This Friday our friends Lynn & Jon hosted an Opening Ceremonies party for the Vancouver Olympics. If you've spent any time with me at all you know I LIVE for the Olympics. They are my favorite two weeks every two years, and I especially love the Winter Olympics. I think it's something about growing up as a figure skater but I would chose the winter games over the summer any day. I've also been super excited about these particular Olympics because they are taking place in Canada which I sometimes consider to be my homeland. We lived there for almost a year when I was in kindergarten and I just found out that 4 or 5 generations of my French relatives lived in Canada before coming down through Michigan- je suis canadienne!
This was no ordinary party- all food was to be Olympic themed plus we all had to choose a country and dress in a way that represented that country. Hurrah! A reason to be craftee mcgee! So first the food- I racked my brain (and google) all week long and couldn't come up with anything besides olympic ring sugar cookies or brownies cut like hockey pucks. Then Wednesday I was sitting on hold with some insurance company and going through my GoogleReader when something fabulous happened. There it was- the perfect dessert for the party- tagged as gluten free and everything! Lynn has celiac so I try to make as much as possible gluten free and this recipe had Lynn written all over it. SmittenKitchen came through again with Chocolate Souffle Cupcakes with Mint White Chocolate Whipped Cream!! I immediately emailed Lynn and told her I wasn't sure how I'd make them Olympic but these were what I would be bringing. We agreed that they were just so awesome it didn't matter how Olympic they were! This brought my first adventure into the land of chocolate souffles!
Though there are many steps to these cupcakes they weren't as scary as I thought they'd be and all the work was well worth it the second I tasted one! I doubled the recipe since it only made 9 and I knew I'd likely eat 9 of them by myself! The night before the party I prepared the white chocolate mint cream to be whipped the next day. I heated the cream and used it to melt the white chocolate, then added peppermint extract (I used about 3 times what the recipe called for & I'm glad I did!). The cream chilled in the fridge overnight allowing all the delicious flavors to meld.
I followed the actual cupcake recipe exactly and things went quite well. The texture of the batter before folding in the egg whites worried me a little- it seemed too thick and gritty & the egg whites took forever to incorporate. Turns out they were fine, I just freaked out a little because I'd never made chocolate souffle before and didn't quite know what to expect. So don't give up if folding in the egg whites seems to take forever, just keep folding. I whipped up the cream while the cupcakes were in the oven.
Sidenote: somehow I ended up with more than 18 cupcakes so after filling 18 regular cupcakes I filled about 8 or 9 mini cupcakes. These ended up being my favorite. Bite size chocolate souffle? Amazing!
In hindsight I should have waited and piped on the whipped cream once we got to Lynn's house because it got a little melty and weird, but the verdict on these babies is: DELICIOUS! I will be making them again very very soon.
Lest you think the only craftee pursuit happened in the kitchen- this party required costumes! Brandon was representing japan and thought about wearing this tenegui which is a traditional wrap worn under a kendo helmet. (no i have no idea what any of that means but if you're curious check here).
It ended up looking like a diaper on his head so he wore a head wrap he got in japan instead. I was representing Canada and didn't have a thing to wear. At one point I considered dressing as a Mountie but I couldn't find a red coat, so I made this hoodie instead!
I've been using a lot of fusible webbing to do strange embroidery projects lately- a post on tea towels coming soon- and I knew it was just the thing for this! I printed out the Canadian Maple Leaf and traced it onto a piece of fusible webbing which was then ironed on to this red fabric. Joann's recently had some sort of mix up with their fat quarters and they were all 50 cents so I stocked up! Next step is to cut out the fabric and iron it on to the sweatshirt. The fusible webbing tells you that you can stop here and the fabric is safe to wear and wash, but I don't trust it so I do some sort of finishing stitch around the edges. (which also looks more professional). I wore this to the party without finishing it but have since been satin stitching around the end of the big leaf on the back.
The front needed something too so I sketched out a tiny maple leaf and repeated the process on the front. This one has a running stitch around the edges and a satin stitched stem, which I'm hoping holds everything in place. I made Lynn a Maple Leaf tea towel as a hostess gift -which I forgot to take a picture of- and I used this same method.
The party was a great success! I wish I had remembered the camera because people were super creative in the food they brought- we had medals made out of cheese, single dog luges (pigs in a blanket/bundles of joy), Olympic Ring rice krispie treats (dyed the right colors and all) and even a snow cone machine! The Opening Ceremonies were pretty fabulous- fiddlers, tap dancers, a flying man (Canada has a National Circus School!!) and that ridiculous snafu with the torch where they showed Wayne Gretzky making impatient faces and Steve Nash's creepy smile. All in all I say hurrah Canada!