Having failed miserably the first year, I started planning earlier for Lyra’s second birthday. In the end, I would only manage, once again, to pull off great food; while failing to pull off any of the decorative details that sets ordinary parties apart from the unforgettable ones.
I settled early on an alphabet theme, using this alphabet invitation set from A Little Hut (looks like they may be discontinued). I collected a lot of links to unique alphabet-themed goodies and had grand visions of decking our our vaulted ceilings with tissue poms and dozens of balloons.
But then Bakerella had to go and post these slider cupcakes on her site for Father’s Day and I began to think much less about how to integrate letter elements into the party, and more about how stinking cute miniature food is.
It was love at first site. I had to make them, sugar cookie fries and all. And even crazier, I had to do as much of it from scratch as I could. That meant scratch brownies, scratch sugar cookie dough, and handmade wrappers for the fries (I bought the fry boats and used box cake mix). You can see the burger cupcakes in their semi-assembled state in the top-left portion of the collage. There were no pictures taken of the fully assembled cupcakes with fries. Sigh.
Here are the recipes I used:
Grandma’s All-Occasion Sugar Cookie Dough by Dorie Greenspan
Fudgy Brownies from Everyday Food Magazine
Once I was invested in making dessert burgers and fries mostly from scratch, I decided to have the savory food mirror dessert. I decided to make sliders using hand-formed and seasoned patties, and fresh baked rolls. (I also made a homemade tomato compote for a topping, which no one touched.) You can see me hard at work cooking the burgers in the bottom part of the collage.
Here are the recipes I used for the sliders:
Mini Man Burgers from Alton Brown (the technique for using a rolling pin on the seasoned meat works brilliantly)
No-Knead Dinner Rolls from Everyday Food
To round out the menu, I served the orzo pasta salad with roasted vegetables from her first birthday, fresh squeezed lemonade, iced tea, and made homemade blackberry, raspberry, and ginger syrups for people to mix with sparkling water. Here’s a basic recipe for homemade berry syrup. This works with any berry and many other fruits. I keep the syrup stored in plastic squeeze bottles. They last for weeks.
If you’d like to take the mini-food idea even further than I did, check out this tiny themed party from Martha Stewart Kids. In addition to beef sliders you could also do mini hot dogs or breaded chicken patties.