Pastry Chef Meghan McGarry has garnered acclaim for her trademark dessert makeovers. (Source: Buttercream Blondie)
"It's classic Buttercream Blondie, because I'm taking something like a chocolate cupcake, which is familiar, and giving it a makeover," McGarry says of her Oscar-inspired chocolate and goat cheese cupcake. (Source: Buttercream Blondie)
McGarry's potato chip cookies are inspired by a childhood recipe baked by her grandmother, Nan. (Source: Buttercream Blondie)
Tri-color cookies are a staple of New York bakeries and a favorite of McGarry, who is a Bronx native. (Source: Buttercream Blondie)
At the Oscars, gray, white and black gowns pulled from the color palette of this year's best film: The Artist. But the true trend of this year's red carpet was intricate beading and embroidery work. More >>
At the Oscars, gray, white and black gowns pulled from the color palette of this year's best film: The Artist. But the true trend of this year's red carpet was intricate beading and embroidery work. And, at times, a rare splash of color shone through. More >>
BOSTON (RNN) - The film industry's biggest stars will gather this Sunday, where they will be praised for their hard work with golden statues of a man named Oscar.
At the millions of viewing parties across the country a very different kind of reward is being passed out: dessert.
In honor of Hollywood's Super Bowl, the Raycom News Network turned to Meghan McGarry, expert pastry chef and Buttercream Blondie blogger, to create a recipe sure to win accolades from even the most hard-to-please party guests.
"Conceptually with this dessert, I set out to create something fun," McGarry says of her creation. "I wanted it to be a party on a plate."
"My inspiration was Hollywood's biggest night itself," McGarry says. "I wanted something that was elegant, charming and luscious. And it had to be red-carpet ready."
The creation is another of the glamorous makeovers McGarry gives to traditional desserts - in this case basic cake combined with hints of cheese and wine - one exuding all the charm of the early age of Hollywood.
"At the end of the day, my mantra is always flirt with desserts," McGarry says. "I want people to get in the kitchen, have fun and push their boundaries like with this goat cheese frosting."
Goat cheese is one of McGarry's favorite ingredients for amping up desserts, and it's also the centerpiece of this delicious cupcake.
"The goat cheese frosting is like the main star of the this show. The chocolate cupcake and the red wine reduction play the supporting roles," the pastry chef says. "They each hold their own, but combined they create a smash hit, just like at the box office."
Together, the two colors - black and white - evoke memories of the film pundits say will walk away with this year's best picture prize: The Artist, a colorless movie that pays tribute to Hollywood's silent movie era.
The Artist has provided the inspiration for the vintage red carpet looks seen throughout the pre-Oscar awards season, especially at the Golden Globes, where old Hollywood looks like Angelina Jolie's frosted white Altier Versace sculpted gown finished with a bold red accent transported onlookers back to the early days of the motion picture industry.
An eye-popping red accent is also visible in McGarry's cupcake, which is finished with a sweet red wine drizzle, an ingredient which elevates an already sophisticated cupcake to a whole new level.
"Aesthetically, I wanted it to be glamorous yet refined. Once I drizzled the red wine reduction over the cupcake, that was it," McGarry says of the moment she finished the dessert. "It didn't need another thing."
For McGarry, the drizzle conjures up images of the red carpet, where the fashion lover's favorite Oscar moments happen.
Why a cupcake?
While there were many options for desserts, McGarry chose a cupcake because it is both pre-portioned and a finger-food.
"I made a cupcake, because it's great party food," the chef said. "No matter what kind of party you're hosting, they fit in."
They're also easy to transport. McGarry, for example, is attending a large Oscar party at a friend's apartment in Boston, where she is in charge of making the sweets.
"I'm not going to be lugging around a plate of desserts," McGarry says. "These are easy to take along for the ride."
The pastry chef plans to serve her cupcakes in gold baking cups, which will allow each partygoer to feel like they're receiving their very own Academy Award.
There's a cookie for every film
For those planning their Oscar party menus around the best picture nominees, McGarry recommends two of her blog's most popular cookies.
"Cookies are really good to have at a party," she says. "Everyone always has room for a cookie."
First, McGarry suggests pairing her "Nan's potato chip cookies" with Moneyball. The film centers around Billy Beane, the real-life general manager of the Oakland A's, who assembles a winning team despite a lack of revenue. Beane, portrayed by Hollywood giant Brad Pitt, uses a computer-based approach to draft his players.
"Potato chips are an all-American food just like our all-American pastime," McGarry says of her choice.
The treats can also be upgraded by adding a dark chocolate glaze.
"They're really good as is. But I have dipped them in chocolate, and that's amazing," the chef says. "It dresses them up a little, and it really adds to that salty-sweet contrast."
McGarry also recommends pairing her tri-color cookies with Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close as an ode to the New York City of her childhood.
"I think that these cookies are great, because they really say 'New York,'" the Bronx native says.
In the Oscar-nominated film, Oskar Schell (newcomer Thomas Horn) scours New York City with a key his father left behind in a vase, desperately trying to find the lock it opens. Oskar's dad died in the Twin Towers on 9/11, and his journey with mom Linda (Academy Award-winner Sandra Bullock), captures the collective grief of an entire city. Those relationships are what inspire McGarry's pairing.
"On special occasions as a child, my mom would always reward me by taking me to the bakery. It was something special that we shared together," she says of her childhood memories. "Tri-color cookies are in just about every bakery you walk into in New York City."
While Hollywood captures her emotions this Oscar Sunday, McGarry, says New York will always have her heart.
"That's where I'm from. That's who I am," she says. "I'm a New Yorker."