Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Parfaits in a Jar, Cake Crumble Tips and a Tasty Mousse Mix

A coworker was kind enough to give me 8 of these adorable jars.  Walmart sells sliced peaches and pears in them.  I just think that they are the cutest little things and wanted to find a way to use them on my food table.  And then it hit me - parfaits in a jar.  Perfect!
I spent some time Goo Gone-ing the label stickies and I used a Magic Eraser to scrub of the inked lot/expiry info - it worked like, well, magic.  The good people at Mr. Clean don't lie.
I washed everything well and then painted the lids with 2 coats of brown acrylic paint (because I have a lot of brown for some reason).  The base coat color is irrelevant and only serves to cut down on the number of coats of chalkboard paint I needed to use.  Chalkboard paint is more expensive so I always try to get by with one coat.

I filled the jars with alternating layers of chocolate cake crumbs, chocolate chips, and chocolate mousse.  Here's my super-frugal, efficient tip for those cake crumbs.  Whenever I make a cake that involves trimming it or say I make 2 cakes from a box mix and I only need one, I don't toss the extra bits - I throw them into a zipper bag in the freezer.  This way, I always have cake on hand for dishes that don't need a full cake recipe, like a trifle or a parfait.  Try it! 
Now, regarding the mousse...  I have made chocolate mousse from scratch before.  The first time was a huge fail (because I grabbed half and half instead of heavy cream - oops!) and I ended up with chocolate soup.  But now that I think about it, I recovered gracefully by heating up the soup and BAM - it became the best hot chocolate ever, so I'm changing that to a win.  Life gives you lemonades, people.*  My second go-round with mousse was a bit more successful, but required more time that I had last week, so I bought one of those box mousse mixes near the pudding and Jello mixes.  It was actually very good.  Oetker Dark Chocolate Truffle Mousse  I recommend it if you are in a pinch.
So, back to details.  The parfaits were prepped, lids were applied to jars, "Parfait" was written on said lids in chalk, and the whole shebang was finished off by tying on purple spoons with multicolored yarn.  I wanted baker's twine, but it wasn't in the cards, and yarn worked just as well.
I grouped the jars - 4 at a time - on a cake pedestal.  I had to put out the other 4 jars like 5 minutes into the party because they were a huge hit.  I did notice that people were taking them home, so if you do this, be prepared for your jars to walk.  I'm cool with it, though.  My coworker really likes sliced pears.

*I have a friend whose husband always thought that the quote was "life gives you lemonades" instead of "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade" and I think that is the cutest, most uplifting story.  I love positive people and I strive to be more like that.

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