cool weather to the cozy fall wardrobe to the seasonal harvest. When we were kids, we would go apple picking with our family and we loved coming home with a mound of apples, fresh apple cider, and tasty caramel apples. A jar of homemade caramel sauce is the perfect hostess gift for a fall gathering—read more for our caramel sauce recipe and tips!

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