Friends! You know how I feel about Disney! ?
The fact that our family friend, Jackie, was throwing a Moana-themed birthday party for her precious soon-to-be 3-year-old, Aaliyah, um yeah, I was SO DOWN to help!! Momma and I began thinking of desserts that both parents and kids would enjoy, all while keeping to the beach theme of Moana.
*side note-If you haven’t seen Moana yet, check it out! It’s on Netflix and out on DVD. You’ll have those songs stuck in your head for the rest of the day (in a good way)!
The first thing we decided to make were the palm tree pretzels. This would consist of two parts: the chocolate pretzel rod and the green chocolate palm tree top. We first dipped our pretzel rods into melted chocolate and laid them down on wax paper to harden. Then we carefully drizzled extra chocolate along the pretzel rods to look as if the chocolate is the lining of an actual palm tree trunk.
Next, we melted some white chocolate in a microwaveable bowl in 30 second increments at half power until the white chocolate was smooth. In order to make the white chocolate turn green, we added a few drops of green food color until we got our desired color of green. Using a piping bag and a number 65 tip, we sloppily piped green chocolate into wax paper in the shape of the tops of palm trees. I say sloppily because the more non-uniform and misshapen the green chocolate was, the more they looked like palm trees! And, of course, we had to add green sugar sprinkles to the green chocolate before the green chocolate hardened completely.
Now that we had our two parts of the palm tree, it was time to assemble each palm tree! Taking one chocolate dipped pretzel rod and one green palm tree top, we melted just a small amount of chocolate to act as glue. Using a spoon, we dropped a tiny amount of chocolate onto the top of the pretzel rod. Then we quickly placed the green palm tree top right on the melted chocolate and held it in place for a solid three seconds, applying slight pressure. Make sure you don’t press down too hard, causing the palm tree top to break in half (remember, the palm tree top is made of white chocolate and can break easily)!
At this point, we left the palm trees out to dry, but you can always put the palm tree pretzel rods in the fridge to solidify faster!
Onto our next dessert!
Next we made mini cupcakes and topped them with frosting and white chocolate seashells! The chocolate cupcake mix we used was made famous by my Auntie. I swear, I’ve never had a more moist, melt-in-your-mouth, delicate cupcake (thank you Auntie). So there was a slight selfish reason for using this batter… not only would the kiddos enjoy the chocolate cake but I would also get to have some!! ? #guiltypleasure
Using Auntie’s secret chocolate cupcake recipe, we used a buttercream recipe for the frosting. Some of the cupcakes were decorated with blue frosting and some were decorated with white. We separated the frosting into two different bowls and we added a few drops of blue food coloring to one bowl, mixed it well, and voila, we had blue frosting!
To make the white chocolate shells, we used a chocolate mold from Wilton. Some of the sea shells were straight white chocolate, whereas others had more of a sandy/beach look to them. We ended up using our finger to slightly coat the inside of each shell mold with a little bit of chocolate. This would give each sea shell more of a brown tint to it as opposed to the shell being completely white. Once we added the melted white chocolate to each sea shell mold, we placed the mold tray into the fridge for about 15 minutes and let the white chocolate harden.
Using a 12 tip, we piped a swirl of frosting on the top of each mini cupcake. We removed the mold tray from the fridge and popped out the white chocolate sea shells. We placed a shell on top of each swirl of frosting. And to give each cupcake some special pizzazz, we added about three shiny edible pearls to the side of the sea shell, as well as a sprinkle of brown sugar on the side to give each cupcake that beachy feel.
And for my favorite dessert, we made the Heart of Te Fiti cookies! We took a sugar cookie recipe, added green food coloring to half of the batter, rolled each colored dough out, placed one rolled out cookie dough sheet on top of the other, carefully rolled them into a spiral log, cut them to about 1/4 of an inch thick, rolled the outside of each cookie in various sprinkles, baked them for 10 minutes, and boom, we have Heart of Te Fiti cookies!
Finally came the day we had been waiting for…Aaliyah’s birthday party! When we arrived to set up the dessert table, Aaliyah was blown away!! She wanted to eat it all right then and there. Throughout the entire party, she would constantly walk up to the dessert table eyeing everything (girl after my own heart). From the Moana-themed bounce house to the desserts, Aaliyah was on cloud nine. Seeing that little girl as happy as can be and thoroughly enjoying herself (and the desserts) made my heart melt.
“Mommy thank you for my birthday.” UM WHO IS SHE?! Her manners at age 3 are unreal.
A massive shout out to Jackie who let me bake for her daughter’s special day. Can’t wait ’til next year!!! Love your family so much!