DIY: Backyard Luau Good Eats

Sand Dollar Cookies

These cookies might be a bit of a challenge to make, but it's totally worth it. They aren't too sweet and are brushed with a bit of cinnamon for the perfect day at the beach look and feel. Five shaved almond pieces pressed into the top and boom, perfect Sand Dollar cookie. Get the recipe here.

Sea Shell Chocolates
(michaels.com)
Get this mold from Michael's. You can also get the melting chocolate from there too, but Walmart has it cheaper. I used the cream and white chocolate colors. If you want to make them look marble, here's an awesome tutorial as to how!

Flip Flop Cookies


You can use Milano cookies or Nutter Butters. Ice them on top with any colors or designs you like, then use icing or licorice for the straps. I put them on a tray of graham cracker crumbs to look like sand and bought a few miniatures from Michael's (like buckets and the sand castle.)

Boozy Pina Colada Cupcakes

These were super fun and easy to make. The cupcakes were white cake mix with Pina Colada margarita mix, pineapple slices, coconut extract, splash of pineapple juice from the can of pineapple chunks, and about 1/4 cup vodka. I had to add a bit of flour and baking powder to it because of all of the liquid, but they turned out nice.

The frosting is 2 sticks of butter, a bag (yes BAG) of powdered sugar,  1/2 cup vodka, coconut extract, Pina Colada margarita mix and some yellow food coloring.

Snacks and Icebox Cake

I put all of the snacks into buckets. The little buckets have candy in them "Life Savers" starring as LifeSavers and Peach Rings, "Pool Noodles" as Twizzlers, "Fish" as Swedish Fish. I used the shovels as serving spoons.

Icebox Cake, because of the graham cracker crumbs and vanilla pudding has the tones and feel of the beach. It's also a cool dessert which is nice on a hot day. It's a layer of graham crackers, layer of vanilla pudding, layer of graham crackers, layer of vanilla pudding, graham crackers crumbled on top. CHILL. Serve. 

Snack Like a Southerner: Buttermilk Candy

OP: http://home.cmaaccess.com/~dledwards/buttermilk_candy.htm

(www.texannewyorker.com)

Ingredients:

1 cup buttermilk

2tbs margarine

1tsp baking soda

2 cups pecans, chopped

2tbs butter

2 cups sugar

1tsp vanilla extract

1. In a skillet over high heat, combine buttermilk, soda and sugar. Stir constantly until it reaches a softball size. (5 minutes)

2. Remove from heat. Add mixture, butter, vanilla and nuts to a large mixing bowl. Mix together until thickened and creamy.

3. Spoon out onto buttered or greased wax paper. Let cool.

Snack Like a Southerner: Sweetheart Sugar Cookies

OP: myrecipes.com

(myrecipes.com, Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Buffy Hargett)

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened 
1 cup granulated sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
large egg 
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
2 teaspoons meringue powder 
Pink sanding sugar

Preheat oven to 350°

1.Beat butter, granulated sugar, and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add egg, beating until blended.

2. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating just until blended.

3. Divide dough into 2 equal portions; flatten each portion into a disk. Cover and chill 10 minutes.

4. Place 1 dough disk on a heavily floured surface, and roll to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with a 3-inch heart-shaped cutter. Place 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Repeat procedure with remaining dough disk.

5. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheets 5 minutes; transfer to wire racks, and let cool completely (about 30 minutes).

6. Whisk together meringue powder and 2 Tbsp. water. Brush cookies with mixture, or dip cookies in mixture, and sprinkle with sanding sugar.

For jumbo cookies: Cut rolled-out dough with a 4 1/2-inch heart-shaped cutter. Bake at 350° for 15 to 17 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Makes: about 1 dozen.

For bite-size cookies: Cut rolled-out dough with a 1-inch heart-shaped cutter. Bake at 350° for 8 to 11 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Makes: about 20 dozen.