At every party, I like to surprise my guests with a little something different and unique…and maybe even unexpected. At the How to Train Your Dragon party the surprise came in form of some ordinary party munchies–the broccoli from the veggie tray. Rather than pile them on a platter or fill a bowl, I made a topiary Broccoli Tree or two for our little guests.
While you’d think kids would totally scoff at broccoli at a birthday, that wasn’t true. When you present kids food in an interesting or novel way, most times they’re apt to at least try it. And when you put something like this at an adult party? Ooohs and aahs. Broccoli Trees are a win-win no matter who you serve them to! Around Christmastime these trees would be great studded with some grape-tomato ornaments and a yellow bell pepper star.
- 9-inch styrofoam cone
- Wax paper
- 1 box toothpicks
- 2 1/2 heads of broccoli
Step 1: Wrap your cone! To make this project food-safe, we need to wrap the cone in something so it’s ok to have the broccoli touch it. I used wax paper; it’s pliable enough to easily pierce with all those toothpicks we’re going to punch through it later. Just roll the paper around the cone until its completely covered. Once you’re finished, hot-glue the end down to secure the waxed paper. On the bottom of the cone, fold the ends of the paper in as if you were wrapping a present to neatly tuck the extras under the cone. You can tape or glue to keep the ends down. If you have any extra wax paper left up top, fold it over so it covers the tip then cut off the excess. This part will stay down on its own once there’s a few toothpicks up there.
Step 2: Chopping broccoli. The easiest way to cut the broccoli to make the trees is to cut the stems relatively short. You use less broccoli this way, and it will fill up your cone more quickly. After you’ve trimmed your veggies down to manageable bites, you’re ready for toothpicks.Take a regular old toothpick and stick one end in the bottom of each piece of broccoli. As you go up the cone and the cone gets smaller, you can break a single toothpick in half to use.
Step 3: Assembly! Starting at the bottom, push each broccoli into the cone. You’ll want to make sure the broccoli is bunched in rather tight so all the white spaces are filled. All the small pieces that might have been cut off the broccoli head are perfect for the top of the cone (and for filling in any holes you might have left!) Keep placing your toothpicked broccoli into the cone form until it is entirely filled. When you’re serving up your tree, consider a variety of veggie dips for your guests, or small individual servings of ranch dip.This is a pretty easy party food project; it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes or so to put together, but will make a big impact on your party food table!