Simply Celebrate Life!
A quick and festive set up for cookies, cocoa and kids!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at our house. December 1st marks the first activity on our advent calendar. The holiday decorations are up and the baking begins. I thought it would be fun to start the beginning of the month with cookies and hot cocoa, just for the family, but……
Now this was totally last minute and I initially planned to make it super simple…. meaning no decorations, no party prep, no planning. Well, let’s just say the niece’s didn’t help much on keeping it simple, and I of course had to make it a little more special for this special group of kids! (Babysitting calls for more parties I guess!)
Bright and early we decided to let each child invite one friend. So they all made their own personalized invites.
Now we were not sure how many friends were going to show since it was very last minute but we tried, and Mrs. Aubry made all the difference to this party. Thanks girlie!
The chocolate dipped and sprinkled peppermint sticks were a big hit.
This was Irelynn’s first interactive party with the cousins! There’s no turning Irelynn back now!
I just dipped the peppermint sticks in white chocolate and added some red festive sprinkles.
We also added a red sugar rim to our cocoa cups. Every taste tonight was super sweet!
So our quick and simple table set up was ready.
No need for a tablecloth. I used a few of my Dollar Store snowflakes and sprinkled on some fake snow for a wintry feel.
I used a big snowflake for our centerpiece and don’t forget the marshmallows.
Here is a homemade marshmallow recipe I’ve tried in the past that turned out great. Homemade marshmallows are so much better…just saying!
Butter for greasing
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
8 – 10 drops red food color
Generously grease bottom and sides of 11 x 7 inch glass baking dish with butter. Dust with 1 tablespoon of the powdered sugar. In the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water to soften, and set aside.
In a 2 quart saucepan, heat granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Heat to a boil and cook without stirring for about 30 minutes to 240 degrees on a candy thermometer or until small amount of mixture is dropped into a cup of very cold water and forms a ball that holds it’s shape, but is still pliable. Remove from heat.
Slowly pour syrup into softened gelatin while beating on low speed. Increase speed to high and beat 8 – 10 minutes or until mixture is white and has almost tripled in volume. Add peppermint extract and beat for 1 minute more. Pour into baking dish, patting lightly with wet hands. Drop food coloring randomly onto top of marshmallow mixture. Pull table knife through food color to create swirl pattern over top. Let stand uncovered for 8 hours or overnight.
Dust cutting board with 1 tablespoon powdered sugar. Place remaining powdered sugar in a small bowl. To remove marshmallow mixture, loosen sides from dish and gently lift in one piece onto cutting board. Using a sharp knife greased with butter, cut into 1 inch squares (11 rows by 7 rows). Dust bottom and sides of each marshmallow by dipping into bowl of powdered sugar. Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.
The baking began. I brought out a few cookie recipe booklets and let each child pick a cookie to make.
Luckily, they were all super easy and we even had all the ingredients on hand.
So if you’re looking for a few new cookie recipes to try, these were really yummy and kid approved.
It was definitely a fun weekend activity for the kids!
Peppermint Dipped Chocolate Cookies
These cousins picked a great cookie!
Now, since we were only using the ingredients we already had in the pantry, I used this Mexican chocolate cookie recipe to make all our on hand ingredients work. So any Chocolate cookies recipe could work.
12 oz semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground chili pepper (Ancho or California)***The kids decided to leave this out!
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter(1/2 stick) softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Melt 8 oz of the chocolate and set aside. Coarsely chop the remaining 4 oz of chocolate. Mix the flour, cinnamon, ground chili pepper if using, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Beat he butter and sugars with a mixer until light and fluffy, Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix well. Add the melted chocolate and beat until well blended. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low until mixed well. Stir in chips chocolate and drop by rounded tablespoons 1 1/2 inches apart on parchment paper lined baking sheets.
Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees about 10 – 12 minutes until cookies are set and slightly cracked on top. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
Melt white chocolate and dip one side of the chocolate cookie into it. Quickly sprinkle on crushed candy cane bits and let sit on parchment paper to set.
Mint Chip Cookies
This was my choice! I’m the picture taker, therefore no photo of me…I really dislike being in the picture!
Heat oven to 350 degrees In a large bowl stir and mix together 1 pouch sugar cookie mix, 1/2 cup butter softened, 1/4 teaspoons mint extract, 6 – 8 drops green food coloring and 1 egg until a soft dough forms, Stir in 1 cup creme de menthe baking chips and 1 cup semisweet chocolate chip chunks
Drop tablespoons of cookie dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake fro 8 -1 0 minute or until set. Let cool on cookie sheet for about 3 minutes then transfer to a coo,ling rack
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 tbsp butter
1-1/2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tbsp milk
2-3 drops of food coloring, optional
In a small bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in extract. Combine flour, cornstarch and gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Shape into 1-in balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on wire rack. In a small bowl beat butter until fluffy. Add the confectioner sugar, milk,extract and food coloring . Beat until smooth. Spread over cooled cookies and sprinkle on crushed candy cane bits.
Poor Abby was super excited to see how her cookie turned out!
Well, we tried and the recipe failed! Oh well, life goes on, because there are so many more cookie recipe adventures to explore!
Wishing you a joyful Christmas filled with sweet memories! This is one family activity we will not forget!