Date Night Dishes… Holiday Baking
Pull out your cutest apron, preheat the oven, and put Christmas Vacation in your DVD player to listen to in the background. The holiday baking season is here, but it doesn't have to be a major chore. Instead, make it an opportunity to spend a little extra time with your favorite date.
If the halls are decked and the snow has started to fall, there is just one more thing you need to do to make the holiday season complete. Start baking, of course, and fill your home with festive sweets and desserts that you can give as gifts or keep all for yourself. Holiday baking can often be a chore, so instead of begrudgingly pulling out the flour and the hand mixer, turn the process into a fun date night for you and your sweetie. Find your favorite Christmas movies and commit to spending the day watching your favorites while you bake away.
A good movie marathon involves a mix of comedy, romance, classics and modern Christmas hits. Our Christmas movie queue would include:
Start the baking extravaganza with these spiked peppermint mocha whoopie pies. Since you'll already have the crème de menthe out, you might as well add a little to a mug of hot chocolate and let the fun begin. The chocolate crinkle cookies were adapted from Williams-Sonoma's recipe.
Spiked peppermint mocha whoopie pies
Yields 12 whoopie pies
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1-1/4 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons espresso
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 ounce cream cheese
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 4 tablespoons crème de menthe
- Crunched up peppermint candies for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two baking sheets with butter. Put the confectioners' sugar into a bowl and set aside.
- In another bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy, about three minutes. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add one egg and beat on medium speed until blended. Add the other egg and espresso and beat until blended.
- Turn off the mixer and add the flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until blended.
- Roll the dough into a small ball. Roll the ball in the confectioners' sugar until covered. Place the balls on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat, spacing the balls about two inches apart.
- When baking sheet is full, put it in the oven and bake the cookies until they are crackled and puffed, 10 to 12 minutes. Using oven mitts, remove the baking sheet from the oven and set it on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
- Using a metal spatula, move the cookies onto the rack and let cool completely. Repeat with the rest of the cookies.
- Cream together butter, cream cheese and sugar. Slowly add the crème de menthe until you have the consistency you desire. You can also use peppermint extract and a little bit of milk if you do not want the alcohol in the frosting.
- When cookies are cool, spread a spoonful of frosting on the bottom of one cookie. Top with another cookie and roll the edges in peppermint candy pieces.
- Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
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