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.

Grinch Cocoa 3

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!

CSW logo IMG_0786

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!)

Grinch Cocoa 4

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.

Grinch Cocoa 1

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!

Grinch Cocoa 2

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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Cream Cheese Buttons with a Dark Chocolate Drizzle #ChristmasCookies

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

If you make up holiday cookie trays, you know there are two types of cookies: “showpieces” and “fillers”. Your showpieces are the eye-catching ones – the iced sugar cookies, the ones rolled in sprinkles or dusted with peppermint. Your fillers are the cookies that make up “everything else”.

These are fillers.

Cream Cheese Buttons 3

The thing about fillers is they’re unassuming. It’s probably not the cookie you grab off the tray first, but my goal is always to make my fillers delicious. These fillers absolutely fit the bill.

The combo of cream cheese and vanilla give these cookies the best flavor  – and the texture is almost melt-in-your-mouth. Topped off with a drizzle of dark chocolate, these unassuming cookies will vie for your favorite without a doubt.

I flavored these with Adams Best Vanilla Flavor, which was provided by sponsor Adams Extract. It added an amazing vanilla flavor. I’m planning to make a repeat batch of these later in the season replacing the vanilla with the peppermint extract they also sent. I think it’s going to be amazing topped off with dark chocolate again and sprinkled with crushed candy cane pieces!

Cream Cheese Buttons 2

Today is the last day of #ChristmasCookiesWeek – I hope you all found some great inspiration for your holiday baking this week! There’s another batch of awesome cookie recipes below – and if you haven’t already entered the giveaway, take a minute and do so! There are a whole bunch of great products, including an amazing pack of baking goodies from Adams Extract. You can enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#ChristmasCookiesWeek Friday Recipes

Cream Cheese Buttons 1

Cream Cheese Buttons with a Dark Chocolate Drizzle
(adapted from Caramel Potatoes)
Makes 3 dozen

2 sticks butter
3 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract (I used Adam’s Best Vanilla Flavor)
2 1/2 cups flour
4 oz. dark chocolate

In a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, cream butter, cream cheese, and sugar together until well blended.  Beat in egg yolk and vanilla extract.  Gradually blend in flour until completely incorporated.

Chill for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Scoop by heaping teaspoon-fulls onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Press down slightly.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove and let cool completely.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave on half power. Drizzle over the cookies with a fork and let cool completely again.

Cream Cheese Buttons with a Dark Chocoalte Drizzle

Disclaimer: Thank you #ChristmasCookiesWeek sponsors: Adams Extract, Sprinkle Pop, YumGoggle and Silpat for providing the prizes free of charge. The #ChristmasCookiesWeek 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. Four (4) winners will be selected at random from entries received. The prize packages will be fulfilled by and sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. #ChristmasCookiesWeek 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 are not eligible to 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 #ChristmasCookiesWeek posts or entry.

Iced Cutout Cookies #ChristmasCookies

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

Until relatively recently, cutout cookies really intimidated me. Now, they’ve become one of my favorite kitchen projects.

Cutout Cookies 1

I think my breakthrough was being able to let go of the expectation of perfect. I adore those perfectly-frosted cookies, but that’s just not in my wheelhouse right now. Luckily, these cookies taste just as good and are just as fun without a perfect icing job.

I was so excited when sponsor YumGoogle offered to send cookie cutters – it meant the perfect opportunity to share my go-to recipe.

I love that this icing works when piping or just spread. I piped on the icing for the snow-covered trees, while the kids spread the colored icing for their trees.

Honestly, there was nothing fancy going on here. My icing tips have gone MIA with the move, so my trees were just made with icing in a sandwich bag with the tip cut off. After the green dried a bit, I added the white “snow” and sprinkled with white sanding sugar. I really love the rustic-looking result.

For the kids, I coloring the icing a few different colors and let them go to town. After the icing was spread, they sprinkled as desired. They loved it, and their results were adorable (and delicious!)

Cutout Cookies 3

Don’t forget about the great giveaways that are part of Christmas Cookie week! There are prizes from all #ChristmasCookiesWeek sponsors, including a pack of cookie cutters from YumGoogle! You can enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

#ChristmasCookiesWeek Tuesday Recipes

Cutout Cookies 2

Iced Cutout Cookies
(adapted slightly from >Semi Sweet Designs)
Makes about 18 3 1/2″ cookies

For the cookies:
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. salt
3 cups flour

For the icing:
2 1/2 Tbsp. meringue powder
1 1/2 tsp. light corn syrup
1/2  tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup water
1 lb. powdered sugar

In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Mix until fluffy.

Add in the egg, salt, and extracts and mix until well combined.

Add in the flour, a little at a time, until well mixed.

Roll out the dough between pieces of baking parchment to 1/4″ thick. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Cut out the shapes once the dough is hard to the touch. Place on parchment. If the dough has started to soften, chill for another 30 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes, until the edges just start to brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

When the cookies are completely cool, make the icing.

In a mixer, combine the meringue powder, corn syrup, vanilla, and water. Whisk by hand until foamy.

Add the powdered sugar and hand-whisk until incorporated, then beat with the paddle attachment on medium-high for about 5 minutes, until the icing forms peaks. Add food coloring as desired.

Iced Cutout Cookies

Disclaimer: Thank you #ChristmasCookiesWeek sponsors: Adams Extract, Sprinkle Pop, YumGoggle and Silpat for providing the prizes free of charge. The #ChristmasCookiesWeek 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. Four (4) winners will be selected at random from entries received. The prize packages will be fulfilled by and sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. #ChristmasCookiesWeek 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 are not eligible to 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 #ChristmasCookiesWeek posts or entry.

Pina Colada Popsicles + Win a bottle of Nielsen-Massey Vanilla! #NielsenMasseyInspires

Disclosure: I received complimentary products in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.

It is finally starting to feel like spring around here. I actually left the house without a coat last week! It also means I’m starting to pack away my “winter” meals – soups, stews, pot pies – in favor of grilled dishes and frozen desserts. When Nielsen-Massey asked if I wanted to try out one of their vanillas, I knew exactly which one I’d be itching to try.

Pina Colada Popsicles

Tahitian vanilla is perfect in cold applications like ice cream – and these popsicles. They’re seriously like an island vacation on a stick!

These are the perfect creamy combo of pineapple and coconut. I added just a little rum to give it the traditional pina colada feel (and make them fun for the adults!), but you could use rum extract or omit it and these would still be fantastic.

Nielsen-Massey Vanilla

Want to win your own bottle of Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract? Nielsen-Massey is offering one up to a lucky reader! Click here to enter —> a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pina Colada Popsicles

Creamy Pina Colada Popsicles
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes 8 popsicles

1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, finely chopped
1/3 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
1 tsp. Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp. gold rum, optional
1 cup whipping cream

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Use a stick blender (or pour into a regular blender!) and blend until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze overnight.

 

Cherry Vanilla Coke Poke Cake #CookoutWeek

Every good cookout needs a fun dessert – and this is my new favorite.

Cherry Vanilla Coke just reminds me of summer so I was smitten when I saw this cake. It really does capture the flavors nicely. It was my first time making a poke cake, but I have to say I’m hooked. It was so moist! I made this a day ahead and it was perfect on the day of our cookout.

I also loved how easy this was to put together. I always plan ambitious menus for our cookouts so having something this easy was a definite bonus!

CherryVanillaCokePokeCake

Cherry Vanilla Coke Poke Cake
(from The Recipe Critic)
Makes 1 9×13″ cake

1 French vanilla cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare
1 large box cherry flavored Jello
12 oz. Coca Cola
1/2 cup cold water
1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 container frozen whipped topping, thawed
Chocolate sprinkles and maraschino cherries, for topping

Prepare the cake according to package directions. Once baked, let cool for 15 minutes and then use the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes about 1 inch apart all over the cake.

In a bowl, combine the Jello mix, coke and water. Whisk until dissolved and then pour slowly over the cake, filling up the holes as much as possible. Refrigerate for at least half hour.

After the cake is chilled, combine the pudding mix and milk. Whisk until thoroughly combined then stir in vanilla. Fold in the whipped topping and then ice the cake. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

When ready to serve, top with sprinkles and cherries.