The cats wanted to wish you all a very merry Christmas. All three of them: Sgt. Pepper, Desmond, and even Kalypso.
Here’s to a day full of friends, family, love, laughter, and delicious things. And being a good sport no matter what: even if someone plops you on a sheepskin blanket and forces you to wear a wee Santa hat.
Because that’s what the holidays are all about, right?
It’s crunch time people. The final days where stuffing your face with christmas cookies is still socially acceptable.
Milk it for all it’s worth.
I’ll admit I’ve made some pretty darn delicious cookies this year, but these may just be the best of the lot.
I first came across the elusive Mint Truffle Kiss during our excursion to Hershey’s kitchens. Where better to find these magical bites than where they were born? Anyway, a bag came home with me, although at the time I didn’t quite realize what I had discovered. I was, I think, expecting more of a minty flavored chocolate rather than a creme-de-menthe filled confection. They’re like Andes mints in the shape of Kisses. Once I realized this, well, let’s just say that bag didn’t last long.
Two Krogers, a Walgreens, and a Publix later… I had four more bags. And don’t be surprised if I make another run before they disappear for good.
I knew that I had to turn some of these Kisses into the ultimate Christmas cookie.
The cookie base I used is basically a soft chocolate sugar cookie. I’m not one to add cream cheese willy nilly to things (in fact, you could call me somewhat cream cheese averse,) but there isn’t a hint of it in the final cookie other than a delicate, pillowy texture that stays soft for days (not that they’ll last that long, but still).
I first set out to make a chocolate mint version of the classic Peanut Butter Blossom, but soon discovered that stuffing the cookies was where it’s at. They look all innocent on the outside, and then BAM! Mint truffle EXPLOSION.
Sorry for the outburst. I think all the sugar has gone to my head.
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Most of my holiday memories revolve around gingerbread in one way or another. My go-to gingerbread cookie recipe comes from my grandma, Bettie. Her cookies are satisfyingly spicy, and soft and chewy, just the way I like them. Granted, the recipe was incredibly cryptic when I first received a copy from my aunt. I’m talking about no time or temperature mentioned and vast variances in flour quantity from one version to the next. But I will never stray from her tried-and-true techniques. There’s more than just spice in those cookies: there’s love and tradition and family mixed into the dough as well.
This holiday season I’m thinking outside the cookie, first with gingerbread cookie dough truffles, and now with a festive twist on a soda fountain classic: the root beer float. Extending that love of gingerbread to the beverage category, I’ve replaced the root beer with vanilla cream soda and added a spiced molasses syrup that makes this drink taste like liquid gingerbread.
Imagine: a tall, frosty glass, overflowing with bubbly cream soda and spicy undertones of ginger, cinnamon and allspice. It’s a true crowd pleaser. Whether you’re a blender or a spooner, a straw sipper or a chugger, this float is sure to satisfy everyone. Not to mention that it takes almost no time at all to prepare, it may please you the most of all.
This was one of two holiday drink recipes we developed for the Spice Islands Flavor Explorer blog. The other? A refreshing Spiced Cranberry Spritzer, featuring a lightly spiced syrup, with subtle notes of allspice and star anise, in a fresh and bubbly beverage.
Looking for some simple and crowd-satisfying recipes for before/after the holidays? Hop on over to the Spice Islands blog, and check out our recipes for Mini Chicken-Ricotta Phyllo Pies and homemade taco seasoning.
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If you thought cookie dough ended with chocolate chip, well, I’m here to tell you otherwise. There are as many different kinds of cookie dough as there are, well, cookies. And pretty much all of them can be adapted into a safe-to-eat-raw version, perfect for dipping and turning into truffles.
I’ve done chocolate chip. Mexican chocolate. Inside out (they’re in the book). The basic recipe is so flexible and open to adaptations, the possibilities are endless. I envision snickerdoodle. Chocolate mint. Oatmeal raisin (minus the raisins, of course). Peanut butter with salted caramel (absolutely brilliant).
And now, gingerbread.
Just in the (Saint) Nick of time, too.
The recipe is a simple variation on the original, with added spices and molasses and dipped in white chocolate candy coating. Considering they were headed to the annual Nashville Food Blogger holiday shindig, the festive filling wasn’t quite enough. So I pulled a jar of edible glitter out of my sprinkle drawer (or was it my sprinkle cabinet?) and dusted the tops of the still wet coating with fresh, glittery, “snow.” I think they came out looking fabulously wintery. You could use holiday sprinkles of any sort for a festive touch (because everything is better with sprinkles, obviously).
Your holiday dessert table? Check and check.
Gingerbread cookie dough is entirely underrated, in fact, I’d argue that gingerbread cookie dough is even better than the cookies themselves (as is the case with most cookies; I think even Santa would agree with me here). But in this case, the dough itself is made from sugar and spice and everything nice, without a speck of raw egg and its associated risks and worries.
Make them now. You’ll thank me later.
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