Tag Archives: holidays

Handmade Charlotte & The Great Pumpkin Layer Cake

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As many of you know, I love a great fall party. When I asked creative guru Rachel Faucett of Handmade Charlotte if I could document her fall themed soiree for Atlanta Magazine’s HOME, she quickly said of course, and we were off and running. Creating a fall party can be fun and mostly easy peasy. Here is one of my favorite recipes from the party:

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The Great Pumpkin Layer Cake
Serves 12

For the cake, you will need: 

– 3 cups all-purpose flour
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
– 2 teaspoons ground ginger
– 1 3/4 teaspoons ground allspice
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1 1/2 cups sugar
– 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
– 1 cup canola oil
– 4 large eggs
– 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
– 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
– 1 tablespoon grated orange peel

Note: 2 fluted bundt pans.

To prepare the cake:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter bundt pans; Butter and dust pans with flour. Sift 3 cups flour and next 7 ingredients into medium bowl. In the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat both sugars and oil until combined (mixture will look grainy). Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and orange peel; beat until well blended. Add flour mixture; beat just until incorporatedDivide batter between prepared pans. Smooth tops.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool cakes completely in pans on rack. Run knife around cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto racks, then turn cakes over on to a platter.

For the frosting, you will need:

– 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
– 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
– 1 tablespoon dark rum
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
– 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

To prepare the frosting: 

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in dark rum and vanilla. Add powdered sugar in 3 additions, beating just until frosting is smooth after each addition (do not overbeat or frosting may become too soft to spread).

For the chocolate icing, you will need:

– 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
– ½ cup cream

To prepare the chocolate icing:

In a small sauce pan heat chips and cream whisk until smooth.

To assemble the cake: 

Place 1 pumpkin cake layer, rounded side down, on platter. Spread the of cream cheese frosting over top of cake to edges. Top with second pumpkin half. Drizzle with Chocolate icing using a fork in a zig zag splatter pattern.

  • Note – Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.

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For the full feature Atlanta Magazine’s HOME  is on newstands now.

Photos: Raftermen

 

 

 

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Father’s Day Gift Guide

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web-manager and friend. Today, I’m bringing you an epic Father’s Day gift guide. One of the things that I hear time and time again is how difficult it is to buy gifts for men. Since Father’s Day is right around the corner, I thought I’d help you guys out. Here are just a few fabulous gifts for the dad, dad-to-be, or granddad in your life:

Today, I'm bringing you an epic Father's Day gift guide. Here are just a few fabulous gifts for the dad, dad-to-be, or granddad in your life.

1. The August Diet Print: Old Try is one of my favorite under-the-radar places to find unique prints. This one, an homage to The Masters at August National, is sure to keep a smile on Dad’s face.

2. Sid Mashburn Low Top Slip-Ons: Slip-ons are essentially synonymous with summer. These from Sid Mashburn are a great price point and are so stylish.

3. Men and Style: Speaking of style, if you’re gifting something to the stylish man in your life, look no further than Men and Style which covers history of men’s style through essays and interviews.

4. Wood Coasters: Give your dapper dad these wooden plaid coasters for his man cave. They come as a set of 12 which means there’s enough to go around at the poker table.

5. Crosley Turn Table: If your dad has a collection of old records collecting dust somewhere, this turn-table is exactly what he needs. Give those dusty records their groove back!

xo, Nicole

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Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web-manager and friend here again bringing you your last minute Mother’s Day gift guide for any last minute shopping. Just in case you’ve forgotten, Mother’s Day is this Sunday, but with quick shipping, there’s still time to get her something special.

When it comes to shopping this week, think about places you can either pick-up a gift (I love the “pick-up in store” options so many places have now), or have shipped to you (or mom!) quickly. And of course, you can’t go wrong with flowers!

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1. This/That & Bits/Bobs pouches: Anthropologie always has such a great selection of little gifts and things. These pouches would be perfect for traveling abroad to collect loose change and foreign currency.

2. Photography Workshop: What mom wouldn’t love a trip of a lifetime to learn how to use her camera and explore Italy at the same time? Go in with your siblings (and maybe your dad, too) to gift mom one of Annette’s style+photo workshops!

3. Copper Tea Kettle: There’s something about sipping hot tea in the spring and summer that’s so refreshing. This copper tea kettle is gorgeous and can be kept out on the stove for extra kitchen pizzazz.

4. Pool House Candle: Candles are fun to gift because they’re something people rarely buy for themselves. These Lafco candles are large, so they make a great piece for a coffee table, but their size also means they burn for 90 hours!

5. Polish Set + Mani/Pedi Date: Give mom a mani/pedi with you along with a stunning collection of summer polishes to keep her toes beach ready all season.

6. Straw hat: A wide brim straw hat is perfect for the mom who loves to be outdoors. She can use it in her garden, at the beach, or anywhere else she’d like!

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms and moms-to-be out there!

xo, Nicole

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Spring Recipes for a Crowd- Passover or Easter

Our family celebrates the holiday of Passover which is on Monday April 10th. Passover has a very specific menu. We are not allowed to eat leavened bread, we eat Matzoh. The story of Passover is an interesting one, and one that we recall at our dinner table on the night of Passover. Here’s a great dessert to make for your gathering this year… and it involves chocolate!

PotsDeCreme

Salted Chocolate Pots de Crème
Serves 6-8

You will need:
1 ½ cup whole milk
– 1/2 cup whipping cream
– 5 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
– 1 teaspoon sea salt, or flake salt
– 6 large egg yolks
– 1/3 cup sugar
– 1 cup whipped cream for topping

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Bring milk and cream just to simmer in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and salt; whisk until melted and smooth. Whisk yolks and sugar in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in hot chocolate mixture. Strain mixture into another bowl. Cool 10 minutes, skimming any foam from surface.

Divide custard mixture among six 3/4-cup custard cups or soufflé dishes. Cover each with foil. Place cups in large baking pan. Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of cups. Bake until custards are set but centers still move slightly when gently shaken, about 55 minutes. Remove from water. Remove foil. Chill custards until cold, about 3 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.) Top with whip cream, and serve.

Photo by Sarah Dorio

Styled by Moi

One of my favorite entertaining stories was for Atlanta Magazine’s Home. It was a Greek Easter party thrown by good friends every year, a party we always look forward to. Greek tradition calls for this sweet bread which makes a lovely and festive presentation. Imagine taking it somewhere for your Easter feast. Get all the recipes and the full feature here.

Passover begins on Monday and last through the following Monday (the day after Easter), and I have two great spring recipes for a crowd to share with you.

TSOUREKI (Easter Sweet Bread)
Serves 4 loaves

You will need:

– 7 cups Flour
– 3 quick rise yeast packets
– ½ cup warm water
– 1¾ cup sugar
– ½ teaspoon salt
– 1 Tablespoon mahlepi
– 1 teaspoon mastic
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 2 teaspoon lemon & orange zest (mixed)
– 5 eggs (room temperature)
– ½ cup hot milk
– 1 cup melted butter

Note : All ingredients should be warm or at the very least room temperature to help the dough rise faster.

Egg Wash for bread:
– 1 egg
– a few drops of vanilla
– 1 Tablespoon water
– ½ cup of sliced almonds

To Prepare:

  1. Mix warm water and yeast, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl put flour, make a whole with your hands in the center of the flour to put the sugar, zest, salt, spices and mix that your hands. Add hot milk and mix again with your hands. Once the dough is incorporated add eggs, one at a time, and mix well. Then add the yeast water mixture, your dough should be stringy when pulled apart.
  3. Next pour melted butter into the bowl one handful at a time and fold the dough (do not knead the dough). Pull and fold and pour in melted butter, repeat until you’ve used all the butter. Don’t worry if you see butter puddle around the edges, it will absorb as the dough rises.
  4. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap that it tucked down inside the bowl touching the dough. Then wrap the entire bowl in towels and place in a warm place for the dough to rise for about 2 hours. Once dough has risen, separate into 4 equal parts. Then separate each of the four parts into three pieces and roll the dough with your hands into approximately 14 inch long and about finger thickness.
  5. Braid the three long cylinder pieces just like you would braid hair. You will have 4 braids.
  6. Place each braid in a 12” round pan that has been lined with parchment paper and cover with towel, place in a warm spot for 30-45 minutes for dough to rise again.
  7. Once each of the braids have risen, prepare the egg wash. Beat the egg with water and vanilla then brush each of the braids, this will give the bread a beautiful shine.
  8. Place pans into a preheated 350° oven (2 at a time) and bake for 30 minutes. Keep an eye on the dough, if you see it getting too brown, cover with foil until baked through.
  9. Once bread has cooled, cut out the center and place a hard boiled egg that has been dyed red sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Photo by: PATRICK HEAGNEY

Styled by Moi

xx Annette

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8 Valentine’s Day Cocktails: My Favorite Sexy Sips

 

I'm a girl who loves a great cocktail, and Valentine's Day cocktails are so much fun. Here's a round-up of some of my best sexy sips from over the years!

As you well know, I’m a girl who loves a great cocktail, and Valentine’s Day cocktails are so much fun. Over the years, I’ve prepared many drinks inspired by Valentine’s Day, especially since the holiday is one of my favorites.

Today, I wanted to bring you a round-up of some of my best sexy sips from over the years. All of these are perfect for celebrating with someone you love. Grab two glasses, a few ingredients from your bar, and get to mixing. You could even make a plan to make several of these cocktails and have your own little mixology class right at home. Sounds like a great date night to me!

Get the recipes for Valentine’s Day cocktails: 

Big Read Lips // Grapefruit Pomegranate Mimosa // Negroni // In the Pink // Lust and Loving in Las Vegas // Fiore // That’s Amore // You Make Me Blush

Happy Valentine’s Day weekend!

xx, Annette

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