Doughnut Hole Trees
A dazzling no-cook edible centerpiece that's simple to make with common craft supplies -- and ordinary doughnut holes. Be sure your guests to help themselves to the doughnut holes.
1 styrofoam cone in size of your choice (see note below)
decorative ornament pick for top of cone, preferably without glitter (optional)
round barreled toothpicks
assorted doughnut holes (see note below)
gumdrops, 1/3 the number of doughnut holes used (optional)
Note: Cones and number of doughnut holes required to fill
12-in. high, 4-in. diameter base: 7 dozen doughnut holes
18-in. high, 5-in. diameter base: 11 dozen doughnut holes
24-in. high, 6-in. diameter base: 22 dozen doughnut holes
To assemble a doughnut hole tree, wrap the cone in plastic wrap (Note: Don't remove the original plastic the cone may have come packaged in, but remove labels before wrapping with additional plastic wrap. A double layer of plastic keeps the Styrofoam from coming loose). Insert decorative pick in top of cone, if using. Set on decorative plate.
Pull on latex gloves. Beginning at the bottom of the cone, pierce toothpicks about 1/2-inch from the bottom and leave about 1-inch of toothpick exposed. Push doughnut hole onto toothpick. Check that the toothpick is covered. Continue in a ring around the bottom of the cone, nestling doughnut holes together as tightly as possible. Continue with a second ring above the first ring, staggering the placement of the toothpicks and doughnut holes so as to fill in as much space between doughnut holes as possible -- as in a bricklaying fashion. Continue attaching toothpicks and holes up the cone to just under the decorative pick -- or finish with a doughnut hole on the top. Note: As you work nearer to the top of the cone where it thins out, it may be necessary to break toothpicks in half.
If attaching gumdrops, insert toothpicks every couple inches in between doughnut holes and sticking out just past the holes. Press a gumdrop onto each toothpick. The gumdrops will stick out further than the doughnut holes. Cover the "tree" all over with gumdrop "ornaments".
"Trees" can be made several hours ahead of a party (avoid making a day before in order to have doughnuts as fresh as possible) and loosely wrapped in plastic to keep doughnuts fresh.
(adapted from Vanilla Satins recipe in cookbook Kitchen for Kids by Jennifer Low)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsalted butter, soft (room temperature soft)
1/4 cup cream cheese, soft
1 cup white sugar
4 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla
flour for dusting
Sift flour into bowl.
In another large bowl, using either hand-mixer or rubber spatula, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Blend in egg yolks and vanilla.
Gradually mix flour into butter mixture. When dough is too firm to stir, knead in flour with hands.
Form dough into a patty. Cover bowl with plastic and chill 20 minutes.
Dust work surface with flour. Place a piece of parchment on the dough and roll out to just under ¼-inch (5 mm) thick. Slice into 2-inch (5 cm) squares. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Chill sheet of cut-out dough 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).
Bake 10 to 12 minutes on middle rack of oven until cookies are no longer shiny on top and slide a little when the baking sheet is jiggled. The cookies do not go golden, but remain a uniform pale yellow.
Cool completely on baking sheet before removing to paint with Cookie Paint. Makes 48 cookies.
2 cups icing sugar
2 tbsp milk (or more)
1 tsp lemon juice (or more)
assorted food colourings
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Stir in the milk and lemon juice until smooth. The icing should resemble the consistency of white glue. Adjust thickness with either a few more drops milk or lemon juice, if too thick. Or additional spoonfuls of sifted icing sugar if too runny.
Spoon out portions into small dishes and tint with food colourings as desired.
Use small paint brushes to paint onto Vanilla Satin Cookies. Allow several hours for cookie paint to air dry.