‘Tis the Season.. for sweets!

Many of my favorite Christmas memories are centered around food- specifically sweets! In our family, we spend lots of time cooking together, enjoying meals with visitors from out of town, and of course, focusing on dessert! We don’t need much of an excuse to make dessert for any and every occasion. Here’s how I’m kicking off the holidays with sweets. These are DIY options, but if you prefer to eat sweets more than make them, you know we’re always happy to help!

1. Peppermint Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches

The first dessert I made at home this season was these peppermint brownie ice cream sandwiches. Choose and prepare your favorite brownie recipe (you can even use a boxed mix if you’d like!), then freeze it in two large pieces. I baked the brownies on a large baking sheet and then cut it in half. Once its firm, spread peppermint stick ice cream over one half and sandwich them together. Return to the freezer until the ice cream has set and then trim the edges and cut into individual sandwiches.

The trick: Make sure to freeze in between each step to make sure they come out with nice, clean edges. Even if you don’t, they’ll taste delicious, but freezing helps them look pretty! Melt dark chocolate to drizzle and sprinkle with crushed peppermint for the finishing touches. These have so much versatility and van be made in ANY flavor- caramel, peanut butter, death by chocolate…. it’s a challenge to find a flavor that doesn’t pair well with brownies! 

 

2. Hot Cocoa Bar

Get friends or relatives together for a hot cocoa bar! Usually I will whip up a batch of hot cocoa from scratch and then provide a variety of toppings or flavorings for everyone to choose from. This is great because it’s fun for all ages. Just like with the brownies, so many great options pair with chocolate. I’m thinking caramel, peanut butter, crushed peppermint, and of course, marshmallows with whipped cream. To kick it up a notch, add Lucky Charms marshmallows for the kids and Bailey’s and/or Kailua liquor for the adults!

3. Cookie Party

Cookies are one of the most popular desserts of the holiday season. This year, I’ll be making dark chocolate gingerbread cookies, eggnog melt away cookies, peppermint Oreo fudge and buckeyes. Although buckeyes and fudge aren’t technically cookies, they’re so much fun to make and great recipes to make with the family because kids can jump in with you. 

4. North Pole Smoothies

One of the easiest and longest standing dessert traditions in our family is the “North Pole Smoothie”. Only two ingredients needed!  1. Your favorite vanilla ice cream and 2. sweetened frozen strawberries in syrup. You’ll thaw and puree the strawberries, then layer in a glass alternating with softened vanilla ice cream. If you want to get fancy, add crushed peppermint candies to the rim of the glass! The idea is to mimic the red and white stripes of the north pole. 

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