Bonus column: Martha Stewart
Bring on the style, the sparkle, the shimmer! Whether you’re enjoying the holidays, ringing in the new year or commemorating a 25th anniversary, few decorative touches say, “let’s celebrate!” quite like silver.
It’s ancient yet feels futuristic. It reflects as it catches light. It’s also just right for right now — as we’re relishing the moment while filled with excitement for what lies ahead.
It’s not Champagne, but this cocktail boasts its own effervescence. Pink-grapefruit juice and bitters enhance the peppery flavor of 100 percent–agave silver tequila (such as Patron). Add sparkle by coating the rim with edible silverleaf flakes.
Active/Total Time: 5 minutes
Yield: Makes 1
To chill a martini glass, fill it with ice, then cold water. Let it stand 5 minutes, then drain.
2 ounces silver tequila, such as Patron Silver
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
2 tablespoons fresh pink-grapefruit juice, plus a wedge and a twist for serving
10 to 12 dashes grapefruit or orange bitters, such as Fee Brothers
Edible silver flakes (optional; available at nycake.com) and sanding sugar, for serving
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add tequila, vermouth, grapefruit juice and bitters. Cover and shake several times.
2. Stir together silver flakes and sugar on a small plate. Run grapefruit wedge along the rim of a chilled martini glass. Dip rim in sugar mixture to evenly coat. Strain tequila mixture into glass, add grapefruit twist and serve.
As if out of thin air, candleholders appear where balloons used to be. The trick: Blow the balloons up, then brush on a glittery glue mixture. Once it dries, pop and discard the balloons — leaving behind shells you can paint on the inside. They make dazzling centerpieces, especially when clustered with glitter-dusted pillar candles (use a coat of transfer adhesive) and paired with silver dip-dyed linens. (To dye your own, go to marthastewart.com/dip-dyed-linens.)
Fine glitter (in White Gold, $5 for 1.5 oz., by Martha Stewart Crafts, michaels.com)
Découpage medium (Découpage matte surface, 8 oz. by Martha Stewart Crafts, $10, plaidonline.com)
Tinsel glitter (optional, 12 pack, by Martha Stewart Crafts, $12.50, amazon.com)
Craft paint and brush (all-surface paint, from $2 for 2 oz., by Martha Stewart Crafts, michaels.com)
1. Blow up balloon to desired size.
2. In a bowl, mix equal parts fine glitter and découpage medium (2 tablespoons of each covers one large or two smaller balloons). With a brush, apply a generous coating of mixture to top half of balloon. While still wet, sprinkle on tinsel glitter. Set dry half in another bowl; let dry overnight.
3. Pop balloon with a pin; discard.
4. If desired, paint inside of holder. Let dry.
HEXAGONAL SUGAR COOKIES
These impressive but simple-to-make gifts are almost too pretty to eat — yet too enticing not to. Package them in a tin in the same shape, which can be reused long after the cookies are gone.
Active Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
Yield: Makes about 3 dozen
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 pound confectioners’ sugar (3 3/4 cups)
1/4 cup meringue powder
Soft gel-paste food coloring, such as AmeriColor, in Peach and Dusty Rose; and edible silver leaf, for decorating (optional; both available at globalsugarart.com)
1. Cookies: Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment. Beat butter with granulated sugar on medium-high speed in a large bowl until well combined, about 1 minute. Add egg, vanilla and salt; beat on medium speed until combined. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour, mixing just until incorporated. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Shape into disks; wrap each in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
2. Heat oven to 325 F. Place one disk of dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment; roll out to a scant 1/4 inch thick. Transfer dough on parchment to a baking sheet and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. Repeat with second disk.
3. Stamp out cookies with a 2 1/2-inch hexagonal cookie cutter; transfer to prepared baking sheets, 1 inch apart. Refrigerate until firm, 15 minutes. Gather scraps and repeat rolling, chilling and stamping to make more shapes.
4. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until set and golden on bottom, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks.
5. Royal icing: Beat confectioners’ sugar, meringue powder and 1/2 cup water in a large bowl on medium speed until icing is smooth and falls from beaters in a thin stream, about 4 minutes. (If icing is too thick, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time.)
6. Divide icing into 3 equal portions. Tint one with Peach food coloring and another with Dusty Rose; leave third icing untinted. Transfer each to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/8-inch plain round tip (such as Ateco #6).
7. Trace outline of each cookie with one color of icing; fill in with same icing. Or trace outline of half a cookie with one color of icing; fill in with same icing, then trace and fill in other half of cookie with another color. Let dry completely, about 1 hour.
8. To coat with silver, lightly brush an iced, set cookie top with water, then turn cookie over and press onto center of a silver-leaf sheet. Flip over and trim silver flush with cookie edges with a craft knife or the tip of a paring knife. Or lightly brush half of cookie top with water, then press onto silver leaf, aligning center of cookie with sheet edge; trim. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 weeks.
Spiced Pear Truffles
Recipients of these truffles will be surprised when they take a bite and discover the flavors of pear liqueur and five-spice powder infused in chocolate. Up the luxe quotient by rolling some in edible silver pearl dust.
Active Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 40 minutes
Yield: About 5 dozen
16 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (3 cups)
1 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons pear liqueur
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for rolling
Edible silver pearl dust, for brushing (optional; available at wilton.com)
1. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it begins to simmer. Pour over chocolate; let stand 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in liqueur, five-spice powder and salt until smooth. Pour mixture into a 9-inch pie dish; let cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.
2. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment. With a 1-inch ice cream scoop or melon baller, scoop out chocolate mixture and place on one prepared sheet. Refrigerate until set, about 20 minutes.
3. Place cocoa powder in a bowl. Dust hands with cocoa and roll truffles into balls, coating hands with more cocoa as needed; place on other prepared sheet. Refrigerate until set, 1 hour. Roll truffles in more cocoa powder or brush with pearl dust just before serving or packaging. Truffles can be stored, covered, in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
Up, Up And Away
Let some silver balloons loose and any gathering is transformed into a veritable bash. Swap out the strings for wide satin ribbons in cheerful colors. Place sticky gift-wrap pom-pom bows beneath each balloon to cinch the celebratory look.
Silver balloons, in Orbz, Cubez, and Diamondz, partycity.com
Crystal bows, 3.5 inches, in silver, papermart.com