Guest Author - Amelia Johnson
One of the easiest parties a person can throw is a dessert party. With this type of party there is no full meal; all you are required to serve is dessert and coffee or drinks. It can be as formal or as casual as you choose, and reflecting your choice through your dessert is a piece of cake!
-If you are having a formal party, do send invitations. This will give your guests a sense of what to expect as well as how to dress.
-If your party is casual you can either send invitations that reflect a casual ambiance or simply call your guests in advance and ask if they would like to come over for dessert. Be sure to be specific with the time so there is no confusion.
-If you are having a formal party, use low lighting and candles. Decorate the serving table with clear electric lights covered by tulle.
-If your party is casual you don’t have to decorate but if you choose to, decorate in the style of your desserts. For example, if you are having Hawaiian themed desserts decorate the table with hibiscus blossoms (real or fake) and place drink umbrellas in cakes or coffees.
-For a formal party, choose mellow background music and good conversation as the activity mainstay.
-For a casual party, you can include group games, such as pictionary, charades, or card games.
-The dessert can be anything you choose; store bought or homemade. Just decide what fits into your schedule and go from there.
Praline Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce
¼ c butter, melted
1 c graham cracker crumbs
½ c finely chopped pecans
½ c firmly packed brown sugar
½ c English toffee chips
1 c sugar
4 8oz packages softened cream cheese
¼ c English toffee bits
¼ c finely chopped pecans
¼ c butter
2/3 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 c heavy whipping cream
¼ c light corn syrup
2 1oz pieces of semisweet baking chocolate, chopped
1 tsp vanilla
1. Heat oven to 300°F Lightly grease sides only of 10-inch spring form pan. Stir together all crust ingredients except 1/2 cup toffee bits in medium bowl. Press crumb mixture evenly on bottom and 1-inch up sides of prepared pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven; immediately sprinkle 1/2 cup toffee bits on hot, partially baked crust.
2. Meanwhile, combine 1 cup sugar and cream cheese in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until creamy. Add eggs; continue beating until well mixed. (DO NOT OVER BEAT.) Pour over crust. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes or until edges are set and lightly browned. Center will move slightly when side of pan is tapped.
3. Loosen cheesecake from side of pan by running greased knife around inside of pan. Immediately sprinkle 1/4 cup toffee bits and 1/4 cup chopped pecans on top. Cool 1 hour on cooling rack at room temperature. Refrigerate in pan, uncovered, until thoroughly chilled (3 to 4 hours). Cover; refrigerate until serving.
4. Meanwhile, melt 1/4 cup butter in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat; stir in 2/3 cup brown sugar, whipping cream and corn syrup. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture just comes to a boil (2 to 3 minutes). Boil 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
5. Add chocolate; stir until melted and smooth. Stir in vanilla. Cool slightly; place in microwave-safe bowl. Cover; refrigerate until serving time.
6. Just before serving, microwave sauce on HIGH, stirring every 30 seconds, until warm (30 seconds to 1 1/2 minutes).
7. Loosen side of cheesecake by running knife around inside of pan. Carefully remove side of pan. To serve, dip knife in warm water for easier cutting. Clean knife after each cut. Serve sauce over cheesecake slices.