it’s friday, gang! who’s ready for the weekend? come saturday morning we step smack dab into december. the last month of the year. which means it’s party season! lest we forget the clock is ticking, we have twenty-five days to shop for presents. if you’re looking for the perfect gift for her Talbots has a lovely gift guide. a favorite of mine is a cashmere scarf. it’s always a hit to give or receive. Pottery Barn also has a gift guide for her. cozy robes are luxurious and warm. i love to slip into one first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
today, i’m prepping for a cookie exchange i’m hosting for my blogger group next week. cookie exchanges are an easy way to gather your friends in your home and celebrate. plus, it simplifies your holiday baking. invite your friends and have each bake enough of one cookie to exchange plus a few extras to share. at the end of the evening, everyone leaves with enough baked treats for family and friends to munch on the rest of the holiday season. and plenty of recipes to try.
a few tips: send out invitations a few weeks in advance. baking a big batch of cookies needs a little prep time. if you’re hosting a large cookie swap – ten to twenty – ask each guest to bring six dozen cookies. mix in cake stands to house the cookies. write or print the names of the cookies on place cards and set them in front of the platters. ask each guest to bring recipe cards for the other guests. provide boxes or bags to package and take home their cookies.
even though the baked cookies are the star of the show, it’s nice to offset the sweets with light appetizers and beverages that complement the food while swapping cookies and recipes. cheese boards are a great savory addition to serve at your party along with wine.
gouda, blueberry stilton, honey, wheat crackers, breadsticks, olives.
don’t forget to offer a sweet board filled with yummy chocolates. there’s something magical about chocolate and red wine. trust me.
chocolate covered strawberries, truffles and yogurt covered pretzels.
for a special treat warm your guests with a spread of hot chocolate and all of the toppings you think go well. place the different toppings in individual bowls.
sprinkles, marshmallows, peppermint, cocoa.
Place a mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 15 minutes before starting.
To make the hot cocoa, combine the whole milk and heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Let heat, stirring occasionally, just until the edges of the milk mixture start to bubble. Once bubbling, remove from the heat and toss in the white chocolate, vanilla, and salt. Stir until the white chocolate has completely melted.
To make the whipped cream, affix the chilled mixing bowl and whisk attachment to the stand mixer and combine the heavy cream, sugar, and amaretto in the bowl. Whisk at medium speed until firm peaks form, about 7 to 10 minutes.
To serve, divide the hot cocoa among four mugs and add a shot of amaretto, if desired for a boozy adult treat, into each serving. Dollop whip cream over the cocoas and serve right away.
oscar is waaay too tired to have his photo taken today. it’s time to work on your five-high, buddy! but it’s been a tough day what with paying a visit to the groomer and keeping ollie in check. doesn’t he look spiffy in his plaid christmas scarf?
happy friday, gang! when the clock strikes five i’ll be nibbling on my cheese tray and sipping a glass of wine with my feet up. but before i go oscar and i wish each of you a lovely weekend.
don’t forget to pick up your copy of Home for the holidays – an eMagazine i created just for you! here’s a peek inside the pages.