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Peppermint-Eggnog Punch + Christmas Cookies

Posted Dec 03 2008 5:09pm

I am breathing a big sigh of relief today. Two of my three classes are now over and done with - took the finals yesterday and hopefully did well! - and now I just wait until next week to take the final for my last class. Then it’s home for a three-week vacation! My school is on a slightly different schedule than everyone else since we’re on the quarter system, which probably explains why it still seems early to some of you!

The number of things I want to write about are OVERWHELMING. There is so much to say - and so little time to say it in! I will do my best to convey it in a way that is still coherent ;) First, we’ve got to take a little trip back home…

Before I had to return to school :evil: my family and I decorated our C h r i s t m a s tree. Disclaimer: If you are not a holiday lover - cough cough ANDREA! - then you are in for many groans ahead! I still love ya, though - and hope you’ll keep reading!!

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Truth be told, it was actually just my brother and me who decorated this beauty. DON’T EVEN TRY TO DENY IT, PADRES!! The conversation went something like this:

Me: Come over here and help us!

Parents: But you two are doing such a good job!

Yeah. We did a rockin’ job. Around the Christmas tree. And now you have that song stuck in your head, don’t you?!

I can forgive them, though, because Mama Bender whipped up a batch of her awesome Peppermint-Eggnog Punch for the occasion!!

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YUM! You haven’t given eggnog a real chance until you’ve tried this recipe. My mom gets it from this really cool old recipe book:

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Yes, that says 1990! Hello, history! I think it’s from the days we lived in North Carolina. I lived there from when I was 2 until I was 6. Just a little fun fact for ya! Anyway, here is the recipe - I think this book is old enough that they wouldn’t mind me posting it!

Ingredients (makes 16 servings):

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We make a few substitutions to make it slightly healthier.

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Our peppermint ice cream is Dreyer’s Slow Churned and our eggnog is lowfat. Also, instead of using peppermint sticks, we add this:

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The story behind raspberry flavoring is that we used to use RASPBERRY ginger ale with this punch. But then they stopped carrying it :( So my mom improvised, and it tastes just as delightful!

Directions:

Pour all liquid ingredients into a pitcher big enough to hold everything.

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Add 1 tbsp. of the raspberry syrup.

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Add in the peppermint ice cream and stir!!

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But here’s a BIG TIP: keep several big chunks in there for consumption ;) This is why the punch is better when you drink it for the first time. Otherwise the ice cream melts and blends in.

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Finally, make sure to test the punch for safety reasons.

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Why yes, I am indeed wearing a bathrobe. I was on BREAK, ok?!?!

Separate the punch into glasses and serve! You are gonna love it!

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Nutrition Information (per 1 cup serving):

  • 165 calories
  • 3g fat
  • 29g carbohydrates
  • 0g fiber
  • 5g protein

I really hope that you will try this punch sometime during the holiday season. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed - even if you normally wouldn’t care for eggnog. That’s the beauty of the ginger ale - it cancels out the eggnog-like taste! Please let me know if you do try it in the comments!!

Continuing the theme of the holidays and taking the trip back to school…

Last night, the roomie and I had a Christmas cookie baking extravaganza! Complete with Christmas music ringing through the kitchen. So what little treat did we decide to make?

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Hershey’s Peanut Butter Blossoms!! These are my favorite holiday cookies of all time. I know that they’re probably not techically just for the holidays, but that’s when my mom would make them - so that’s what I associate them with! But K and I used her mom’s special recipe, which means I will post it here for you all to enjoy :) We also used Hershey’s Rich Dark Chocolate Kisses to be different.

Ingredients (makes 24 blossoms):

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1.75 cups all-purpose flour
  • 24 Hershey’s Rich Dark Chocolate Kisses

I used Maranatha Peanut Butter and it made the cookies so much more “natural” tasting! I love that stuff.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375* and combine the first four ingredients into a mixing bowl.

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Stir until well blended. Then add in the egg, vanilla, salt and baking soda.

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Stir again until well blended. Just follow the model:

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That’d be my roomie :) Then add in the flour and mix until the flour is completely integrated into the batter. At this point, you will have legitimate cookie dough. Consume if you want to ;) Haha!

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If you can resist the temptation to dig in with a spoon, parcel out the dough into tiny balls. I’d say they are just slightly smaller than a ping pong ball in size. Roll the balls in a small bowl of granulated sugar.

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Once they are coated, space them out evenly on a cookie sheet.

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Bake them in the oven at 375* for 8 minutes, or until dough begins to crack. You still want them to be pretty raw when you pull them out for the first time! Do not overcook! Place a chocolate kiss in the center of each cookie and push down lightly - the dough will crack even more.

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Return the pan to the oven for another 2 minutes, or until the chocolate kisses are just slightly melted. Pull the pan back out of the oven and let cool for roughly 5 minutes. When cookies are movable, transfer them to a paper bag - this absorbs some of the oil from all that butter! It’s a neat little trick from K’s Mom!!

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Now here’s the key: you MUST let these cookies cool for several hours! It takes a long time for the chocolate to set and hold sturdy, so be patient! For the sake of the blog, I tried one of the cookies with a glass of almond milk while they were still gooey…

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And proceeded to get chocolate all over my face :mrgreen: No, you don’t get to see a picture of that. Muahaha. But in all seriousness, these cookies are THE BEST. We packed up the rest of them and gave them to some of our professors - because we are nerdy suck upsAWESOME - and I’m also giving some to Bobby because, you know, I think he’s ok.

Nutrition Information (per cookie):

  • 125 calories
  • 5g fat
  • 18g carbohydrates
  • 1g fiber
  • 2g protein

Whew! If you’ve stuck with me this far, I commend you. I hope that you were able to get some enjoyment out of this over the top holiday extravanza of a post!

Believe it or not, I still have SO much I want to tell you about. I will save it for tomorrow - but please know that it is something BIG. Something HUGE. And it involves YOU and something that YOU could potentially WIN!! Now how’s that for a teaser?

Last but certainly not least, be sure to check out the latest challenge that Mark and Heather have going on over at Hangry Pants. These two are so incredibly thoughtful - every comment left on this post during the month is worth 5 cents that will be donated to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. That, my dear readers, is the definition of a true foodie - one who loves to talk, eat and write about food…but is also working to find a way to make sure that others can have that same opportunity. Thank you to both Mark and Heather for being so inspiring.

      
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