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Cooking up a tasty SYR pre-party

Maureen Malloy | Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Springtime is finally on its way to South Bend, and that means hall dances are back in season. So between mustering up the courage to ask out your crush (or just being set up with the random guy who lives down the hall from your roommate’s boyfriend) and finding the perfect dress, or toga, or whatever, make some time to plan a get together before the dance. Most people throw pre parties anyway, but if you’re going to spend the better part of your day making yourself look great, you might as well have better accessories than a beer can and a handful of the popcorn that your RA makes sure you provide. Even Arbor Mist can look classy if you put it in wine glasses. Try some of these recipes for your next SYR and you’ll be the hit of the dance in no time.

Puff Pastry Cheese Straws1 17-1/4 oz.- pkg. prepared frozen puff pastry, thawed in refrigerator1 lightly beaten egg white Paprika Cayenne pepper (optional)1 cup finely shredded sharp cheese such as aged cheddar, Asiago, or Parmesan (about 4 oz.)Preheat oven to 375 degree F. Open one sheet of puff pastry on a cutting board. Brush the surface lightly with some of the beaten egg white. Sprinkle lightly with paprika and a touch of cayenne pepper, if desired. Sprinkle surface with 1/2 cup of cheese to evenly cover entire surface. Roll a floured rolling pin over cheese to gently press the cheese into the puff pastry. Cut the puff pastry into long 1/2-inch-wide strips; gently twist each strip several times. Lay strips one inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining sheet of puff pastry, egg white, paprika, pepper, and cheese. Bake in the 375 degree F. oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until the straws are golden in color. Cool on wire rack. Best served the same day but can be stored overnight in an airtight container. Makes 36 appetizer servings. © Copyright 2004 Meredith Corporation. All Rights Reserved

Chocolate TrufflesRoll truffles in nuts or colored sprinkles for a more festive look.3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk1 tablespoon vanilla extractIn large saucepan, melt chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Transfer the mixture into a medium bowl. Cover and chill 2 to 3 hours or until firm. Shape mixture covering and/or decorate them. Refrigerate in a tightly covered dish. Makes 50 truffles.Courtesy of Stacy Bobbitt, Copyright © 2004; www.allrecipes.com., All Rights Reserved

Coconut Macaroons 14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Combine the coconut, condensed milk and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture. Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using either a 1 3/4-inch diameter ice cream scoop, or two teaspoons. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve. Makes 20 to 22 cookies.Courtesy of Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Family Style; Copyright © 2003 Television Food Network, G.P., All Rights Reserved

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer. Contact Maureen Malloy at [email protected]