Fun-sized food: Bitsy bites perfect for partiesLOS ANGELES – At 1-by-1½ inches with a dozen sprinkles decorating its rectangular dab of icing, the only word worthy of describing the homemade mini pop tart is “cute.”
By: Anna G. Larson, INFORUM
LOS ANGELES – At 1-by-1½ inches with a dozen sprinkles decorating its rectangular dab of icing, the only word worthy of describing the homemade mini pop tart is “cute.”
“I still smile when I see mini foods; they’re precious and very cute,” said Jenny Park, who co-authored “Tiny Food Party!” with photographer Teri Lyn Fisher.
People are undoubtedly already planning holiday party eats, and mini foods just happen to be party perfect, Park said.
“It encourages people to be up and mingling,” she said. “They’re really a conversation piece.”
Tiny fried tacos, pint-size chicken ’n’ waffles, mini Philly cheesesteak sandwiches and petite cinnamon sugar palmiers perfectly resemble their full-size counterparts.
Two of her favorites are the Mini Philly Cheesesteak and Mini Bahn Mi Sandwiches (a Vietnamese hoagie).
In addition to recipes for the savory and sweet minis, the authors included some of their favorite darling drinks to pair with the mini foods. Bitty Ginger-Mint Lemonades combine fresh ginger, bourbon, lemon juice and mint in a half-size tumbler (a juice glass will do). Coffee liqueur, vanilla vodka, cream, coffee extract and cinnamon marry in a honey-crumbled coffeecake-rimmed glass to make Little Coffeecake Cocktails. The Itty-Bitty Bloody Marys, one of Park’s top picks, are more than just a drink, she said.
“It’s a snack and a drink, all in one,” she said.
Park thinks Midwesterners might particularly enjoy the Fudge Puppies – a traditional fair food gone bite-size. Mini waffles (from the frozen food section of a grocery store, or made with a mini waffle maker) are dipped in melted chocolate and rolled in chopped banana chips. The sweet snack is served with a side of freshly whipped sweet cream.
“They’re really fun, and really easy,” she said.
Sample menus for different types of parties (breakfast parties, fair food parties, etc.) are included in the book to make hosting a shindig a snap.
“We love hosting parties, and mini drinks and foods are the best way to ensure a good time,” Park said.
No matter which mini or regular-size foods people make, they should always keep two things in mind, Park said.
“Have a little fun in the kitchen,” she said. “Be creative.”
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Bite-Size Caprese Skewers
24 grape tomatoes
24 small mozzarella balls (I found mozzarella pearls at the grocery store. No cutting required.)
3 sprigs basil
24 cocktail picks (I used bamboo cocktail picks from Target’s paper products area.)
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1. For the glaze, place balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the mixture reduces by half and thickens slightly. Let cool. The glaze continues to thicken as it cools.
2. Using a sharp knife, cut tomatoes in half and mozzarella balls in thirds if using mozzarella balls. Sandwich a slice of mozzarella and a basil leaf between each tomato half. Skewer with a cocktail pick, drizzle with glaze, and serve.
Mini Homemade Pop Tarts
Note from Anna: These petite pop tarts take time. Make the filling ahead of time so it can cool. Use store-bought dough to save time. Store-bought, pre-rolled dough is tremendously easier to work with, too.
Don’t put too much frosting on the tarts – royal icing tends to be overly sweet.
Homemade pie dough or store-bought pie dough
1 cup hulled and chopped strawberries
½ cup blueberries
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup heavy cream
1 egg white
1¼ cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine strawberries, blueberries, sugar and honey with 3 tablespoons of water in a medium pot over medium heat. Stir. Gently mash berries with the back of a wooden spoon and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until filling has thickened. Let cool.
3. Cut chilled dough into four equal pieces. Roll two pieces into equal rectangles, about 3-by-8 inches. Fill a piping bag with the fruit filling and pipe rows of it on the dough about ½ inch apart.
4. Whisk together the egg and heavy cream to make the egg wash. Using a pastry brush, carefully brush egg wash onto dough between rows of filling. Gently lay the second dough rectangle over the first one and press around each filling mound. Cut 1-by-1½ inch rectangles with a pizza cutter (for 12 total tarts) and press the back of a fork along the edges to seal. Place tarts on baking sheet and brush with cream. Cut three tiny slits in the top of each tart. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes (watch closely), or until golden brown. Place on wire racks to cool completely. Repeat the process with the remaining slabs of dough and filling.
5. For the icing, in a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg white on medium-high speed for two minutes, or until light and frothy. Add powdered sugar, ¼ cup at a time, until mixture is thick and smooth. Add vanilla and beat for one more minute. Spread icing onto pastries with an offset spatula and top with sprinkles.