ALL POSTS IN Entertaining

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To say I love peanut butter would be an understatement. My life motto might as well be “When life hands you a recipe, add peanut butter to it.” In honor of National Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day, I share my favorite recipes (aside from the obvious peanut butter pie, of course) where this rich, creamy ingredient is the hero. You won’t be disappointed, fellow peanut butter lovers!

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe - Food Network

Recipe Courtesy of Food Network

You can’t go wrong with something classic and simple. This recipe requires an entire cup of smooth, creamy peanut butter that will make your tastebuds happy. Get the full recipe here>>

Try 4 More Peanut Butter Recipes

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I’m probably not the only one out there that’s feeling the winter blues (This does not apply to you, California folks!). Unfortunately, the groundhog saw his shadow, so it looks like we have a little more than two weeks of winter left. Thankfully, there is one solution to bringing some sunshine to these gloomy days — a party! You don’t need an excuse like a birthday, the holidays or a summer barbecue to get your friends together. You can throw one just because it’s winter and you feel like it. Who’s with me? We’ve rounded up our favorite winter party essentials that will keep your guests happy, cozy and ready to party.

Winter Party Guide

1. Sweater Napkin Ring / 2. Glitter Hair Pins / 3. Greek Chili / 4. Winter Sunset Cocktail / 5. Hot Chocolate Party Favors

1. Decorate With This: Sweater Napkin Rings. Knits are an easy, festive way to add warmth to your party decor. If you have a sweater collecting dust in your closet, cut small sections from it and sew the ends together to make cute, upcycled napkin rings. If you know how to sew a button, then this craft will be a cinch. Get 15 more ways to decorate with an old sweater>>

2. Wear This: Glitter Hair Pins. My favorite way to fight the winter blues is through sparkle and color. Dress up your LBD with glitter hair pins. Slide bobby pins on a scrap piece of paper to keep them stable. Apply a thin line of craft glue on top of the pin, sprinkle a generous amount of glitter and allow to dry. You’ll want to plan a grand entrance while wearing this fab hair accessory.

3. Eat This: Greek ChiliKeep your guests happy by filling their bellies with comfort food. One of the easiest hearty meals to make is chili, and today just happens to be National Chili Day. This Greek version makes a big batch, so your guests can go back for seconds…or thirds. I’m not one to judge. Get the recipe here>>

4. Sip This: Winter Sunset CocktailThe combination of coconut-flavored rum, white crème de cacao and coffee-flavored Jamaican rum will warm your guests right up. Go the extra mile by topping it off with warm whipped cream. Get the full recipe here>>

5. Make This: Hot Chocolate Spoon FavorsWinter won’t be over after your party, unfortunately. Send your friends home with delicious hot chocolate spoons, so they can continue the party in their own home. Get the full instructions here>>

Stay safe and warm, friends! What’s on your list of winter party essentials?

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As most of the U.S. can attest, this winter has packed a wallop — and not just in the Northeast. Here at HGTV Headquarters in relatively balmy Knoxville, Tenn., we’re experiencing record low temperatures and plenty of ice and snow. Brrrr….!

Snowy Landscape

So, what do you do when life gives you snow? Make margaritas, of course!

Snow Day Margaritas Recipe
Truth be told, my mixologist skills are a bit rusty; thankfully margaritas are a snap — just four basic ingredients that you can take to the next level with add-ins to suit your taste.

Ready to turn freshly fallen snow into a taste of summer? Here’s the recipe:

Snow Day Margaritas
Serves 2

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup citrus juice (orange, lime or lemon)
  • tequila
  • clean, fresh snow
  • citrus fruit, for garnish

1. Create a simple syrup by adding water and sugar to a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar completely dissolves, then remove pot from heat.

2. Transfer simple syrup to a small bottle or pitcher and allow to cool. Add citrus juice and a second cup of water to thin the syrup a bit.

3. Fill glasses to the brim with fresh snow, add syrup mixture and a splash (or two!) of your favorite tequila. Garnish with a citrus wedge and enjoy!

We’d love to know: What’s your favorite snow day tradition or activity? Let us know in the comments below.

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After being iced indoors most of last week, all I can think about is being somewhere warm. No, HOT. I want sand between my toes and condensation on the glass of a tropical drink. Speaking of which, today is National Margarita Day! It may be frigid out, but I’m not passing up a frozen concoction (that helps me hang on).

Raspberry Margarita Recipe

Photo + Recipe Courtesy of Casa Noble Tequila

Raspberry Margarita
Serves 1

  • 1 1/2 ounces Casa Noble Crystal Tequila
  • 3/4 ounce raspberry simple syrup*
  • 1/2 ounce ginger liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • rosemary sprig, for garnish
  • black pepper

Combine tequila, lime juice, ginger liqueur, agave and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker, and shake well. Pour over ice into a Collins glass, and sprinkle fresh ground pepper on top. Garnish with a rosemary sprig.

*For the Raspberry Simple Syrup: Combine 1/4 pound of raspberries with 1/4 cup of sugar and bring to a boil. Strain and push through a fine sieve. Reserve.

More recipes to try:

How are you celebrating National Margarita Day? With an ice-cold margarita … indoors … sheltered from the snow? Or maybe you’ll be hanging from a hammock somewhere warm with a bevvy in hand? Tell us below!

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One year I’m dressed up, sipping cocktails and crying during acceptance speeches, and the next year I’m eating popcorn in my PJs like, “Who is that? What are these movies?” In 2014 I was an avid moviegoer, so I can’t wait to see who goes home with that golden statuette in hand. If you ever needed an excuse for throwing a party (and dressing up!), the Oscars is it. Here are our essentials for ending award show season in style.

Oscar Night Party Ideas1. ModCloth 2. Amazon 3. Cocktail, HGTV 4. Decor, HGTV 5. Recipe, HGTV 6. DIY, HGTV

1. Wear This: Dancer’s Delight Dress. This LBD is perfect for holding champagne flutes and twirling for no reason. Plus, it’s the ideal outfit for judging all the designer ensembles strutting down the red carpet. Hey, if you can’t be there in Vera Wang, you might as well be the Fashion Police, amiright?

2. Listen to This: Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack. Star-Lord has incredible taste in music. If I were defending the universe, I’d probably keep some nice background tunes going, too. If you haven’t popped this mix in, it’s filled with the unique 1970s tracks that are featured throughout the film as part of the plot line. Good luck not dancing.

3. Sip This: Fizzy Lizzy Cocktail. Champagne is essential on Oscar night. The celebs will be drinking it, so you should, too. Transform your basic bottle of Champagne by mixing in homemade margarita mix. Rim the glass with raspberry sugar and drop in some raspberries. Pop! Fizz! Clink!

4. Decorate With This: Oscar Party Elements. Gold, glitter, tinsel, confetti and sparkle say “Hollywood Glamour.” We say, go glitter crazy.

5. Eat This: Feta, Mint & Watermelon Bites. Keep it simple. Fresh watermelon and feta appetizers flavored with red wine vinegar and mint pair well with your champagne cocktail. Plus, they look gorgeous, too.

6. Make This: DIY Glitter Nails. Who has time to hit the salon these days? (Maybe my priorities are all wrong. Lookin’ at you, Netflix.) Give your nails a chic, salon look without the cost by using materials you likely have in your craft drawer. Paint your nails with clear polish, and while they’re still wet, cover liberally with fine glitter. Once dry, shake off to remove any excess glitter, then apply a top coat of clear polish to seal in the glitter. Lastly, show off throughout the night.

More Oscar Inspo:

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Happy Fat Tuesday, everyone! Today marks the last day of the Carnival season, but the party is just getting started. Parades have been flowing through the streets of New Orleans since early this month, and floats are still making their way through with trinkets and treats in tow. Today’s final night of celebrations will surely be filled with lots of beads, booze and King Cake. (Jealous!)

If you’re stuck, well, not in the Big Easy, then we have eight delicious ways to bring the taste of N’awlins to wherever you may be. Just grab some beads, mix up a hurricane and (mentally) head down South.

Cajun-Style Gumbalaya

Take a trip to New Orleans with this Cajun-inspired dish. It’s a cross between gumbo and spicy jambalaya that’s perfect for those who just can’t decide which Louisiana entree they want. Get the recipe >> 

Shrimp Gumbo

Shrimp Gumbo Recipe

This spicy Cajun gumbo gets most of its flavor from the dark roux and its thickness from the herb file. Onions, celery and green peppers, major ingredients in both Creole and Cajun cooking, add flavor and substance to the shrimp and sausage stew. Get the recipe from FoodNetwork.com >>

More Big Easy Bites

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No matter how you plan to spend Valentine’s Day (or with whom), it’s probably fair to assume there will be chocolate involved. Make it dark chocolate for a healthier sweet treat you’ll L-O-V-E.

Dark chocolate and cocoa are packed with antioxidants, a powerful agent against free radicals, which have been linked to serious conditions such as cancer and heart disease. So indulge in these dark chocolate recipes with your beau or a friend, and they could help protect your heart, even if it gets broken.

Smoldering Heart Dark Chocolate Cookies

heart shaped chocolate cookies

Image courtesy of The View From Great Island

These heart-shaped cookies stand out among the rest. Ditch the pink icing or red sprinkles, and opt for a more “smoldering” dark chocolate look. Cayenne powder in the shortbread cookie adds just the right amount of heat, and smoked paprika on the icing spices things up even more.

Get the full recipe at The View From Great Island

Dark Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Bars

oatmeal chocolate bars

Image courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

This treat may be having an identity crisis: Is it a bar? A cookie? A brownie? But, who cares! They are healthy thanks to filling fiber in the oats, those antioxidants in the dark chocolate, and the recipe calls for coconut oil (jury still out on the potential benefits, there). Plus, they’re done in just 30 minutes flat!

Get the full recipe at Half Baked Harvest

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake

chocolate cake

Image courtesy of Heather Christo

Looking at this decadent dark chocolate cake with chocolate-espresso icing you’d NEVER be able to guess its secret ingredient. Zucchini helps keep the cake super moist, and it’s a sneaky way to meet your veggie quota.

Get the full recipe from Heather Christo

Chocolate Dipped Fruit

chocolate dipped fruit

Image Courtesy of Marla Meridith

It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without a chocolate covered strawberry or five, but don’t discriminate against other fruit that taste equally delish dipped in the good stuff. Create a different kind of bouquet by dipping various berries in melted dark chocolate—blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries were all used here. Stick them on the end of a skewer, and place in a vase for easy access to healthy snacking.

Get the full recipe at Family Fresh Cooking

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites

chocolate covered banana and peanut butter

Image Courtesy of Smile Sandwich

I personally love a recipe that calls for items you likely have in the cupboard already. Enter these bite-sized treats that have just four ingredients. Potassium from the bananas, protein from the nut butter, and antioxidants from the dark chocolate come together for a unique homemade sweet to share with whomever you choose.

Get the full recipe at Smile Sandwich

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People celebrate Valentine’s Day many different ways. You may be throwing a big bash, planning a romantic dinner for two or possibly even throwing an anti-Valentine’s Day party. Either way, these all have one thing in common: cocktails. No matter how you feel about this holiday, we can all agree that cocktails are inevitable this Saturday. We’ve listed our favorites that work for any Valentine’s Day celebration.

Sumac Me Smile

Boodles Gin Sumac Surprise

  • 2 ounces Boodles Gin
  • 3/4 ounce pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce sumac syrup*
  • dash grapefruit bitters
  • splash of club soda
  • lemon peel, for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice and shake vigorously. Pour over fresh ice in a rocks glass, and add a splash of club soda. Garnish with a long lemon peel.

*To make one quart sumac syrup, bring 16 ounces water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add six tablespoons ground sumac. Steep 10 minutes. Add 16 ounces white granulated sugar, and stir until dissolved. Let steep overnight, then strain through fine mesh.

4 More Cocktails You’ll Love

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In case you’ve somehow missed the near-constant barrage of jewelry, chocolate and flower commercials: Valentine’s Day is this Saturday! And, if you’re like me, any excuse to indulge my sweet tooth is a good one so I say Bring. It. On.

While store-bought treats are certainly delicious, nothing shows the depth of your affection quite like homemade goodies. Unleash your inner foodie and whip up one of these five decadent delights that are sure to make this Valentine’s Day your sweetest yet:

These artful cookies look time-consuming but decorating them couldn’t be easier. Get Marianne’s easy-to-follow video tips for icing like a pro plus her cookie recipe.

How to Make Beautiful Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies

Mmmmm…..chocolate! Truly, is there any flavor more craveable, more decadent? Well, not to me at least. Topped with homemade vanilla and strawberry frosting, these Neapolitan Bonbon Cupcakes are *almost* too pretty to eat.

Neapolitan Bonbon Cupcakes Recipe

If a hot-from-the-oven pie is the surest way to your sweetie’s stomach, give the crust a creative treatment with one of these 8 pro pastry ideas:

9 One-of-a-Kind Pie Crust Ideas

And, although, I personally can’t relate: Some folks don’t like chocolate (I know, the horror!) so this sweet-meets-tart mouthful may be just the ticket.

Homemade Lemon Cupcakes

When whipping up homemade goodies, don’t forget your furry best friend! These crunchy biscuits topped with cream cheese frosting are sure to get tails waggin’!

Homemade Dog Treats Recipe

MORE VALENTINE’S DAY INSPIRATION:

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From Boston to Seattle and everywhere in between, Super Bowl Sunday will have parties filled with fans, football, and oh yeah, food. Many of the traditional game-day dips are high in calories, high in fat, and highly likely to put you in a food coma.

That’s why we rounded up some simple swaps that are still delicious but better for you. There’s no need to “cheat” on any diet to enjoy these dips. Let’s leave that kind of controversy to the NFL.

Skip: Spinach Artichoke Dip
Get: Creamy Avocado, Artichoke and Kale Dip

artichoke dip

Image courtesy of Blissful Basil

Gooey cheese, though delicious, is one of the easiest ways to add saturated fat and calories to a recipe, and it’s the star of most spinach and artichoke dips. When superfood spinach and antioxidant-rich artichokes are mere sidekicks, though, the health benefits get overshadowed. Not the case in this recipe for Creamy Avocado, Artichoke and Kale Dip. The veggies take the spotlight, and not a cheese is in sight. It’s the avocados, loaded with good-for-you fats, that create the creamy texture we love so much. We bet you’ll never be able to look at the classic version the same way again.

Get the full recipe over at Blissful Basil

4 More Skinny Dips

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With controversial commercials already in the headlines and the Patriots’ alleged scandal, Super Bowl 49 is one for the books so far. Well, we’re here to lighten things up. We’ve teamed up with NFL Homegating to share our favorite recipe ideas for your Super Bowl party no matter what team you’re rooting for.

Honey Sesame Chicken Wings

Honey Sesame WingsRecipe courtesy of NFL Homegating

  • 8 to 12 chicken wings
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 4 cups canola oil for deep frying
  • salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a medium bowl, add flour, salt and pepper. Coat chicken wings with flour mixture.

2. In a deep skillet or fryer, cook wings for about 10 minutes.

3. In a separate bowl, add honey and sesame oil. Whisk together and let rest. Drain chicken wings, and toss in the bowl with honey and sesame oil. Add sesame seeds, and serve.

More Super Bowl-Inspired Recipes

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As of today, January 9, I can proudly say there is no more holiday candy in my home. Yes, that means I ate it all. BUT, it’s all gone which means I can move forward and plan for a healthy year. I even redecorated my kitchen a bit so I’ll actually want to be in there cooking yummy, nutritional meals. Doesn’t this kitchen make you want to crank up Pandora while chopping veggies?

Transitional Kitchen

Design by Alyssa Darnell

Whether you call them resolutions, goals or challenges, there are several things we can do throughout the year to better ourselves or our community. I always try to make a list of at least five goals, but I never set myself up to fail with something unattainable. I’ll share one of my brand-new goals for 2015 with you.

Read one book a month that educates me and challenges my mind. (No young adult novels or thrillers allowed.) This one will be difficult because I’m currently in the middle of binge-watching the entire series of Friends on Netflix.

One goal that will stay on my list until the end of time is: “EAT HEALTHY. GET GRILLED INSTEAD OF FRIED!” I bet some version of this is on your list, too. I pulled some recipes that not only look a-ma-zing but are good for you, as well.

Breakfast

Banana Bread Quinoa Cereal

Banana Bread Quinoa Cereal: Get the recipe >>

Plus, discover 20 ways to make breakfast fun!

Smoothies

Smoothie Recipes

Breakfast Smoothies from HGTV Magazine: Get all three recipes >>

Get Ideas for Snacks, Dinner + More

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New Year’s Eve is the last of the winter holidays, so it may take the back burner to Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah. The holiday season may have sucked your wallet dry, but you can still throw a dazzling New Year’s Eve party. I have one word for you: upcycling. Save all your glittery Christmas decor to spruce up your NYE party with our easy tips below. It’s all in the details!

Wrapping Paper Tablecloth

Wrapping Paper Tablecloth

Skip the fancy tablecloth this year, and use leftover Christmas wrapping paper instead. If you don’t have any wrapping paper left, stores have big discounts on Christmas items this time of year.

Learn More Ways to Upcycle

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As you prep for New Year’s Eve festivities, don’t forget a fizzy signature cocktail for midnight toasting. Here are a few of our favorites that are more exciting than just wine or champagne but can still be made in minutes.

Pomegranate Sparkler

Pom Sparkler Cocktail

Photo + recipe courtesy of VOGA Italia Wine

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon fresh pomegranate seeds
  • 3 ounces VOGA Prosecco
  • 1/2 ounce pomegranate juice

Scoop 1 teaspoon of fresh pomegranate seeds into a champagne glass. Pour in pomegranate juice, then top with VOGA Prosecco.

Grapefruit Mimosa

Sparking Grapefruit Cocktail

Get the recipe for this sparkling grapefruit cocktail >>

More Bubbly Recipes for New Year’s Eve

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brown butter eggnog waffles

The big morning has almost arrived and between all of the shopping and wrapping of gifts, have you stopped to think about what you’ll be eating? A great way to begin the special day is with a tasty and filling breakfast (or brunch, depending on how early you awake) and serving Brown Butter and Eggnog Waffles will make it extra special. The golden brown squares have a crisp crust and moist fluffy interior with bits of brown butter streaked throughout. Also, the recipe helps put the last of the eggnog to good use. The batter is purposefully designed to be made the night before, saving you precious time. In the morning when you’re ready to make the waffles, simply heat and oil your waffle iron and cook until golden brown. Serve with a spoonful Strawberry and Orange Topping and a hefty dollop of whipped cream for extra decadence. Complete the meal by serving the waffles along side cooked thick cut bacon and plenty of orange juice. Happy Holidays!

Get the Irresistible Recipe

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galette slice

Clove, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and the like are, in my opinion, front and center in too many holiday desserts. Although a certain amount of the familiar bouquet is enjoyable, when October rolls around America seems to go on spice overload. (I’m talking to you Starbucks!) This golden delicious free-form pie is a way to get your seasonal dessert fix, hold the spice. The flavor highlights the sweet goodness of baked fruit with bright notes of lemon and subtle tones of ginger and vanilla all wrapped in a sturdy crust. If plums aren’t available in your area, try making the galette with another variety of apple such as Braeburn or Gala. It’s truly easy as pie.

Norm’s Notes: H 2 Uh…oh.

When creating this galette recipe, I wanted to make sure the crust resisted becoming overly wet and soggy. This was not only to appease my dislike of gummy textures, but to insure the dessert would easily slice and transfer to plates once cooled. To accomplish the goal, I had to find a way to remove as much of the water from the fruit before baking. Tossing the fruit pieces in sugar and flavorings and allowing it to stand for 20 minutes released enough moisture to reduce the chances of a soggy underside without drastically altering the texture of the fruit. Once the excess juices were drained, two main benefits emerged. First, the bake time became more consistent; second, a syrupy glaze could be created from the reserved juices and drizzled on top after baking. You can use this trick on fruit pies, tarts and turnovers to relieve a soggy crust’s main culprit: excess water.
plum and apple galette

Holiday Plum and Apple Galette

makes 6 to 8 servings

FOR CRUST:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ cup chilled unsalted butter, cut up into ½-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup ice water

FOR FILLING:

  • 3 to 4 medium-size sweet green plums*, sliced (about ¾ pound)
  • 3 large Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and cut into large pieces (about ¾ pound)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tbsp. turbinado sugar
  • Coarsely chopped roasted hazelnuts

*Red plums may be substituted

1. Stir flour and next 2 ingredients together in a large bowl until blended. Cut butter into flour mixture using a pastry blender until butter pieces resemble small peas. Stir ice water, one tablespoon at a time, into flour mixture just until dry ingredients are moistened and dough begins to form. Discard any excess ice water. Shape dough into a disk; wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes up to overnight.

2. Toss plums, apples, and next 5 ingredients together in a large bowl until coated. Let stand 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap chilled dough and place on lightly floured surface. Lightly dust top of dough with flour and roll to a 15-inch circle. Transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

4. Drain plum and apple mixture, reserving juices. Toss plum and apple mixture with flour until coated and spoon into center of dough, leaving a 3-inch border. Fold edges of dough over plum and apple mixture, pleating as you go and sealing any cracks. Lightly beat egg white until foamy. Brush exposed dough with a thin layer of beaten egg white and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

5. Bake at 350 degrees 40 to 45 minutes or until fruit is tender and bubbling and crust is golden brown. Let cool on baking pan on a wire rack 20 minutes.

6. Bring reserved plum and apple juices to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Drizzle juices over exposed fruit and top with desired amount of hazelnuts.

 

 

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My sweet tooth is unstoppable, and there’s nothing I love more than creamy, chocolate-based holiday cocktails. Calories might as well be unicorns from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. I let myself indulge in foods I won’t see for another 12 months, like most of these lovely bevvies. So, get out all the garnishes and warm up with a decadent dessert cocktail this season.

Peppermint Mocha Toddy

Peppermocha Toddy Recipe

Photo + recipe courtesy of Old Forge Distillery

Ingredients

  • 3/4 ounce Old Forge Coffee Moonshine
  • 3/4 ounce Old Forge Chocolate Moonshine
  • 1/2 ounce white creme de menthe
  • hot coffee
  • whipped cream, for garnish
  • peppermint candy, crumbled, for garnish

 

Pour coffee moonshine, chocolate moonshine and creme de menthe into an Irish coffee mug. Top with hot coffee. Garnish with whipped cream and crumbled peppermint candy.

Uncle Billy’s Holiday Treat

Holiday Cocktail Recipe

Get the recipe for this creamy cocktail >>

3 More Recipes to Whip Up

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The holiday season is upon us whether you’re ready or not. If you’re hosting a holiday party this year — casual or formal — our easy tips will help you get party-ready in no time.

Cookie Exchange

Around-the-World Cookie Exchange

Take this traditional holiday party to the next level with an around-the-world theme. Ask guests to use international cookie recipes, serve hot chocolate to accompany the cookies and offer to-go boxes so guests can easily take their favorites home with them.

Easy Tips:

  • Keep the decor to a minimum, such as a pinecone garland and other natural elements.
  • Arrange guests’ cookies buffet style to keep hosting duties to a minimum.
  • Ask guests for their cookie recipes in advance, so you can set out recipe cards the day of your party for guests to take home.

Get Cookie Recipes + More Party Tips>>

Get More Holiday Party Tips

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cheddar rosemary shortbread
Is it me or is the holiday season when unexpected company is expected? Even with annual knowledge of this reality, many of us manage to be ill prepared to easily entertain our drop in guests. This year, solve the problem by creating this quick and savory shortbread. The recipe requires no food processor, stand mixer, or any other counter top appliance; just a bowl, fork, and oven will do. It is crafted from pantry staples and intentionally allows one to use the odds and ends of cheese and butter that lie in various refrigerator compartments. You can make it from start to finish in under an hour or stir up a couple batches and store unbaked rolls in the freezer, allowing you to simply slice and bake upon unplanned arrivals.

Norm’s Notes: For all my shorties 
The key to any great buttery flaky shortbread is not only the butter to flour ratio, but the proper amount mixing and kneading. Over-kneading can produce too much gluten in the flour resulting in tough chewy dough. Not enough kneading and the cookie is unable to hold shape and falls apart when baked. The method in this recipe is designed to prevent overworking of the dough and yields a crispy yet tender cookie.

With the butter at room temperature, it gives off more moisture than chilled butter and is quickly absorbed into the flour mixture. Stirring in the cheese and shaping finishes the blending process leaving unincorporated pockets of butter dotted throughout the dough. Chilling sets the butter fragments in place and when baked, water trapped within the butter turns to steam and escapes the dough leaving behind little caverns throughout the layers of the cookie. The benefit of this technique is a shortbread that comes together with little effort and has a heavenly taste and crisp texture that disintegrates in your mouth upon contact.

Get the Easy Recipe

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