Holiday Entertaining

loaf of cranberry walnut bread cooling on a rack

One of the things I enjoy about the holidays is entertaining.  It’s a lot of work, but so worth it in the end.  Every year we hold an Eggnog & Dessert Party for our families.  It’s one of the few times both families get together during the year.  This year, I spent the week before baking and preparing for the party.  You may remember I spent a good amount of time trying to decide what to make this year?  I finally decided I would make cranberry walnut bread (since Eric had been asking for some, salted chocolate cake balls (because I really wanted to do something with sea salt and chocolate) and old-fashioned butter cookies (why not?). Of course, each year whatever I make seems to be a new experiment as more often than not, I’ve never made these things before.

I was really happy with how everything turned out, with the exception of the butter cookies.  I had intended to use a cookie pan for these that has holiday shaped forms to press the cookies into.  Well, batch number one was undercooked (so Eric ate those – he can’t stay away from cookie dough) and batch number two was overcooked.  At that point I just scratched the idea of using that pan and just made drop cookies, which Eric helped me decorate with sprinkles.  They tasted good, just not what I had in mind.

tray of salted chocolate cake balls, plate of slices of cranberry walnut bread, plate of butter cookies with red and green sprinkles on a coffee table

The salted cake balls were delicious!  And OMG I got so many out of this recipe.  I decided to make half salted and half unsalted (because our families are not known for being adventurous).  Well, the salted ones were a total hit and now I’m wishing I’d just done them all that way.  Live and learn!  The recipe I used for these fortuitously came from a tweet and subsequent blog post by symigoddess.  I can’t thank her enough, these were delicious!

closeup of the salted chocolate cake balls

And ever since we’ve started having these little shindigs each year, I’ve wished I had holiday napkins.  Well, guess what.  This year, I finally took matters into my own hands and swore that I would have holiday dessert napkins if it killed me.  So, half an hour before our guests arrived, I was still sitting at my sewing machine, pedal to the metal, making napkins.  But, damn are they cute!

fabric Christmas napkins with ice skating elves and Christmas trees in red, green, and aqua

I bought yardage of Kate Spain’s 12 Days of Christmas fabric and my little napkins turned out about 5 inches square once folded – the perfect dessert size!

salted chocolate cake ball sitting on top of a Christmas napkin

Of course, with all this baking I thought of one more thing I really should have added to my list for Santa…

red Kitchenaid standing mixer

Maybe next year…

2 thoughts on “Holiday Entertaining”

  1. I love my red Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I swear my baking got better after I got one of those things! 🙂 Cute napkins (and I so would have been stitching them before everyone showed up).

  2. Mmmmmm, salty chocolate (or chocolatey salt). Tasty. Must. have. recipe. And you MUST splurge on a Kitchenaid stand mixer. Only Kitchenaid, don’t cheap out and get something different. I love mine, it’s just like the one in the pic, only bright blue. His name is Big Blue, and he’s served me faithfully through many a batch of cookies and homemade German chocolate cakes and assorted pound cakes. You’ll wonder how you lived without one. Go now! Buy! (I am not afilliated with Kitchenaid in any way
    :-). And make me some chocolate balls with sea salt, will ya?

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