Edible Art

{Chocolate Spice Moroccan Market Table for Brides Magazine | Amy Atlas Events}

As anyone who has kept up with this blog for some time (and you are champs!) would know, I do seem to have a certain penchant for desserts (don’t we all…). And I’m also a huge fan of stylish decor. When hosting parties, I’m always nitpicking over every single detail to make the atmosphere perfect — and so, these beautiful dessert tables are a huge inspiration to me. The displays are stunning and definitely help set the tone for the event. And the food looks delicious, of course!

Here is just a sampling of some of the yummy dessert table inspiration I’ve found — be sure to check out the designers’ websites for even more photos! (Trust me, their portfolios are drool-worthy…)

{Bridal Brunch Dessert Table | Amy Atlas Events}

{Poolside Dessert Table in the Hamptons | Amy Atlas Events}

{Missoni-Inspired Dessert Table for InStyle | Amy Atlas Events}

{Candy Shop Dessert Table | Amy Atlas Events}

{Graphic and Glitz Dessert Table | Shauna Younge Dessert Tables}

{Bridal Party Dessert Table | Shauna Younge Dessert Tables}

{Ice Cream Dessert Table | Jillian Event Design & Styling | Source: 100 Layer Cake}

{Lemon Dessert Table | Design 2 Decor | Source: Sweet Tooth}

I am blown away by the creativity and detail that goes into crafting these tables. The results are simply stunning and I wish I could post tons more photos. (If you want more inspiration, be sure to check out the portfolios of the designers featured in this post.) As you can see, there is quite the mix of styles out there, and something to suit every taste. I can’t wait to draw on these photos for inspiration when the opportunity comes for me to make my own dessert table!

{Sources: All images are property of their respective owners, as noted.}

Caramels with Sea Salt

Caramels with sea salt are absolutely my FAVORITE treat from the local chocolate shop, and ever since I saw them on Cupcakes and Cashmere, I knew I had to try them. So when I finally got my hands on a copy of Ina Garten’s new cookbook, Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That? and saw her Fleur de Sel Caramel recipe, I knew I had to try them out. (Although I’m not a huge fan of the book as a whole, I still prefer Barefoot Contessa: At Home.) 

Originally, I messed these up because I didn’t let the sugar/corn syrup mixture boil long enough. I was using an organic sugar, which is darker in color, and the recipe said it was ready when the sugar mixture turned a “warm golden brown,” which it was the entire time. I am also terrified of burning sugar, spoiling chocolate, the likes, so I was being careful not to overheat it. But the second time, I’m proud to say, the recipe worked! It was also super-easy and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. I used Sicilian sea salt in the recipe, though, because I couldn’t find fleur de sel in the grocery store. 

The only annoying thing about this recipe is cutting the caramels afterwards…maybe I did something wrong when I was making them, but they melt within minutes of being taken out of the fridge and get very sticky and shapeless. Which is fine, because they still taste delicious! …Very buttery and rich. I would also recommend cutting them into way smaller pieces (the recipe only calls for 16 servings!) – I probably had around 35 or 40 decent-sized caramels at the end. 

{They’re very sticky when you first make them, but after a few days they unwrap perfectly!}

Fleur de Sel Caramels

From Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That? by Ina Garten (recipe here)
Ingredients
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon fine fleur de sel, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing it to drape over 2 sides, then brush the paper lightly with oil.
  2. In a deep saucepan (6 inches wide and 4 1/2 inches deep), combine 1/4 cup water, the sugar and corn syrup and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until the mixture is a warm golden brown. Don’t stir — just swirl the pan.
  3. In the meantime, in a small pot, bring the cream, butter and 1 teaspoon of fleur de sel to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  4. When the sugar mixture is done, turn off the heat and slowly add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Be careful — it will bubble up violently. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F (firm ball) on a candy thermometer.
  5. Very carefully (it’s hot!) pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate for a few hours, until firm.
  6. When the caramel is cold, pry the sheet from the pan onto a cutting board. Cut the square in half.
  7. Starting with a long side, roll the caramel up tightly into an 8-inch-long log.
  8. Sprinkle the log with fleur de sel, trim the ends and cut into 8 pieces. (Start by cutting the log in half, then continue cutting each piece in half until you have 8 equal pieces.) It’s easier to cut the caramels if you brush the knife with flavorless oil like corn oil.
  9. Cut glassine or parchment paper into 4-by-5-inch pieces and wrap each caramel individually, twisting the ends. Store in the refrigerator and serve the caramels chilled.