Reindeer Bubbles, Hot Cocoa Bar, and Cookie Swap!

Our first year of Sips & Sweets is coming to a close, and we decided to end the year with a Christmas Cookie Swap party with our best gals.

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The ladies! Sarah, Caroline, Colleen, Ellen, Patti, Erin, Marci

We planned our menu with a secret board on Pinterest–we’ve decided that’s the best way to plan a party so your guests are surprised when they arrive.  We also used Evite to create an invitation for our friends and asked each girl to bring a plate of their favorite cookies to share. Everyone received a gingerbread box to take home the swapped cookies.

Read on for all the fun details about our party and recipes from each of our guests to jumpstart your holiday baking ideas!

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MENU

Cocktails:

  • Reindeer Bubbles: sparkling wine with green rimmed glasses and pomegranate seeds. Recipe here.
    • We omitted the simple syrup and pomegranate juice because the sparkling wine was sweet enough
    • Wet the rim of each wine glass and dipped it in green sugar sprinkles
    • Place a teaspoonful of pomegranate seeds in the bottom of the glass
    • Pour sparkling wine in the glass and cheers!
  • Cheers!

    Cheers!

  • Hot Cocoa Bar: homemade hot cocoa in the crockpot. Recipe here. Our fixins included:
    • Baileys and Peppermint Schnapps
    • Marshmallows
    • M&Ms
    • Crushed Candy Canes
    • Whipped Cream
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Hot Cocoa Bar

Appetizers:

  • Trader Joe’s Spinach and Artichoke Dip:  This is some of the best spinach artichoke dip we’ve ever had, and it was so easy to make!  It’s in the freezer section of TJs.  We served it with baguette rounds.
  • Christmas Tree Cheese Tray, which included asiago with rosemary and olive oil, smoked gouda, and white stilton with cranberries.
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Cheese Christmas Tree!

  • Christmas Tree Veggie Wreath and dip.
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Veggie Wreath

Desserts:

  • Decorate Your Own Gingerbread Man: We used the help of our BFF Betty Crocker to make the gingerbread dough, and provided icing and sprinkles for each guest to decorate.
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Gingerbread decorating station

  • Cookies!

 

Caroline brought Peanut Butter Blossoms with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  Recipe here.
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Colleen made her specialty: Pretzel M&M cookies.  Recipe here.

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Erin brought Lemon cookies and chocolate dipped butter cookies.  Her recipes are below the picture!

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Mrs. P’s Lemon Cookies

Combine the following by hand, mixing wet ingredients into the dry ones, ultimately kneading with a fork or by hand.

4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
4 eggs slightly beaten
1 stick of butter melted
4 tsp lemon extract

Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350.
Once cool, glaze the cookies. Best to put wax paper underneath the cooling rack to catch drips.
Glaze:
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tbsp melted butter
3 tbsp milk
Mix to a good consistency.

Chocolate-dipped Butter Cookies

1 cup butter softened
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour

Mix all ingredients. Chill briefly but not necessary if no time. Shape dough into small logs and lightly press fork into each. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350. Cookies will be very fragile so be careful transferring from pan to cooling rack.

Once cool, melt 1/2 bag of semi sweet chocolate chops with 1 tbsp shortening over a double boiler. Dip cookies and place on wax paper to harden.

 

Marci brought  Italian Cookies and Cherry Italian Cookies.

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Sarah made salted caramel kiss pies.  Recipe here.

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Patti brought Peanut Butter Reindeer in adorable packages! Recipe here.

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Ellen brought some delicious Apricot Snickerdoodles from Bread & Water Company. We can’t wait to see her new kitchen renovations soon!


We toasted to a fun, sips & sweets filled year of sharing our baking and sipping tips with our friends and you.  Thanks for reading and sipping along with us!  Cheers to 2015!

xoxo,

Colleen and Sarah

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Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Chip Cookies

Now that Halloween is over, we thought our readers might have some extra candy hanging around the house.  Or, if it is all gone, like ours was, you can take advantage of post-Halloween sales!  We liked the idea of creating a cookie by using up that leftover Halloween candy, so decided to use one of our favorites, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  We adapted Desiree Campbell’s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.  Try them out–the vanilla pudding mix makes them softer than regular chocolate chip cookies and nothing with Reese’s peanut butter cups in it can ever be bad.  We hope you enjoy making and eating them as much as we did.
REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER CUP CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Author: Desiree Campbell
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes–it may have been the old oven or size of the cookies we made, but it took around 12 minutes for our cookies to be done!
Total time: 18 minutes
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Almost done…

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 Cup { 2 sticks } butter, softened.
  • ¾ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¾ Cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tb. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2¼ Cups Flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 Box { 3.4 oz } Vanilla Instant Pudding- this gives the cookies a fluffy texture!
  • 1 Cup Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 20 to 25 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
DIRECTIONS
  • Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
  • Peel and cut the Reese’s into fourths. Don’t chopped them… You don’t want them to fall apart.

Tip: As soon as you are done cutting put your Peanut Butter Cups in the freezer and leave them there while you make the rest of the cookies.This will make them firm and they won’t melt away when you add them into your dough.

  • Beat soft butter, brown and white sugar and vanilla in a large bowl.
  • Add the eggs, beat well until creamy.
  • Add the rest of your dry ingredients including the instant pudding.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Take out those delicious chunks of peanut butter cups and add them to the batter. Stir it gently with a wooden spoon. Don’t over do it you want to see and bite into those small chunks later.
  • Drop the batter by teaspoons onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. The first batch always takes an extra minute. DO NOT OVERCOOK! Cookies will get harder as they cool down.
  • When they are baked remove them from the cookie sheet to a wire rack. Enjoy!

Final Product bff WINE

While we baked, we sipped on some Masciarelli Montelpucciano, a nice red wine, which paired perfectly with the spaghetti and turkey meatballs we had for dinner.

 Happy Fall Sipping and Baking!

xoxo, Colleen and Sarah