I'm frequently asked, what are your "Entertaining Essentials?" Truthfully, I seem to use the same staples over and over and try to reinterpret them different ways. So, my Entertaining Pantry is really quite edited and simple, but there are some items that I have come to depend on... all of which I put together for you in my new Everyday Occasions store. Here are some of my favorites you can find there that I can't entertain without - some of the items are pictured in this photo of Hydrangea Cupcakes :
large brown cupcake liners... that still fit into a standard cupcake pan
- these celebration candles (also in my favorite "seaside" blue) make any simple look fabulous for a special occasion
- pre-cut parchment papers that are non-stick and I can just throw away and I don't have to scrub the pan... they also work great for wrapping up baked goods
- hemstitch cocktail napkins... they are so classic, especially with a "seaside" blue monogram
- every size of cellophane bags... for wrapping cookies, gifts, muffins, scones....
To find more of my Entertaining Essentials, stop by my store of specially selected favorites.
Another sort of "Entertaining Essentials" I have is a collection of go-to entertaining recipes. Crowd pleasers. When I first started my catering business I wrote all of my favorite recipes in a little blue journal book so I'd have them with me all of the time. Over the years I've shared a couple of recipes from this little journal, but not all. Truthfully, when I started this blog (forever ago...?) I was a burnt out on all of those recipes I'd made hundreds of times.
Now, after a two year break from the catering business, I am ready to dive back in to some of those old favorites, because after all, they were really great recipes for entertaining. This Chocolate Molten Cake recipe was one of my first and best go-to's as a caterer. I always served it at dinner parties - with great success. The ingredients and supplies are humble - chocolate chips and a cupcake pan! They work great for parties because the batter is made in advance, then baked right before dessert and served warm.
2 tablespoons of butter, melted
2 tablespoons of cocoa
3/4 cup of butter
12 ounce of chocolate chips
1/2 cup of heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup of flour
Prepare cupcake pans by coating the inside of each with melted butter by swirling it around. Then sprinkle the insides with cocoa, coating completely.
To make the batter, place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, then top it with butter and cream. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is smooth. When chocolate has cooled slightly, stir in eggs, sugar and flour. Pour into prepared cupcake pans. Refrigerate for 1 hour (at least) and up to a couple of days.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes for regular 12/pan size and 15-18 for jumbo 6/pan size, just until the outsides and most of the top have set, and the centers are still slightly runny. You can insert the tip of a knife to test. You just want a bit of the very center to be a thick pudding like texture. Let them cool for 5 minutes, then place a sheet pan on top of the muffin pan and invert them.
Serve with whipped cream, ice cream and dusted with chocolate or cinnamon.
Melting chocolate with the butter and cream this way is so easy - microwave!
The pans buttered and cocoa-ed while the chocolate is in the microwave.
You can fill them almost all the way to the top - they don't puff too much.
Cooling for 5 minutes to help them continue to set.
Top with a sheet pan...
Ready for the flip...
So, so good. You really must try them.
10 seconds later...