Mischief managed: Celebrate Diagon Alley with a Harry Potter party
Times files (2011)
Harry Potter fans, the wait is over. Diagon Alley is open at Universal Orlando, which means it's time to celebrate with a party featuring some of Harry's favorite foods.
Say goodbye to those measly Muggle salads and smoothies. Embrace the Hogwarts diet: an overload of sweets and the quintessential butterbeer.
New students at Hogwarts are always awed by the desserts that materialize in the massive dining hall — everything from apple pies to treacle tarts to trifles. Your menu is be a mini version of the Hogwarts spread. If your guests wonder why there aren't more treats, remind them you made these all by yourself with absolutely no help from your house elf.
Start with an elegant trifle, like the one Harry tasted on his first evening at Hogwarts. It's easy to make, even without a wand. All you have to do is buy a pound cake and garnish it with layers of raspberries, jam and whipped cream. You can even prepare it the day before. That's real magic.
For something less sweet than the trifle, just-out-of-the-oven rock cakes will delight your guests. When you get to Hogwarts, Hagrid is sure to offer you his special recipe for these treats. (Refuse.) This recipe is much closer to the tea-time cakes that Mrs. Weasley might serve at the Burrow. Similar to a scone, they go perfectly with a steaming cup of English breakfast tea. (And if you want to prepare for Professor Trelawney's divination class, you can always read the tea leaves afterward.)
But, as Harry Potter knows, tea is no substitute for butterbeer. The Three Broomsticks won't reveal their recipe, but we found a simple, delicious version for you to try. Make enough to serve all your guests — even a thirsty team of Quidditch players.
And when you do arrive at Diagon Alley, remember us kindly. You're a wizard now.
© 2014 Tampa Bay Times
Molly Weasley's Rock Cakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick (½ cup) butter, cold
¼ cup sugar
½ cup chocolate chips (milk or semisweet)
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup sea-salted almonds, roughly chopped
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add sugar, chocolate chips, cranberries and almonds. Mix in beaten egg and milk, starting with 1 tablespoon, adding the second if needed to make a stiff dough.
Spoon like chocolate chip cookies onto a greased or parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Grand Raspberry Trifle
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup seedless raspberry jam
4 cups raspberries, divided
2 cups heavy cream
1 ½ pounds favorite pound cake
In a small saucepan, bring ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup water, and lemon juice to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar, 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool.
In a small bowl, combine jam with 3 cups raspberries, mashing slightly. In a large bowl, whip cream and 2 tablespoons sugar to stiff peaks.
Slice pound cake ¾ inch thick; brush both sides of slices with lemon syrup.
To make one large trifle, fit one-third of the pound cake slices snugly in the bottom of a 4-quart trifle dish or other glass bowl. Then, gently spread with one-third of the raspberry mixture and one-third of the whipped cream. Repeat to make two more layers. Garnish with remaining cup of raspberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve (up to 24 hours).
To make individual trifles, use dessert bowls and layer as above but only make two layers in each glass.
Magically Easy Butterbeer
2 tablespoons butter extract
2 teaspoons rum extract
2 liters cream soda, chilled
For the cream topping:
1 (7-ounce) container marshmallow creme
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon rum extract
Drop the butter and rum extracts into the 2-liter bottle of cream soda. Put on cap and slowly rotate until combined. Set aside in refrigerator.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl and beat with electric mixer until smooth.
To serve, pour the butterbeer soda into a glass and drizzle with the cream topping.