This year I got to be a part of the Secret Santa at YADA, my work. It was so much fun and I love being included. I used to be a student there, so little by little I have broken down the walls between my colleagues and me because of age and the memory of me as a student. My friend Scott and I ended up having each other! It was funny and crazy because we both used up our three guesses without getting it right.
I got him a Rite Aid fun bag--a peppermint candle, a gingerbread cookie in a cute tin, a Santa penguin beanie baby, princess stickers, and a holiday painted wine glass, all stuffed in a cheetah Santa hat with a big red bow. It was a hit. He got me Trader Joe's goodies. There was a nice bag and a naughty bag. The naughty bag was delicious but evil (I am trying to be healthy). It had peppermint truffles, salted caramel milk chocolate shortbread cookies, "Chardonnay" grape juice (which caused a gasp then a sigh. I am a minor after all...), and a multipack of JoeJoe's (the Trader Joe's version of chocolate-covered Oreo's. There were peanut butter chocolate, peppermint and chocolate (my two faves), ginger, and double chocolate. The nice bag had dried fruit, "Inner Peas" freeze-dried peas, and lavender bath salts. I loved it. Fun stuff with a bit of humor. The whole party was a big success in the present and pot luck department.
I made some fun holiday cookies for the pot luck. They didn't turn out completely perfect, but they were delicious and I think the recipes are good.
First, I made cornflake wreaths. I think I need to work on my technique a bit, because I burned my hands a lot and they didn't stay together at all. Regardless, they were a big hit. They're pretty to look at.
- 1/2 cup butter
- A bag of marshmallows
- Green liquid food coloring
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups cornflakes
- Candy for decoration (I used red m&m’s)
Grease a saucepan and melt the butter. Melt marshmallows over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth (about six minutes). Remove from heat and whisk in food coloring and vanilla until well blended. Stir in cornflakes until well coated. Working quickly with greased fingers, drop small mounds of the mixture to form wreath shapes with holes in the center. Place the candy immediately so they will stay stuck. Let them dry for awhile.
Apparently they can be ornaments once they solidify. Seems kinda sketchy to me, but they would certainly look purdy.
I also made these peppermint chocolate whoopie pie things. They were a huge success.
I didn't get a good picture of mine, so here is the perfect shot from the website. Mine didn't look quite so well-manicured.
For the cookies:
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
- 1 large egg
For the filling:
- 1 cup and 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter,
- 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
- Red food coloring
Also, crushed candy canes or peppermint candies for rolling the cookies.
Whisk flour, cocoa, and salt together. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter until well blended. Beat in egg. Add dry ingredients; beat until blended. Refrigerate dough 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or grease them. Scoop out dough by level tablespoonfuls, then roll into smooth balls. Place balls on prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Using bottom of glass or hands, flatten each ball to 2-inch round (edges will crack). Bake until cookies no longer look wet and small indentation appears when tops of cookies are lightly touched with fingers, about 11 minutes (do not overbake or cookies will become too crisp). Cool on sheet 5 minutes. Transfer chocolate cookies to racks and cool completely.
Using electric mixer, beat powdered sugar and butter. Add peppermint extract and 2 drops food coloring. Beat until light pink and well blended. Spread 2 generous teaspoons on flat side of cookie. Top with another cookie, flat side down, pressing gently to adhere. Repeat with remaining cookies and peppermint filling.
Place crushed candy on a plate. Roll edges of cookie sandwiches (candy will adhere to filling).
All in all, big winners. I recommend both recipes, especially the second one, for all your holiday needs. Happy eating!