Nov
13

Making Dessert Count: Dense Bittersweet Chocolate Cake

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Dessert is a big part of the holidays, in fact I think it’s a big part of any successful get together. It’s the time when it’s okay to indulge a little and let the conversation flow. Some of my favorite times have been spent gathered around a table – dining or coffee – with friends and family at the end of a delicious meal. So when Target asked me to share just what makes holiday entertaining special – that sweet finish worth lingering over – I couldn’t resist.

 

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To me dessert isn’t just about what’s on the plates, it’s just as much about the ambiance. You want to create a relaxed atmosphere that makes your guests feel comfortable and happy. In my home that means lowered lights, candles, and quiet music in the background that doesn’t overshadow the conversation.

 

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This is one of my favorite holiday desserts that’s a year round classic doesn’t say “holiday” at all. (But no fear, it can easily be dressed up with some whipped cream and red berries to make it so!) I prefer to serve this Dense Bittersweet Chocolate Cake with a dusting of powdered sugar and coffee. A thin slice is all that’s needed, and it isn’t the sort of sweet that can’t be eaten quickly, it’s meant to be savored – inviting the conversation that makes the holidays so wonderful. . These mercury glass plates spotlight the not too sweet slices quite nicely, while a gold charger easily doubles as a serving plate for the cake itself. My favorite mood lighting continues to be tea lights, they’re so easy and sparkly set in a few small frosted gold mason jars. Hours of talking and memories await!

 

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Dense Bittersweet Chocolate Cake
serves 10

Ingredients
• 12 oz fine bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
• 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 C) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
• 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 3/4 C sugar
• 5 large eggs, separated and brought to room temperature
• 3/4 C flour

Place oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line bottom with a round of parchment or wax paper, then butter paper.

Melt chocolate and butter in a large (microwave-safe) bowl in the microwave set at 50% power for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring once every 60 seconds. Cool completely. Whisk in vanilla, salt, and 6 tablespoons sugar. Add yolks 1 at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in flour.

Beat whites with a pinch of salt in a bowl using an electric mixer at medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks, then add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat until whites hold stiff glossy peaks.

Whisk one fourth of whites into chocolate mixture, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Pour batter into springform pan and spread evenly.

Bake until a toothpick or skewer inserted into cake center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Cool cake in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove side of pan and cool cake completely. Invert cake onto rack and remove bottom of pan, discarding paper, then invert cake onto a plate. Enjoy!

This post is sponsored by Target. Shop Home Décor for modern luxury made easy.

Disclaimer: This post sponsored by Target. All words and opinions are my own as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep our content fresh!

Nov
12

you’re invited to: Thanksgiving

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Pulling together our daydream Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s get togethers is one of my favorite sets of recurring posts all year. It’s so much fun to imagine the ideal holiday, food, and festivities surrounding each. This November I’m imagining lots of natural elements – wood, clay, DIYs, etc – and a few touches of metallic to add some interest to the Thanksgiving decor. Take a look at our version of the holiday from warm welcomes to full-bellied goodbyes, and let us know what you’re planning for your table too! (If you’d like to see our Thanksgivings past, here’s 2012 and 2013.)

 

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Fallen Feathers Wreath //  Homemade Simmering Spices // DIY Pumpkin Lantern //
Basket of Birch Logs // DIY Menu Pumpkin // Linen Fabric Bunting Banner

 

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Cranberry Cider Smash // Salted Lemon Sage Cocktail // Slow Cooker Apple Cider

 

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Cranberry Baked Brie Puffed Pastry Bites // Crispy Brussels Sprout Chips //
Sea Salt, Lavender & Caramel Popcorn

 

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Sparkle Trimmed Tumbler // Macedonia Trivet // Corso Flatware // Etched Metal Vase //
Ceramic Salt Cellar and Gold Spoon Set // DIY Dyed Napkins // Farmhouse Pottery Turkey Platter //
Copper Plated Mixing Bowls // Metallic Taper Candleholders // Stockholm Serving Bowl //
Wheat Sprig Place Card // DIY Apple Stamp Table Runner

 

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Sage Butter Roasted Turkey // Roasted Red Pepper + Gouda Soup // Chopped Brussels Sprout,
Kale + Chard Salad
// Zucchini Rice // Wild Rice + Butternut Squash Salad // Popovers with
Gruyere and Thyme
// Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes // Salt and Vinegar Roasted Cauliflower //
Mini Sweet Potato Gratins // Sweet + Spicy Jalapeño Cranberry Sauce

 

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Grapefruit Pie // Earl Grey Chocolate Truffle Tart // Pumpkin Spiced Buttermilk Layer Cake

Nov
10

12 November DIYs

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DIPPED-CREPE-PAPER-CHAIR-GARLANDS-Love-My-Dress-Design-Crush

 

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NO-SEW-HOT-PADS-Paper-&-Stitch-Design-Crush

 

REVERSE-SHIBORI-TIE-DYE-Fall-for-DIY-Design-Crush

 

BIRTHDAY-CROWNS-Small-for-Big-Design-Crush

 

DECORATIVE-CLAY-BELLS-A-Beautiful-Mess-Design-Crush

 

GIANT-GEM-RINGS-Studio-DIY-Design-Crush

 

MODERN-HOUSE-NUMBERS-A-Beautiful-Mess-Design-Crush

 

POUR-OVER-COFFEE-STAND-The-Merrythought-Design-Crush

 

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Click on each image to go to the project.
All photos copyright of their respective sites unless otherwise noted.

Nov
03

Hassle-Free Cocktails with VitaFrute + a Giveaway

It’s been a few months since I’ve shared any recipes, so I’m here to make up for it four-fold with a fantastic quartet of cocktails. I promise you every last one is delicious and the most complicated of the bunch includes only three ingredients. (Seriously!) The star of each recipe is one of VitaFrute‘s four organic ready-to-drink cocktails that allow you to step away from the bar cart and enjoy a hassle-free get together this holiday season!

 

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Lemonade + Prosecco

Serves 2

• 5 oz VitaFrute Lemonade
• 5 oz prosecco
• lemon

Pour 2.5 oz VitaFrute Lemonade and 2.5 oz prosecco into each of two coupes. Garnish with a thin slice of lemon and enjoy!

 

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Pear Nectar Margarita

Serves 2

• 10 oz VitaFrute Margarita
• 2 oz pear nectar
• pear
Pour 5 oz VitaFrute Margarita and 1 oz pear nectar into each of two cocktail glasses. Garnish with a slice of pear and a dash of ground ginger if you’re feeling adventurous.

 

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Apple Cider Cosmopolitan

Serves 2

• 6 oz VitaFrute Cosmopolitan
• 4 oz fresh apple cider
• orange

Pour 3 oz VitaFrute Cosmopolitan and 2 oz apple cider into each of two rocks glasses. Garnish with a slice of juicy orange.

 

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Coconut Colada Float

Serves 2

• 6 oz VitaFrute Coconut Colada
• 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
• coconut flakes

Scoop vanilla ice cream into two parfait glasses, then pour 3 oz Vitafrute Coconut Colada over each. Top with a sprinkle of coconut flakes, then add a spoon and straw to enjoy.

 

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VitaFrute is teaming up with Kitchensurfing to give away a $1,000 and $500 towards a Kitchensurfing feast to make this a hassle-free holiday season! Imagine hosting that perfect holiday party without raising a finger or someone else preparing Christmas dinner for your family while you all focus on spending time together. You have until December 12th to pop over and enter for a chance to make this your best holiday season yet!

Disclaimer: I received product and compensation from VEEV Spirits. All words, opinions, and recipes are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush going!

Oct
29

Huddleson Linens

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While searching for a few things to get my Thanksgiving table ready for next month – the first ever held at my house! – I tripped across Huddleson Linens. Our busy lives make it easy to forget how important it can be to take the time to have a nice meal while sitting at the table instead of in front of the television (or laptop). Huddleson marries pure linens from Italy with modern designs to bring things into the 21st century with their suites of tablecloths, runners, placemats, and napkins. These are definitely heirloom quality pieces that are sure to last a lifetime and beyond.

 

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Oct
15

Countdown to Halloween

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Nope, not Christmas – autumn, October, and Halloween. October 31st has long been a big deal in my family, from great aunts and uncles creating haunted houses in their basements to massive trick or treating, it’s given me some of my best memories. This year feels a bit out of whack since I’m still trying to get my house together post move and figuring out where the movers put everything (and yes, where I put everything while unpacking). I have pumpkins and mums decorating my front porch and a few favorite spooky pieces indoors, but the majority is in the basement. I’m hoping to dig a few more decorations out before hundreds of trick or treaters descend on my neighborhood (from the realtor’s lips to my ears) the night of the 31st. But if you’re more together than I am here are twenty-two of Halloween best ideas for you to tackle!

 

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ROW 1: Pop-Up Table Runner // Black and White Anatomical Printables // DIY Ghostly Mirror Images
ROW 2: Printable Trick or Treat Color Block Labels + Box Template // Straw Spider Web Wreath
ROW 3: DIY Halloween Invitations // DIY Halloween Silhouette Pitcher // Black Cocktail Rimming Sugar
ROW 4: Paper Star Lantern with Spider Web Cutouts // Set of 5 Halloween Cards // DIY Printable Trick-or-Treat Bag Labels

 

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ROW 1: Skeleton Hand Card // DIY Monster Candy Box // Gooey Monster Eye Cookies    ROW 2: Printable Halloween Party Invitations // Haunted Doll House    ROW 3: Vanilla Bean Skull Cake // Poison Toffee Apples // Printable Vintage Halloween Banner    ROW 4: Skull-Shaped Japanese Sugar //  // DIY Skull Planter

Oct
03

Happy Weekend

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01/ A behind-the-scene’s look at the Crayola factory.
02/ Krispy Kreme’s UK division made a box of 2,400 donuts.
03/ Why not park your keychain in a mini garage?
04/ Help the homeless by buying a font made with their handwriting.
05/ A smart necklace that’s like a locket for the 21st century.
06/ Three cheers for net neutrality! Support it with this enamel pin.
07/ Ten modern tea pots and kettles for fall.
08/ Show off your photos with this affordable smartphone projector.
09/ A colorful, modern chess set that can be used in a multitude of ways.
10/ The Planets is a 12-part animated short film about an alien solar system.

This week on Design Crush:
Modern wooden jewelry from BOUND.
One of my favorite breakfast/dessert hybrids – the Spiced Apple + Granola Parfait.
Risque textile art from Sally Hewett.
Checking in on a personal note for September.
House of Cardboard is exactly what it sounds like.
Fun, modern dog collars from K9 Couture Co.
Creepy India ink forests by Pablo S. Herrero.
Beautifully clean home goods from Ladies & Gentlemen Studio.
Furthering my fall scarf obsession with Dealtry.

Sep
17

10 September DIYs

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CREPE-PAPER-PETAL-WALL-HANGING-Oh-Happy-Day-Design-Crush

 

GEMSTONE-PICTURE-FRAME-Poppytalk-Design-Crush

 

GEOMETRIC-ART-HEADBOARD-PANELS-A-Beautiful-Mess-Design-Crush

 

GEOMETRIC-CUBE-PAINTED-FLOOR-Little-Green-Notebook-Design-Crush

 

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Click on each image to go to the project.
All photos copyright of their respective sites unless otherwise noted.

Aug
18

12 August DIYs

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LEATHER-PILLOW-Vintage-Revivals-Design-Crush

 

METALLIC-LIGHTNING-BOLT-MOBILE-A-Beautiful-Mess-Design-Crush

 

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TEA-TOWEL-BEACH-BAG-The-House-That-Lars-Built-Design-Crush

 

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WATERCOLOR-STRIPED-NAPKINS-almost-makes-perfect-Design-Crush

 

WOODEN-CAMP-CHAIR-The-Merrythought-Design-Crush

Click on each image to go to the project.
All photos copyright of their respective sites unless otherwise noted.

Jul
16

12 July DIYs

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SHARPIE-WATERCOLOR-PILLOWS-HGTV-Design-Crush

NEON-ACRYLIC-FRAME-PLACE-CARDS-A-Fabulous-Fete-Design-Crush

GEOMETRIC-WOOD-TRIVETS-A-Beautiful-Mess-Design-Crush

COPPER-BAR-EARRINGS-almost-makes-perfect-Design-Crush

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SUMMER-POM-POM-THROW-Sugar-&-Cloth-Design-Crush

OMBRE-TWIG-WALL-HANGING-Grow-Creative-Design-Crush

KNOTTED-TASSEL-NECKPIECE-the-red-thread-Design-Crush

FOOTED-CANDY-JARS-Julep-Design-Crush

CONCRETE-DOOR-STOPPERS-Home-Made-Makeovers-Design-Crush

ALUMINUM-CHAIR-MAKEOVER-A-Beautiful-Mess-Design-Crush

Click on each image to go to the project.
All photos copyright of their respective sites unless otherwise noted.