Grinch Cocoa with Peppermint Marshmallows #ChristmasSweetsWeek

This post is sponsored in conjunction with ChristmasSweetsWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the ChristmasSweetsWeek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.

There are two things my four-year-old is loving this season: hot chocolate and the Grinch. I combined the two for him in this fun, festive treat.

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Welcome to #ChristmasSweetsWeek 2018 hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures! What better way to celebrate the holidays than with food and a fun giveaway? 44 bloggers from around the country have come together to share over 180 sweet Christmas recipes!! Deck the halls and get ready for very merry sweet treats, like fudge, cookies, Christmas morning breakfasts, layer cakes, martinis, cocoa, and more! Our #ChristmasSweetsWeek sponsors are helping us give away some great prizes. Thank you so much, Sponsors, for your generosity. We have an incredible giveaway below and would love if you would take a moment to read about it and what you can win!

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Prize #1 Dixie Crystals

Dixie Crystals is giving one winner a Keurig K-Select Single-Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker.

Since 1917, Dixie Crystals® has been the South’s choice for high-quality sugar and sweeteners. For generations, Dixie Crystals has been at the heart of family traditions and celebrations. Our pure cane, non-GMO sugar products guarantee that treasured family recipes will turn out right every time. Bake with love and Dixie Crystals.

Prize #2 Cabot Creamery Co-operative

Cabot is giving one winner a cheese gift set, including a Cabot Cheese slate cutting board, small cheese cleaver, Cabot custom Bee’s Wrap, an assortment of Cabot’s finest cheeses.

Cabot Creamery Co-operative, makers of naturally aged, award-winning cheeses and dairy products is owned by 1,000 dairy farm families in New England and New York.

Prize #3 LorAnn Oils & Flavors

LorAnn is giving one winner a collection of 6 LorAnn Bakery Emulsions, a collection of three LorAnn Oils vanilla extracts, a candy making cookbook, The Sweetapolita Bakebook, and a 12-unit variety pack of LorAnn super-strength candy oils.

Our flavors. Your creations. For over 50 years, LorAnn Oils has been supplying professionals and home chefs with the finest quality candy and baking flavors, essential oils, and specialty ingredients. Visit us at LorAnn Oils & Flavors to shop, learn, and discover new recipe ideas.

Prize #4 Joyjolt 

Joyjolt is giving one winner an Aurora Whiskey Decanter Set. Our Aurora Whiskey Decanter set has a timeless and sophisticated design that adds both class and style to any table. This set is hand made with top quality lead free crystal glass and cutting edge materials. The sets quality, design and upscale packaging makes the Aurora a perfect addition to your home, bar, hotel, restaurant, club or office. DRINK WITH JOY. ENJOY THE JOURNEY.

Here at JoyJolt we believe that so many of the moments you enjoy most include raising a glass. From the jolt you get from that first sip of coffee in the morning to toasting a milestone with close friends. Thats why we have created glassware equally as special and unique as your happiest moments.




Prize #5 Sweets & Treats

Sweets & Treats is giving one winner the Year of Sprinkles Box at a $150 value. It contains holiday mixes, classic sprinkles, and some of their most popular sprinkles.

Sweets & Treats, a party and baking supplies manufacturer and wholesaler, started out of a baking industry need for truly greaseproof cupcake liners. From there, the company expanded into a handful of specialized categories including the latest, Sweet Sprinkles, their one of a kind sprinkles and sprinkle mix line. With hundreds of truly unique products, they are a one stop shop for your next party!

Prize #6 Torani 

Torani is giving one winner a year supply of Torani: 12-750ml glass bottles, flavors will be winner’s choice, plus pumps for each bottle.

Torani inspires you to taste life, one flavorful experience at a time. Even though people all over the world recognize our iconic Torani bottle, we’ve remained a family-owned company — adhering to the high quality standards that Rinaldo and Ezilda set over 90 years ago. Each and every syrup, sauce, and smoothie is created with care and pride. Way back we started with just five syrups. Today, you can use more than 100 of our naturally flavored syrups, sauces and beverage bases in coffees, sodas, teas, smoothies, cocktails and more. And we’re excited to bring you new taste traditions and flavors as we move forward.

You can enter to win all of those fabulous prizes here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

#ChristmasSweetsWeek recipes:

Beverages:

Brownie Batter Hot Chocolate Mix from The Spiffy Cookie
Christmas Flip from Our Good Life
Easy Cranberry Orange Madras from Love and Confections
Glogg from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Grinch Cocoa with Peppermint Marshmallows from Kate’s Recipe Box
Salted Caramel Toffee Martini from Family Around the Table
Sparkling Snowfall Cocktail from Seduction in the Kitchen
Sugar Cookie Martini from The Redhead Baker

Breakfast:

Christmas Cranberry Bread from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Easy Cinnamon Roll Christmas Tree from Jonesin’ For Taste
Overnight Caramel French Toast from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen

Candies:

Cherry Mash Truffles from Strawberry Blondie Kitchen
Chocolate Covered Orange Cheesecake Truffles from Cooking with Carlee
Dark Chocolate Cherry & Peppermint Snowflake Bark from Sweet Beginnings
Grinch Fudge Topped Brownies from Big Bear’s Wife
Pineapple Upside Down Cake Fudge from Lady Behind the Curtain
Red Velvet Fudge from Live Love Texas

Desserts:

Black Forest Tiramisu Parfait from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Chocolate Bundt Cake from Juggling Act Mama
Chocolate Eggnog Cupcakes from The Crumby Kitchen
Christmas Chocolate Chip Sprinkles Butter Cookies from Moore or Less Cooking
Cookie Butter Pudding Cups from The Beard and The Baker
Cranberry Almond Ecstasy Bars from Tip Garden
Date Filled Cookies from Platter Talk
Easy Snickerdoodle Cake from Daily Dish Recipes
Eggnog Blossom Cookies from Blogghetti
Eggnog cookies from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
Gingerbread Cheesecake Trifle from My Suburban Kitchen
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Eggnog Buttercream from Tara’s Multicultural Table
Glazed Gingerbread Loaf from 4 Sons ‘R’ Us
Marbled Star Cookies from Eat Move Make
Mint Chip Cookies from The Mandatory Mooch
No Bake Peppermint Eggnog Pie from Who Needs A Cape?
Peppermint Shortbread from Cheese Curd in Paradise
Pepper Jelly Rugelach from Take Two Tapas
Red Velvet Whoopie Pies from April Golightly
Sugar Cookie Cheesecake from Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt
Toffee Thumbprint Cookies from The Bitter Side of Sweet
Ugly Sweater Cake from Mildly Meandering
Vanilla Yogurt Mousse with Cinnamon Apples from With Two Spoons
Vegan Hot Chocolate Layer Cake from The Baking Fairy
Winter Wonderland Snack Mix from An Affair from the Heart

This Grinch Cocoa is an easy treat that packs a big bunch of fun. Thanks to a little food coloring, this vanilla cocoa looks delightfully Grinch-y. And, of course, you need his heart to complete the look. These peppermint marshmallows cut with a heart-shaped cookie cutters are the perfect accompaniment! (And yes, I totally cut them in three sizes!)

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You’ll want to whip up the marshmallows in advance for this cocoa – but the good news is they can be made up to three weeks ahead of time. That means you can make them today and they’ll still be awesome for Christmas!

The cocoa itself is quick and easy – only about a 10 minute time investment. With the marshmallows made ahead, this is an easy treat to whip up during a party or while baking cookies.

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The Torani vanilla syrup adds just the right sweetness and flavor to the cocoa, and the marshmallows melt in to create a fantastic peppermint layer on the top. And these mugs from JoyJolt show off the fun colors perfectly!

This is a drink you’ll definitely want to add to your holiday list!

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Grinch Cocoa with Peppermint Marshmallows
(adapted from Big Bear’s Wife and Beantown Baker)
Serves 8

For the marshmallows:
3 pkgs. unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
12 oz. sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. peppermint extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Nonstick spray
Red food coloring

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the gelatin. Pour 1/2 cup of cold water over.

Spray a 9×13″ pan with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch. Dust the sprayed pan, making sure everything is covered. Tap excess into a bowl.

In a small saucepan, mix together remaining water, 12 oz. sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cover, and cook over medium-high heat for 4 minutes. Uncover, and place a candy thermometer into the pot. When the mixture reaches 240 degrees, remove from heat immediately.

Using the whisk attachment on the stand mixer, slowly pour the cooked sugar mixture into the gelatin while mixing on low speed. When all added, increase the speed to high and beat for 12-15 minutes, until thick and lukewarm.

During the last minute, add in the extract and food coloring.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Spread out evenly and dust the top with the reserved sugar and cornstarch mixture. Let sit uncovered for at least 4 hours.

Turn out onto a cutting board and cut into hearts using a cookie cutter. Dust all sides with remaining powdered sugar and cornstarch.

Finished marshmallows can be stored in an airtight container for up to three weeks.

For the cocoa:
6 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
16 oz. chopped white chocolate
6 Tbsp. Torani Vanilla Syrup
Green food coloring

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, heavy cream and white chocolate, stirring often, until the white chocolate is melted and fully incorporated. Stir in the Torani Vanilla Syrup. Add food coloring until desired color is reached.

Serve topped with peppermint marshmallows.

Grinch Cocoa

Thank you ChristmasSweetsWeek Sponsors: Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Lorann Oils & Flavors, Torani, Joyjolt, and Sweets & Treats Boutique for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for ChristmasSweetsWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The ChristmasSweetsWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Six (6) winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The ChristmasSweetsWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the ChristmasSweetsWeek posts or entry.

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Apple Cinnamon Cake #appleweek

This post is sponsored in conjunction with AppleWeek . I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the AppleWeek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.

I’m wrapping up #appleweek today with the simplest dish of the week – and my personal favorite.

One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that while the over-the-top, super involved recipes can be really fun, simple recipes with great ingredients are often just as good – if not better.

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This cake falls into the super simple category. The whole thing takes just about 10 minutes to prep, and instead of something super polished, it’s got the rustic beauty thing going for it.

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And honestly, it’s delicious. This is the perfect cake to pair with a hot cup or tea or coffee, a book, and some of this crisp fall air.  Who wants a slice?

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Also, now that you’ve seen all the apple goodness, be sure to pop over and enter to win some amazing prizes from #appleweek sponsors! You can enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Apple Cinnamon Cake
(adapted from Skimbaco Lifestyle)
Makes 1 9″ Cake

3 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup + 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1 large apple
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract (I used Rodelle)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Powdered sugar

Preheat the oven 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9″ baking pan and set aside.

Peel, core, and slice the apple. In a bowl, toss the apple slices with 2 Tbsp. sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, until evenly coated.

Using an electric mixer, beat together the eggs, flour, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange the cinnamon-sugar coated apple slices on top, pushing them down just slightly.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for several minutes, then remove from the pan and dust with powdered sugar.

Fresh Corn Salsa (12)

Out with a bang! Check out these Saturday Recipes:

 

Disclaimer: Thank you AppleWeek Sponsors: Swiss Diamond, Nordic Ware, Envy Apples, Imperial Sugar, The Spice House, Rodelle Vanilla, Flahavan’s Irish Oats and Nairn’s for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for AppleWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The AppleWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Seven (7) winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The AppleWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the AppleWeek posts or entry.

What’s Baking: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

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This month’s What’s Baking theme, hosted by Sandra from She Cooks and Bakes, is favorite childhood treats with a modern twist. My favorite childhood treat, hands down, was chocolate chip cookies. I loved coming home from school to find fresh baked chocolate chip cookies for snack. Sometimes, Mom would even make them before school and we’d get them in our lunches. Cookie days were always awesome days.

Making pumpkin chocolate chip cookies seemed like the perfect twist, considering the season and how popular everything pumpkin is now. It also seemed appropriate since I wouldn’t touch pumpkin as a kid, but as an adult I’m loving the flavor. These are a perfect, more grown-up version of one of my childhood favorites.

PumpkinChocolateChipCookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
(from Cooks.com)
Makes about 2 dozen

1 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Line two cookie sheets.

Dissolve the baking soda in milk. Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the pumpkin, sugar, oil and egg until well combined. Add in flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt, baking soda mixture and mix well. Stir in vanilla until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop by tablespoon-full onto the cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until beginning to brown around the edges. Remove from oven and let cook for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container. These are best enjoyed the next day.

Mini Chocolate Thin Mint Cookie Pies

It’s Girl Scout Cookie season. They’ve had booths set up at the grocery stores and the mall and I seem to buy a box every time I walk by. You have to stock up while you have the chance!

I made these for a causal dinner party because they seemed so seasonally appropriate. They’re super quick and easy to put together and are a great combination of chocolate and mint. If you like Thin Mints, you’ll love these.

Don’t have a box of Thin Mints handy? You can search for a Girl Scout Cookie sale in your area here.

ThinMintCookiePies

Mini Chocolate Thin Mint Cookie Pies
(adapted from foodie crush)
Makes 12 mini pies

2 packages mini graham cracker pie crusts
1 (3.4 oz.) package chocolate instant pudding and pie filling
2 c. frozen whipped topping
18-20 Thin Mint cookies, about 1 1/2 sleeves or 1 1/4 cup, crumbled, plus more for topping

Prepare pudding according to package directions and set in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to set up.

Mix the prepared pudding and 1 1/2 cups whipped topping together. Fold in the crumbled cookies. Divide pudding mix between pie shells. Top with remaining whipped topping and addtional cookies.

Refrigerate for at least a half hour before serving.

Toffee Almond Magic Cookie Bars

I made another batch of Monster Magic Cookie Bars for my latest Operation Baking GALS package. I had enough graham crackers and sweetened condensed milk for a second batch – but not the M&Ms, so I raided my baking stash to see what over combos I could come up with.

The result was these toffee almond bars. They were fantastic. I think I like these better than the monster ones!

Toffee Almond Magic Cookie Bars
(adapted from Something Swanky)

9 full graham crackers
4 T. butter, melted
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 c. mini chocolate chips
3/4 c. toffee bits
1/2 c. sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Grease a 9×13″ baking pan and line with parchment.

Crush graham crackers into crumbs using a food processor or rolling pin. Mix in melted butter until well-combined. Press crumbs into lined baking dish.

Evenly pour the sweetened condensed milk over the graham cracker layer. Sprinkle the chocolate chips, toffee bits and almonds evenly over the sweetened condensed milk. Gently press in a little.

Bake for 30 minutes or until browned and pulling away from the edges of the pan. Let cool completely before cutting.