Roll Out the Barrel: Oktoberfest Party

Oktoberfest Party: Photo Booth

It was one of my best friends birthday recently so we decided to throw her a birthday party with an Oktoberfest theme. Whats not to like, beer, costumes, and German food.

To start I decorated with some beer and fall things I had around the house, empty bottles, beer steins, burlap runner, dried wheat and fall leaves. I also bought a blue and white harlequin tablecloth ( the official Oktoberfest pattern) from a party store and hung it over a curtain rod in my family room to make a back drop for a ” photo booth”. I had props like steins, lederhosen, German signs and Oktoberfest bibs from the party store. I set my camera on a tripod in front of it and tried to get shots of all the party goers.

I am also very lucky that I have some home brewing friends who made a keg of beer especially for our party, delicious!  But this is a great time to taste some of the fall varieties of craft beers like Oktoberfests and Pumpkins.

For appetizers I set up a “Pretzel Stand” I had assorted flavors, shapes and sizes of pretzels and dips to go with them. I even made some homemade Pretzel Bites by following this recipe. http://www.snixykitchen.com/2012/10/24/pretzel-bites-with-four-distinct-dipping-sauces/. I made the dough a day ahead of time and covered it tightly with plastic wrap. then boiled and baked the pretzels the next day. I also found that I needed to add about 3/4 c more flour than the recipe called for to get the dough to be the right consistency but I live in Florida and baking here can be weird.

Oktoberfest Party: Homemade Pretzel Bites

Oktoberfest Party: Pretzel Stand

For dips I made a Sweet and Spicy Mustard Sauce

1 c mayonnaise

3/4 c coarse mustard

2 T  jarred grated horseradish

2 T honey

Oktoberfest Party: Sweet and Spicy Mustard

a Chocolate and Toffee Dip

1 brick cream cheese softened

1/2 c brown sugar

1/4 c white sugar

1/4 c cocoa powder

1/2 c toffee chips (Heath)

1 t vanilla

Mix all ingredients together in a mixer on low until combined.

Oktoberfest Party: Chocolate and Toffee Dip

I also made Beer Cheese Dip using an Oktoberfest Beer instead of an IPA.

To make all of the food seem more festive I labeled them with German names on the tables.

For the main course we had Brats braised in Beer, Rouladen, Oma’s Potato Salad, Saurkraut with beer and apples, and Homemade Cucumber Salad

Oktoberfest Party: Rouladen

Cucumber Salad

4 cucumbers peeled and sliced thin

1 cup sour cream

2 T sugar

2 T white vinegar

1 t dried dill

1 t salt

1/4 t black pepper

Slice cucumbers and place in a colander to drain for 20 minutes, then mix all ingredients together in a large bowl

Oktoberfest Party: Cucumber Salad

Last but not least, everyone’s favorite, cupcakes. My friend made 3 different kinds for our Oktoberfest themed party. Apple Strudel, German Chocolate and Bavarian Cream. ( I will try to get the recipes to post on here)

Oktoberfest Party: Cupcakes

Fun was had by all, the food, beer and company was all delightful. Go on try some of these ideas at your next Fall party and share your tips below.

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Pretzel Crisp Toffee Candy

Pretzel Crisp Toffee Candy

 

I couldn’t wait for the Holiday Pretzel Crisps to come out so I made these today.

Pretzel Crisp Toffee Candy

1 7.2 oz bag Original Pretzel Crisps

1 c  unsalted butter (2 sticks)

1 c brown sugar

1 c chocolate chips

1 c crushed pecans

Preheat oven to 400. line a baking sheet with a silpat or spray with cooking spray

Lay Pretzel Crisps evenly on the pan.

Pretzel Crisp Toffee Candy

 

Melt butter in a small sauce pan with the brown sugar over med high heat

Pretzel Crisp Candy

 

Bring to a boil and boil over med heat for 3 minutes

Pretzel Crisp Toffee Candy

 

Pour over Pretzel Crisps and bake for 5 minutes

Pretzel Crisp Candy

Remove from oven and scatter chocolate chips and nuts over the top while still warm, slightly pressing them down with a rubber spatula to help them stick.

Pretzel Crisp Toffee Candy

 

Refrigerate baking sheet for at least 2 hours or until candy is hard.Break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Pretzel Crisp Toffee Candy

 

** Other additions, chopped peppermint candy, toasted coconut, chopped peanuts, peanut butter chips, mini M and M’s

 

Chocolate Toffee Popcorn Balls and The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb

This past weekend was yet another fun and memorable book club meeting. The book was The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin. It is historical fiction, my favorite, and told the tale of Vinnie Bump, a perfectly proportioned, little person who was only 2 ‘ 8 ” but never let that stop her from getting what she wanted. Born to a farming family in New England who sheltered her from society, Vinnie knew she wanted more, she took risks and left the safe haven of her home to find adventure and fame. She ended up becoming an icon and celebrity who traveled the world thanks in part to a man named P.T Barnum. I was shocked to find out how much of this story was actually true, and amazed by her strength and courage, even if she was slightly selfish and cold hearted at times.

I had trouble thinking of a dish for this meeting, She does travel to New Orleans and mentions Gumbo, but that is an all day affair. And also not really a good food for book club, we tend to do more snacks, and small appetizers that are easy to share and eat on your lap while discussing the book.

Luckily my Martha Stewart, Everyday Food magazine came a couple of days before the meeting and had a recipe for popcorn balls, perfect, small single servings that were easy to make and went along with our theme, Vinnie, the heroine of the book was actually in the circus for a short time.

Chocolate Toffee Popcorn Balls

2 T butter

10.5 oz bag of mini marshmallows

10 c popped corn

1/2 c heath toffee pieces

1/2 c toasted almonds

1/2 c mini chocolate chips

sea salt

Make sure you have your popped corn ready and toast your almonds in a dry sauté pan over low heat for about 4 minutes of until fragrant and slightly colored and set aside. In a large pot melt butter over med heat, add marshmallows and stir until melted, remove from heat and add popcorn,almonds, toffee pieces and chocolate chips stirring with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon sprayed with cooking spray until evenly coated. Spray hand with cooking spray and form small balls with the mixture and place on waxed paper to cool (about 10-15 min). Sprinkle with a small amount of sea salt if desired.

Serve or store in an airtight container.