During the holidays, our stomachs tend to get bigger so why not make the food you eat a little bit smaller? That's the idea behind two new recipe books, "Mini Treats & Hand-Held Sweets" by Abigail Johnson Dodge and "Tiny Food Party!: Bite-Size Recipes for Miniature Meals by Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park.

 

As Dodge sums it up, serving tiny food is ideal for any harried host or hostesses (or to give as a gift).

"Mini treats are easy to make, easy to serve and even easier to eat -- no forks, no spoons are necessary," she notes.

 

Fisher and Park agree: "Small bites are a great way to keep guests up and about and mingling with one another in a way that's more relaxing than a sit down dinner party,"?the authors note via e-mail. "It also allows for a greater variety of food, which people seem to appreciate, especially around the holidays."

 

Dos and dont’s for your next holiday party

 

Do

Get as much done beforehand. This way you can spend time tending to your guests and enjoying yourself, instead of in the kitchen rushing to finish.



Make sure you have a variety of items to ensure everyone has ample things to eat and drink.



Don’t


Be a lush at your own party. While sipping on a cocktail or two to loosen up is great, no one wants a sloppy host/hostess!

from Fisher and Park



Weekend recipe



Lil’ Hostess Cupcakes


Makes: 48

Here’s a fun take on the iconic (lamented?)?American dessert, from “Tiny Food Party!”



INGREDIENTS


1 cup all-purpose flour

? cup cake flour

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt

1¼ cups buttermilk (regular or low fat)

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup strong brewed coffee

? cup semisweet chocolate, melted

1½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract



FILLING


1 cup Marshmallow Fluff

GANACHE

½ cup heavy cream

½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

ROYAL?ICING

1 egg white

1¼ cups powered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla icing

As you mix the icing, add up to an extra 1/2 cup of powdered sugar to stiffen it to make it easier to pipe.



INSTRUCTIONS


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place all the ingredients for the cupcake batter into a large mixing bowl and whisk together until fully combined. Line a mini cupcake tin with liners and fill each about two-thirds full.

2. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan. Carefully remove cupcakes from liners and discard, if desired.

3. Scoop Marshmallow Fluff into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Pierce bottoms of cupcakes with the piping tip and fill each with about 1 teaspoon of Fluff.

4. To make the ganache, pour cream into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Place chocolate chips in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour cream over top and let sit for 2 minutes. Gently stir melted chocolate and cream together with a wooden spoon until full incorporated. Let cool for 3 to 5 minutes. Dip tops of each cupcake in ganache, shaking off excess. Let the ganache set, about 30 minutes.

5. Load royal icing into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip and pipe a small row of loops across each cupcake. Let set 5 to 10 minutes before serving.