Holiday Spirits

Yup, I said spirits.  Cause who couldn’t use a little nip after climbing up and down a ladder putting up your Christmas lights for the second time in a week because after you put them up the first time one of the strings died and you didn’t have a replacement string that matched so you had to go out to buy all new lights and then take the first set down so you could put the new strings up… Ho ho ho.

So after I did all that I put together some simple gifts with a boozy twist.  First up – some presents for my annual Christmas lunch with a group of friends.  I found these adorable towels and glasses at The Christmas Tree Shops.

Inexpensive Christmas Gifts with a Boozy Twist from Shake Bake and Party #margarita #cocktails

Add a ready-to-drink mini margarita bottle and you have fun, festive gift for under $10!

Inexpensive Christmas Gifts with a Boozy Twist from Shake Bake and Party #margarita #christmas #cocktails

Next up – something that would make a perfect gift for a group of coworkers!  I found a box set containing 12 different hot cocoa mixes at Big Lots for $10.  Then I headed over to the liquor store and picked out an airplane bottle of liquor to go with each flavor of cocoa.

Inexpensive Coworker Gifts - Spiked Hot Cocoa Kits from Shake Bake and Party #hotcocoa #booze #gifts

It was so much fun coming up with different flavor combinations! Cinnamon cocoa meet honey whiskey;  gingerbread makes a perfect pair with Baileys Irish Cream…  There are a ton of possibilities! Play your cards right with the booze selections and you can knock out a dozen gifts for less than $5 per person!  Your friends at work will thank you when they are sipping on a spiked hot cocoa after a long day of last minute Christmas shopping.

Do you give Christmas gifts to coworkers? I’d love to hear some of your ideas!

 

 

Caramel Apple Cider Cupcakes with RumChata Frosting

Happy Fall Y’all!!  I have turned my favorite fall cocktail into a cupcake and let me tell you – the result was delicious!

A group of my friends and I had a fall themed painting party at one of those wine and canvas places that have become so popular over the last few years (I highly recommend Canvas Mixers is you are in the South Jersey area!).  I wanted to bring a pitcher of my Caramel Apple Pie Cocktail but you can only bring wine or beer to the venue, so I decided to bake my booze into some cupcakes!

These cupcakes contain all the ingredients from one of my most popular recipes on the blog: apple cider, Pinnacle Caramel Apple vodka, and RumChata.  Everyone at the painting party loved them, and we all had a great time creating our masterpieces!

Now, on to the recipe.  As I tend to do, I started off with a boxed cake mix, doctored it up a bit and topped the whole thing off with a made from scratch frosting.

Caramel Apple Cider Cupcakes with RumChata Frosting

Cupcake Ingredients and Directions:

1 box of white or yellow cake mix
Eggs and oil as called for in directions on box
Pinnacle Caramel Apple vodka, or Caramel vodka
Apple Cider

Combine mix, eggs and oil.  Omit the water as called for on the box and substitute equal parts apple cider and caramel apple vodka.  My mix called for one cup of water, so I substituted 1/2 cup apple cider and 1/2 cup vodka.  Bake according to package directions and let cool.

RumChata Frosting Ingredients and Directions:
(adapted from Butter Cream Frosting II on allrecipes.com)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups confectioners sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon RumChata

Cream butter and shortening in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add all other ingredients and beat well.

Caramel Apple Cider Cupcakes with RumChata Frosting

I also added some orange gel color to some of the batter and decorated those one for Halloween.🙂

Halloween Cupcakes

Michael’s Way

Hey all!  How has everyone been?  I’m dropping in with a quick post about some cookies I just made!  I didn’t get a chance to take any nice, professional looking photos before I sent these out the door (new work responsibilities, grad school and attempting to have a life in between have me feeling like everything is moving at warp speed these days, know what I mean?) but I wanted to do a little write up, mostly to spread the word about a great charity.

Michael’s Way is an organization in the Philadelphia area that provides assistance to the families of children battling pediatric cancer.  According to their website, “Michael’s Way has raised more than $6 million to lessen the financial hardships of hundreds of families whose children are suffering from cancer. 100% of money raised, as well as private donations and grants received from foundations goes directly to the families, not to overhead.”  I think that’s pretty amazing given the number of “charities” that spend more per dollar on salaries, marketing and who knows what else than they do on actually helping people.

For the third year in a row PMC Property Group is sponsoring a bowling party at Lucky Strike in Philadelphia to raise money for Michael’s Way (4/20/16 – details here if you are interested!) and I was more than happy to make some Michael’s Way logo cookies for the event!

So here’s my crappy picture of what turned out to be a pretty cool cookie!!

Michael's Way Logo Cookies #charity #decoratedcookies

If you suck at bowling or aren’t in the area, but are interested in making a donation to this wonderful organization head over to their online donation form!

 

For those who don’t like candy corn…

Word on the streets is that some of you out there don’t like candy corn?  How is this possible???  It’s almost as confusing to me as folks who don’t like PEEPS.  Does. not. compute.   But hey, to each his own, right?

Since candy corn is quintessentially Halloween in my book I thought I’d share some candy corn treats that don’t actually contain any candy corn.  You’re welcome haters.😉

First up – I made some candy corn decorated cookies!  Everybody likes sugar cookies, right?  (If you don’t, please don’t tell me.  My head might explode.)

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies for #HalloweenEverybody loved my mustache Easter bunnies so much that I thought I’d give the  ‘stache a try on my candy corn too.  As I suspected, these were a big hit.

I also made a super easy Halloween bark with Kraft Jet-Puffed Candy Corn Marshmallows and Wilton Halloween sprinkles.

Marshmallow Candy Corn Bark - A super easy treat to make for #Halloween!Marshmallow Candy Corn Bark

Ingredients
2 – 12 oz bags of chocolate melting wafers, any flavor
Bag of Kraft Jet-Puffed Candy Corn Marshmallows
Halloween sprinkles

Directions
1. Melt both bags of chocolate in a double boiler, or follow the instructions on the package for melting in the microwave.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Pour melted chocolate onto parchment paper and spread evenly with a spatula.
*IMPORTANT – if using a double boiler, make sure you dry the bottom of your pan thoroughly before pouring the chocolate onto the parchment paper.  You don’t want any water dripping onto the chocolate.  I just put a dish towel down on the counter and wiped the bottom of the pan across it a few times to dry it off.
4. Immediately top chocolate with marshmallows and sprinkles.
5. Cover with another piece of parchment paper and let the chocolate harden.  If you’re in a hurry you can pop the tray in the refrigerator for about a half an hour, otherwise you can just let the bark rest on the counter top.
6. Once the chocolate has set, cut the bark into randomly sized pieces.

Quick and easy Marshmallow Candy Corn Bark for #Halloween

It really doesn’t get much easier than that, and look at how fun and festive that bark looks!  Plus – chocolate and marshmallow – can’t go wrong there, right?  Right?!

There you go, you despisers of candy corn.  You can still have some candy corn treats this Halloween!  We can all live together in peace and harmony!

You PEEPS hating people on the other hand… I can’t even deal with you.😉

So, how do you feel about candy corn?  Love it or hate it?  Let me know in the comments, and have a Happy Halloween!

Creepy Fang Cupcakes

I can’t believe it’s almost Halloween already! Is this year going way too fast for anyone else, or is it just me? I certainly couldn’t let one of my favorite holidays pass by without making some Halloween cupcakes. These are scarily simple – I just made some chocolate cupcakes using a boxed mix, frosted them with a vanilla buttercream and decorated them with these super fun gummy fangs I found at Target.  Yes, I went to Target for toilet paper and ended up leaving with gummy fangs.  You know how it is, don’t lie.

The cupcake that bites back!  Make these creepy fang #cupcakes for #halloween!As you can see, I also bought gummy tongues. How could I resist?! They look so realistic! Damn you Target!

The cupcake that bites back!  Make these creepy fang #cupcakes for #halloween!In addition to the gummy fangs, I used these cool Wilton sprinkles I found. I just love the little spiders!

The cupcake that bites back!  Make these creepy fang #cupcakes for #halloween!As you can see, some simple store bought decorations can make a fantastically creepy cupcake with minimal effort! I love simple things that make a big impact!

If you have some creepy cupcakes of your own that you’d like to share, head over and share a pic on my Facebook page! Hope you all have a safe and Happy Halloween!!

The cupcake that bites back!  Make these creepy fang #cupcakes for #halloween!

Cranberry Pecan Pie Magic Bars

Hey all!  Hope everyone had a great summer!  It’s been a while since I made anything worth blogging about.  A business law class (whose dumb idea was it to take THAT in a 5 week condensed summer session???) left me pretty burnt out  and uninspired.  I have spent the last few weeks hiding out in the air conditioned glory of my living room and watching Naked and Afraid XL on the Discovery Channel.

Leave it to my favorite season to bring me out of my baking funk… About two weeks ago all kinds of fall themed goodies started popping up in my Pinterest feed, and then I saw an article about the newest seasonal flavor of M&Ms – Pecan Pie!  I managed to get my hands on a bag last week and then these Cranberry Pecan Pie Magic Bars were born!

These Cranberry Pecan Pie Magic Bars are made with tart dried cranberries and Pecan Pie M&Ms! Perfect for #fall or #Thanksgiving! #magicbar

Cranberry Pecan Pie Magic Bars
Adapted from Samoa Magic Bars by The Domestic Rebel

Ingredients

Cake Base
1 box of Butter Recipe cake mix from Betty Crocker
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, melted

Brown Sugar Crumble
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
1/4 cup butter, melted

Topping
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup Pecan Pie M&Ms
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.  (I used a metal, nonstick pan.  The baking times may vary if you use glass.)
  2. In a large bowl combine the cake mix, egg and melted butter until a soft dough forms.  Press the dough evenly in the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 10 minutes.
  3. While the dough is baking, make the brown sugar crumble by combining the melted butter, flour and brown sugar with a fork until crumbs form.
  4. When the 10 minutes is up, remove the pan from the oven and pour about 1/2 cup of the sweetened condensed milk on top of the cake.  Next, evenly cover the cake with the dried cranberries, chopped pecans and Pecan Pie M&Ms.  Drizzle on the remaining sweetened condensed milk and then top everything with the brown sugar crumble.
  5. Return to the oven and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes, until the crumble begins to brown.
  6. Remove from the oven.  Allow the bars to set at room temperature until cool before cutting into bars.

These Cranberry Pecan Pie Magic Bars are made with tart dried cranberries and Pecan Pie M&Ms! Perfect for #fall or #Thanksgiving! #magicbar

These bars would be perfect for a fall bake sale, or a Thanksgiving dessert table – not that you need a specific reason to make them.  Sometimes you just want something to stuff in your face snack on while you watch Fear the Walking Dead (why is it so stressful?  We KNOW what happens!!).

These Cranberry Pecan Pie Magic Bars are made with tart dried cranberries and Pecan Pie M&Ms! Perfect for #fall or #Thanksgiving! #magicbar

Whatever your reason for making them, you will find these magic bars an easy treat to whip up.  If you can’t find the Pecan Pie M&Ms the Harvest Blend M&Ms would make an excellent substitute.  I just love the fall color palette!

Now, I just need Mother Nature to get on board with my seasonal obsession.  Today’s forecast high is 94 degrees!  Not quite pumpkin picking weather just yet…

These Cranberry Pecan Pie Magic Bars are made with tart dried cranberries and Pecan Pie M&Ms! Perfect for #fall or #Thanksgiving! #magicbar