Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Big Harry Potter Birthday Party Post

The Girl turned 11 today.  As a Harry Potter fan, there was only one thing we could do - have a Harry Potter Birthday Party for her!

This is going to be a big post, with recipes and other party ideas.  I hope that you enjoy it!

Many of my ideas came from Pinterest (and there were more ideas on my Harry Potter Birthday board that I didn't get to, or just didn't end up using.  I also got ahold of the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, and many recipes come from that as well.

The Invitations

We downloaded a cool Harry Potter themed font, got some ivory printer paper, and wrote up invitation letters.

We also got some sealing wax and an "H" monogram stamp (for Hogwarts).

I signed the letters in sparkly green ink, and addressed each envelope in the same pen, using Harry Potter stamps (how handy that they are available right now!)

The wands

I found this amazing tutorial on Pinterest, and tweaked it just a bit.

We started with a skewer to make the wands a little sturdier.  We used hot glue to seal the paper up, and then let it dry completely. Basically, you just roll the paper on a diagonal over the skewer, securing with glue, to make tapered shapes.  Don't worry that the bottom isn't straight, that gets cut off, but try to get the small tapered end as tightly rolled as possible.

Once the tapers are dry, cut the big ends straight.  Using hot glue, seal up both ends, trying to get rounded tips.

The fun part is making hot glue "texturing" - make random swirls on the wands, to make each one unique.

After the texturing is completely dry, you need to coat the whole wand in spray paint, to keep the texturing from falling off the paper.  It doesn't matter what color, because you will be covering it up.

Using acrylic paint, completely cover each wand (including the texturing).  We had a few different colors - a couple different browns, an ivory, and two greys.    The kids helped with the painting.

Finally, use a liquid gold leaf to carefully paint the raised textured areas, and the tips if you like.  Let dry completely and let the magic begin!  We gave these out as party favors.

I had big plans for a dementor pinata and all sorts of decorations, but they didn't pan out.  Time got away from me.

On to the center of any of my parties - the food!

The Cake

I gleaned many ideas from perusing Pinterest, and came up with a plan for the cake.

The cake itself was butterbeer flavored.  I used Betty Crocker mixes (two mixes for the three layers I made), and used cream soda instead of water, and then oil and eggs, all in the amounts called for on the mix.  I found some butter rum Lorain oil, and put 1/4 tsp into the mix (if you are using one cake mix, just use 1/8 tsp - it's very strong).  I made a 9" layer, an 8" layer, and a 6" layer.

For filling the cake, I made butterscotch ganache.  Oh my, fantastic.  I cut each layer in half and put the filling in between them, but did not fill between the three sizes.  I poured 2/3 c heated cream mixed one bag of butterscotch chips, let sit for 30 seconds, and then stirred until smooth.  Before filling the cakes, this had to be brought to near room temperature, to a consistency that was thickened but still spreadable.

I frosted the cake lightly with crusting buttercream for a crumb coat, using a "dam" around the edges of the layer, so that the butterscotch ganache didn't leak out.

I made marshmallow fondant to cover the cakes, and chocolate marshmallow fondant for the darker layers.

The bottom layer was covered in black/dark blue chocolate marshmallow fondant.  The middle layer was covered in orange colored marshmallow fondant, with stripes of maroon marshmallow fondant, to represent the Gryffindor house colors.  The top layer was covered in the black/dark blue chocolate marshmallow fondant.

The cake was topped off with a rice crispy treat sorting hat, covered with chocolate marshmallow fondant.

On the bottom tier, I made a snowy owl (Hedwig) with marshmallow fondant.

On the middle tier, I made a golden snitch (which I made from a cake ball made with excess cake from leveling the layers, and leftover butterscotch ganache).  I wrapped the cake ball in white marshmallow fondant, coated with gold shimmer dust.  The wings are made out of marshmallow fondant.

There was an "11" in marshmallow fondant dusted with gold shimmer dust on the top layer.

The layers were held together by dowels, with the sorting hat secured on top with them.

We found some candles that burned different colors, and The Girl told her friends they had been enchanted.

The verdict?  Totally delicious!

Caramel Ganache Chocolate Frogs

I got some chocolate frog molds, and filled some with a caramel ganache and a couple pretzel sticks for crunch.

I melted dark chocolate chips in the microwave, and the scooped some into each cavity of the molds.  Once the molds were coated, I turned them upside down over parchment paper to empty excess chocolate (the chocolate on the paper could be remelted and reused), and then placed the molds in the fridge until the chocolate was hardened.

To make the ganache, I used caramel flavored coffee creamer (not fat free - it needs the fat).  I used 1/2 c heated caramel coffee creamer with 1c dark chocolate.  Once melted, I let it cool slightly so that it was still pourable, but not solid.  It needs to be cool enough to not melt the hardened shell.  Fill the shells with the ganache and put a couple pretzel sticks in the molds to add crunch.  Put the molds back in the fridge until the ganache gets thick and mostly solid.  Top with some more melted dark chocolate and smooth with a spatula, and return to the fridge until set.  Unmold carefully.

Neville's Peanut Butter Spadefoot Toads

The Boy declared that spadefood toads smell like peanut butter (it's totally true!  I don't know where he read it, but it's true!), so we should make some chocolate frogs filled with peanut butter and called them Neville's toads.

The filling was made according to this recipe - very simple.  1 c peanut butter (I used crunchy), 1/2 c confectioner's sugar, and 1/4 tsp salt.  The chocolate frogs toads were made the same way as the caramel ganache frogs above, but instead of filling with the ganache, I pressed the peanut butter filling into the hardened shells, and then topped with melted chocolate.

I dusted the peanut butter toads with some silver shimmer dust to differentiate them from the caramel ganache filled frogs.

House Color Swirled Meringues
(adapted from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook)

The Girl loves meringues.  I saw this method for piping swirled meringues and had an inspiration to make house color swirled meringues.

2 large egg whites, room temp
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 225 F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Place the egg whites, salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until soft mounds begin to form.  Gradually add in the sugar and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form.

Divide the meringue mixture into quarters.  Cut the tip off a pastry bag and paint a line of gel food coloring down opposite sides of the bag, then with the other color of the house down the other two sides of the bag.

Fill with one quarter of the meringue mixture and pipe into swirls onto the baking sheet.  (The first couple meringues will not be as clearly swirled as later ones.

Slytherin - Dusted with silver shimmer dust to make silver

Repeat for the other house colors.  Bake for 50 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time.  Turn the oven off and let dry for another hour.

Pumpkin Juice
(adapted from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook)

What better to drink than the Hogwarts favorite, pumpkin juice?  This makes a big punch bowl full

2 c canned pumpkin
2 qt apple juice
1 qt white grape juice
1 qt pineapple juice

Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl and whisk until the pumpkin is well incorporated. Stir well before serving (the pumpkin will settle in time).  Mix with seltzer if desired.

Pumpkin Pasties
(adapted from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook)

Pasty Crust
1 1/4 c flour
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
5 Tbsp cold butter, cut into chunks
3 Tbsp vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into chunks
4-6 Tbsp ice water

1 c canned pumpkin
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor.  Pulse a few times to combine.  Add the butter and shortening and pulse until the mixture resembles course corn meal.  Add the water, 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing to combine, until the dough is cohesive, but not sticky. Turn out of food processor and pat into a disk. Wrap in saran wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.

When dough is chilled, combine all filling ingredients well.  (There may be leftover filling).  Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Roll the dough to about 1/8"-1/4" thick on a floured surface.  Cut into about 4" circles (I used a drinking glass).  Scoop about 2 tsp - 1 Tbsp filling onto each circle and fold over to seal in half circles.  Crimp edges with a fork.  Continue until all pastry is used, re-rolling when necessary.  Place the pasties on a parchment lined baking sheet, pierce the pasties with a fork to vent and brush with egg wash.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Sausage rolls

The Girl made these - mini beef sausages wrapped with puff pastry, and baked at 400 F for 20 minutes.  Simple and a hit.

Savory Pasties

I made the pastry dough for these using the recipe from the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, but we all found it too buttery, so I have just given you the filling recipe.  You could use your favorite pie crust to form the pasties.  They were cut and formed the same way as the pumpkin pasties above.  I made a lot of filling, and have leftovers, but look forward to using it for dinners during the week - on top of pasta or rice, it will be delicious and quick.

Beef and Potato Pasties
(adapted from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook)

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
6 oz chuck steak, diced into 1/4" pieces
1 small onion, diced
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 c chicken broth
1 medium red-skinned potato, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1/4 tsp ground marjoram
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a skillet.  Brown the beef for about 4 minutes. Remove to a bowl.  Add onion to the pan and saute until browned.  Return the meat to the pan.  Sprinkle with flour and slowly stir in the broth.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Cooking down
Vegetables ready to add
Add the potato, carrot, and spices and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

When filling is at room temperature, preheat oven to 350 F.  Fill 4" circles of pie crust with 2 tsp-1 Tbsp meat mixture and fold over to seal, crimping the edges.  Wash with egg wash and bake 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Turkey and Mushroom Pasties
(adapted from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook)

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
5 ounces (half a package) sliced portabello mushrooms
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/4 c chicken broth
1/2 lb ground turkey
1/4 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a skillet.  Saute the onions and mushrooms until well browned, breaking up the mushrooms with a spatula if necessary.  Sprinkle with flour and stir in the chicken broth slowly.  Cook until thickened slightly, then stir in the turkey and spices.  Cook, stirring, until the turkey is cooked through.  Cool to room temperature.

When filling is at room temperature, preheat oven to 350 F.  Fill 4" circles of pie crust with 2 tsp-1 Tbsp meat mixture and fold over to seal, crimping the edges.  Wash with egg wash and bake 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Roasted Vegetable Pasties

2 parsnips, peeled and chopped to 1" pieces
1 onion, chopped to 1" pieces
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped to 1" pieces
2 carrots, peeled and chopped to 1" pieces (or use 1 c baby carrots)
2 tsp garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Combine chopped vegetables with spices.  Roast for about 30 minutes, or until soft.  Remove from oven and cool slightly.  Place in a food processor and pulse a few times to chop smaller, but do not puree.

When filling is at room temperature, preheat oven to 350 F.  Fill 4" circles of pie crust with 2 tsp-1 Tbsp meat mixture and fold over to seal, crimping the edges.  Wash with egg wash and bake 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.


Overall, it was quite a party, with really delicious food.  I hope that we have inspired you to find the magic in your lives.

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  1. Absolutely amazing! I may have to try the meringues! Of course, I've never been good at them so between now and June we may have a LOT of attempts until I get them right :)

  2. Awesome! So many wonderful ideas! Looks like it was so much fun!!

  3. Absolutely fabulous! All of the details are amazing...what a lucky eleven year old. <3

  4. You did a fantastic job! I loved it all, what a lucky girl you have and what a lucky mom you are to have such a great girl!

  5. Snyggt jobbat! Vilket jättearbete. Nu kommer alla undra vad som står här. Kul va? Grattis igen från Bebbe och Sverker och guldfiskarna.

  6. that's how you celebrate turning 11! Love all of the details :)

  7. Awesome party. LOVE LOVE LOVE the wands!

  8. This harry potter themed birthday party was outstanding. I am so impressed with all these party ideas. It clearly looks that kids enjoyed a lot. My daughter also got invitation to attend a similar themed at one of venue NYC. Hopefully, she will enjoy like kids at this party.