On Friday I hosted a Christmas party for my neighborhood play group. I love hosting. I always have plenty of ideas of things I would like to cook, cute decorations, activities, etc. However, I rarely end up turning many of those ideas into a reality. Thankfully, my friends are sweet and don't expect perfection.
This month's issue of Southern Living included a recipe for a basic cheese straw dough along with multiple variations. I thought I might make this to give to friends, but did not have my act together quite well enough for that. So, I figured I'd throw it together the day of the party to include with the snacks. Since this was my first time making it and also because I didn't feel like running to the store to find more ingredients, I just made the basic cheese straws. I also do not have any cookie cutters or a pastry wheel, so I just cut it into strips (not as fun and festive, but still delicious). These were really good, and super easy to make. I will definitely make them again and try the different variations!
I also decided to make chocolate dipped candy canes. This is something very easy to do. Buy chocolate flavored almond bark (in the baking section of the grocery store usually near chocolate chips). Empty chocolate into large microwave safe bowl. Heat for about 1-2 minutes, stir, and repeat until completely melted. Remove candy canes from their wrappers. Lay out wax paper or parchment paper on your counter. Dip candy canes into melted chocolate then place on parchment paper. Leave out until chocolate hardens (about 2 hours).
After I dipped all the candy canes, I still had a lot of leftover chocolate. And you can't let chocolate go to waste. So I began looking around my kitchen for other things to dip in chocolate. Pretzels and orange slices were the winners. Both delicious. The oranges I put on a plate in the fridge instead of out on the counter to allow the chocolate to harden.
We had a special holiday cocktail for all the moms. It helps us handle all the screaming toddlers with ease! A few years back we came across a recipe for this Grey Goose Peppermint Froth. We have made it every Christmas since then, so I thought it would be great for my party. We added my chocolate dipped candy canes for garnish. It's like Christmas in a cup.