By Deanna Talwalkar
This holiday season, take your entertaining to new heights with this beautiful, rustic celebration. The natural beauty of the season is paired with just a touch of dazzling décor elements for a creative, fresh holiday look. Pairing bright Christmas red with natural touches, such as wood elements, floral details and rustic chalkboards makes for an approachable style, so your guests will feel right at home!
Let the festive desserts be the star of the party by serving them on all-white cake stands and platters. A chalkboard sign with a sweet holiday message serves as a backdrop to showcase the desserts. Adding a few natural touches such as poinsettias, tulips, and red berries in vases wrapped with jute twine, helps the dessert table to come alive. Holiday desserts, such as No Bake Red Velvet Truffle Pops, Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting, and Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake, and fun candies, such as red M&Ms and peppermint sticks, will have guests coming back for seconds. Santa’s Christmas Cocktail is a whimsical choice for a party drink, topped with cotton candy to resemble Santa’s beard!
At the end of the party, send guests home with a sweet treat to remember—a ready to make Cookies for Santa jar. Or you can wrap your guests’ Christmas presents to match the rest of the party. Rustic reindeer wrapping paper or wood ornaments mix well with red, white, brown and touches of gold.
No Bake Red Velvet Truffle Pops
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1¼ cup red velvet cake mix (just the powder)
1 package of dark chocolate melting chocolate
Small or medium lollipop sticks
In a mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and red velvet cake mix to cream cheese and beat until fully combined. Once fully mixed it will form a ball. Using a mini ice cream scoop, make a ¾”–1” ball. Roll in hand until it forms into a smooth round ball. Place balls into refrigerator for 1 hour.
After the truffles have been refrigerated for at least an hour, melt ¼ cup of chocolate in microwave, until smooth. Remove from refrigerator and re-roll in hand. Dip one end of lollipop stick into chocolate, push into ball, about ½–2∕3 way. Place balls back into the fridge, overnight or for several hours.
Melt remaining chocolate. Add 1 tablespoon of shortening into melted chocolate, mix in until fully combined. Dip entire red velvet truffle ball into chocolate, shaking off excess. If desired, sprinkle with sprinkles or nonpareils. Place pops onto wax paper to cool and harden. Alternatively, for a completely round ball, push lollipop stick into a Styrofoam block so pops will cool standing upright. After completely cooled, place Red Velvet Truffle Pops in refrigerator, until ready to serve.
Makes about 12–18 Red Velvet Truffle Pops.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
2 cups sugar
1¾ cups all purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla pure extract
1 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper muffin liners.
Whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract to powder mixture. Beat on medium for about 1 minute. Stir water into batter. The batter will be thin.
Pour batter into muffin cups, filling each one about 2∕3 of the way full. Bake about 18–22 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from muffin tins and cool completely on wire racks before icing cupcakes.
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:
½ cup butter, softened
1 (3 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (16 oz) package powdered sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
Cream together butter, cream cheese, and vanilla. Gradually add 1½ cups powdered sugar alternately with 1 tablespoon milk, beating on low speed until blended and smooth after each addition.
Makes 18–24 cupcakes.
Cookies for Santa Favor Jar
¼ cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups mix of chocolate chips and M&Ms
Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Layer dry ingredients into clean jar. Start with white sugar, then layer brown sugar on top. Top with flour mixture, then chocolate chips and M&Ms.
Provide guests with the following instructions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour contents of cookie jar into large mixing bowl. Add ½ cup softened butter, one egg, and one teaspoon of vanilla. Mix ingredients. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheet. Bake for 12–14 minutes.
Santa’s Christmas Cocktail
3 cups cranberry juice cocktail
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup orange juice
1 bottle champagne
Vanilla Cotton Candy
Combine cranberry juice, lemon juice and orange juice. Chill completely. Just before serving, add champagne. Garnish with fresh cranberries and vanilla c6otton candy. For a non-alcoholic version, substitute Sprite for champagne.