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Party Plan: Make it & Bake it for the Holidays!

Give a little lovin’ from the heart and the oven!

Get your holiday giving started off right with these deliciously fun ideas for friends and family! Fire up the oven to make Fruitcake Blondies and Fruitcake Cookies, two yummy variations on a holiday classic. Recipes for Eggnog Bundt Cake and Gingerbread Jingle Bell Pops bring delicious seasonal flavor too. You can even throw your own Cookie Frosting Party for guests!

Try your hand at some DIY love with this Spiked Hot Cocoa Kit, a perfect holiday gift idea for grown ups. And you can make any present more festive with a homemade Pompom Gift Topper!

Grasshopper Pan Pie

Grasshopper Pan Pie

A favorite frozen cocktail, reinvented as a no-bake pie! Refreshingly minty, chocolate-y, smooth and creamy — what more could you could ask for from dessert?

Hands-On Time: 20 min.
Total Time: 2 hrs. 40 min.
Serves: 20 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 48 crème-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (1 lb., 3.1 oz. package)
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • 2 bags (10 oz. each) marshmallows
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • ¾ cup crème de menthe liqueur
  • 1½ cups whipping cream
  • Chocolate-mint candies, coarsely chopped for garnish
Directions:
  1. Coarsely grind cookies in a food processor.
  2. In a large bowl, stir cookie crumbs and butter together until thoroughly combined. Transfer mixture to a 13”x9” baking pan. Press into pan to cover bottom and form crust.
  3. In a large saucepan, combine marshmallows and milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes (until melted and blended). Add liqueur and stir until blended (no streaks should remain). Transfer to a large bowl; allow to cool for 20 minutes.
  4. In another large bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into cooled marshmallow mixture, until thoroughly combined. Pour over crust in pan.
  5. Freeze pie for 1 hour. Remove from freezer; sprinkle with chopped candies. Freeze at least 1 more hour before serving.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 320, Calories from Fat 110, Total Fat 13g (20% DV), Saturated Fat 6g (30% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 20mg (7% DV), Sodium 150mg (6% DV), Carbohydrates 48g (16% DV), Dietary Fiber < 1g (3% DV), Sugars 33g, Protein 2g, Vitamin A 6%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 2%, Iron 6%.

View Party Plan: Make it & Bake it for the Holidays!

Eggnog Bundt Cake with Cinnamon-Nutmeg Icing

Eggnog Bundt Cake with Cinnamon-Nutmeg Icing

Eggnog boosts the time-honored Bundt cake to new heights by lending it the subtle, sweet-and-spicy flavors of a traditional creamy holiday beverage. The nutmeg icing sweetens the deal!

Hands-On Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 1 hr. 10 min.
Total Time: 1 hr. 30 min.
Serves: 20 | Difficulty: Easy

Cake:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. rum or bourbon, or 1 tsp. rum extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup eggnog
Icing:
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cream
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 325°F. Coat a 12-cup, fluted tube pan with baking spray. Or, coat with cooking spray, then dust with flour and shake out the excess.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and baking soda.
  3. In another bowl, combine butter and granulated sugar; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then beat in rum and vanilla, until combined. Switch to low speed and alternately beat in eggnog and flour mixture until just combined.
  4. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake 65-70 minutes (until wooden pick inserted halfway between middle and side of pan comes out clean). Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Use knife to carefully cut cake away from sides of pan. Remove cake from pan and transfer to wire rack, to continue cooling.
  5. To make icing, in a bowl, stir together powdered sugar, cream, nutmeg and cinnamon, until well-blended. Pour icing over warm cake. Decorate as desired.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 260, Calories from Fat 100, Total Fat 11g (17% DV), Saturated Fat 7g (35% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 70mg (23% DV), Sodium 200mg (8% DV), Carbohydrates 38g (13% DV), Dietary Fiber < 1g (2% DV), Sugars 24g, Protein 4g, Vitamin A 8%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 4%, Iron 4%.

View Party Plan: Make it & Bake it for the Holidays!

Individual Citrus Cheesecakes

Individual Citrus Cheesecakes

Winter nights may be long, but you can cap your holiday meal with a sweet hint of sunshine! Your family and guests will love these no-slice, individual citrus cheesecakes, featuring tangy hints of lemon, lime and orange.

Hands-On Time: 20 min.
Total Time: 3 hrs.
Serves: 18 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs (about 24 square or 12 rectangular crackers)
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese (do not use fat-free), room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp. lime zest
  • 1 Tbsp. orange zest
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • Whipped cream (optional; for garnish)
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and butter; mix well. Press about 1 tablespoon into bottom of each muffin liner to form crust.
  3. In a bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar, citrus zests, citrus juices and vanilla; beat on medium speed until blended. Beat in eggs at low speed, 1 at a time, until just blended. Take care not to overbeat.
  4. Divide batter evenly among muffin liners. Bake 30 minutes (or until a wooden pick inserted in center of cheesecake comes out almost clean). Cool in pan, on wire rack, for 10 minutes. Then, remove cheesecakes from pan and refrigerate them for 2 hours before serving. Top with whipped cream, if desired.
  5. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 250, Calories from Fat 150, Total Fat 17g (26% DV), Saturated Fat 9g (45% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 80mg (27% DV), Sodium 210mg (9% DV), Carbohydrates 20g (7% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 15g, Protein 4g, Vitamin A 15%, Vitamin C 4%, Calcium 4%, Iron 4%.

View Party Plan: Make it & Bake it for the Holidays!

Gingerbread Jingle Bell Pops

Gingerbread Jingle Bell Pops

These cake pops boast the fantastically fragrant flavor of gingerbread and tangy-sweet cream cheese frosting, and they look like jingle bells!

Hands-On Time: 1 hr., 20 min.
Cook Time: 40 min.
Total Time: 2 hrs.
Serves: 35 | Difficulty: Medium

Cake:
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup packed brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅔ cup boiling water
Frosting:
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Decoration:
  • 4 cups white vanilla candy melts
  • 35 lollipop sticks (4”)
  • Gold and/or silver decorating dust
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9”x9” baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. In another bowl, beat butter on medium speed, until fluffy. Beat in brown sugar and molasses, until thoroughly combined. Beat in egg. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients in the large bowl. Stir to combine. Add boiling water; stir to combine again.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35-40 minutes (until wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean). Cool completely on wire rack.
  5. While cake is baking, in a large bowl, make frosting by beating cream cheese and butter together on medium-high speed, until mixture achieves a light and fluffy consistency. Reduce speed to low. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla, until mixture becomes thick and creamy.
  6. When cake has cooled, scoop it and frosting into large bowl. Stir together, until frosting is evenly incorporated. Roll mixture into 1½”-diameter balls. Set on wire rack to dry.
  7. Meanwhile, in a large, microwavable bowl, microwave vanilla candy melts for 1 minute. Remove and stir. Continue microwaving for 30-second intervals, stirring between, until candy is smooth and melted.
  8. Coat the cake balls in melted vanilla candy, gently reheating coating as needed. Insert lollipop stick into each cake ball to form cake pop. Set cake pops upright in a tall glass, or through the holes of an upside-down colander, and allow them to dry.
  9. Use a small decorating brush to coat each cooled cake pop with decorating dust.
  10. Melt chocolate chips in the same manner you melted the vanilla candy. Transfer melted chocolate to an icing bag with a small-hole decorating tip (if you don’t have one, transfer melted chocolate into a small, zip-close plastic bag and snip off a small corner). Make large “X”s with chocolate coating on top of each cake pop, to resemble vents in jingle bells.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 230, Calories from Fat 90, Total Fat 10g (15% DV), Saturated Fat 8g (40% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 15mg (5% DV), Sodium 110mg (5% DV), Carbohydrates 34g (11% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 30g, Protein 2g, Vitamin A 2%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 4%, Iron 4%.

View Party Plan: Make it & Bake it for the Holidays!

Fruitcake Cookies

Fruitcake Cookies

An easy way to bring traditional holiday flavor to your Christmas cookie platter.

Hands-On Time: 30 min.
Total time: 50 min.
Difficulty level: Easy
Yield: 3-5 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 egg*
  • 1¾ cups sifted, all-purpose flour (reserve ¼ cup for dredging candied fruit and dates)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans
  • 8 oz. Kroger Candied Cherries
  • 8 oz. chopped dates
  • 8 oz. Kroger Fruit Cake Mix
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and grease several baking sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, beat shortening and sugar together until mixture assumes light, creamy texture.
  3. Add egg. Beat until well blended.
  4. In a separate, small bowl, combine 1½ cups flour, salt and baking soda. Mix well.
  5. Alternately beat flour mixture and buttermilk into shortening mixture.
  6. Dredge candied fruit pieces, candied cherries and dates in reserved flour. Fold floured fruits and chopped pecans into dough mix.
  7. Spoon dough onto greased baking sheets, leaving 1½” to 2” between cookies.
  8. Bake 8-13 min. (until cookies are lightly golden).
  9. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool 15-20 min. on wire rack. Store in wax paper-lined, airtight container.

*Do not consume raw or undercooked batter.

View Party Plan: Make it & Bake it for the Holidays!

Fruitcake Blondies

Fruitcake Blondies

A fresh-baked take on a holiday classic.

Hands-On Time: 45 min.
Total time: 1 hr.
Difficulty level: Moderate
Serves: 36

Ingredients:
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour (reserve ¼ cup for dredging candied fruit)
  • 2½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1¾ cups packed brown sugar
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 large eggs*
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 8 oz. Kroger Candied Red or Green Cherries
  • 8 oz. Kroger Candied Pineapple
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350◦F. Grease (or line with parchment paper) a 15”x10” jelly-roll pan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 2¼ cups flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together brown sugar and butter until creamy. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract, then gradually beat in flour mixture.
  4. Dice candied fruit. Dredge candied fruit pieces in reserved ¼ cup flour.
  5. Stir candied fruit and chocolate chips into batter mixture. Evenly spread batter in prepared pan.
  6. Bake 20-30 min. (until golden brown). Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares.
Note:

Individual servings can be made by baking in paper-lined cupcake pans. Bake for 12-15 min. (until lightly golden). Cool in pan on wire rack.

*Do not consume raw or undercooked batter.

View Party Plan: Make it & Bake it for the Holidays!

Forget Cookie Frosting: Plan a Dessert Painting Party

Forget Cookie Frosting: Plan a Dessert Painting Party

We are invited to a multitude of events this time of year. Traditional activities can be comforting, but they need a twist to prevent them from being too repetitive.

Plan an activity most people have never done; throw a party that intrigues people. RSVPs should be sent gladly—not begrudgingly.

Instead of the classic cookie decorating party, invite guests to paint a variety of desserts. Macarons, marshmallows and meringue: arguably more delicious than sugar cookies, yet undeniably more unique. These desserts give party guests turned artists a bright, blank canvas. Edible paint is simple to make and less clumsy than chunky frosting.

  • Save the Date: Plan your get-together well in advance so folks mark their calendars. It truly is the busiest time of year! We all have a lot to juggle, so respect that by giving friends and family plenty of notice.
  • Prep Prior: Make or purchase the desserts ahead of time. Macarons, marshmallows and meringues are readily available, but if you like to be adventurous in the kitchen and make your own goodies from scratch, give yourself plenty of time to do so. On party day, the host deserves to be well-rested and unstressed. Let everyone focus on the fun!
  • Mix the Paint: Dessert paint couldn’t be easier to make. Stir food coloring with 1 tablespoon of either vodka or lemon juice. That’s it! It’s important to purchase new paintbrushes to use for this event. Provide a range of sizes and types of paintbrushes—enough for each color and each guest.
  • Mess-Proof the Space: Use a tablecloth and lay a drop cloth beneath the work surface to protect carpet, rugs and flooring. Have paper towels and rub-on stain removers on hand. Folks tend to dress up for holiday parties.
  • Offer To-Go Containers: Guests will likely want to take their masterpieces home, if they haven’t eaten them all! Shallow containers work best to avoid stacking decorated treats and risk of smudging designs.

View Party Plan: Make it & Bake it for the Holidays!

Pom-Pom Gift Toppers

Pom-Pom Gift Toppers

Instead of using classic ribbon and bows, make yarn pom-poms for a modern and cheerful gift-topper. You likely have everything you need already at home and it’s a great way to use up leftover yarn!

Things You'll Need:
  • Yarn (Pro tip: Use multi-ply yarn for bigger, fluffier pom-poms!)
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard form with deep notch cut-out
Directions:
  1. Thread the yarn into the cardboard form, leaving a 2” tail. Coil remaining yarn around the cardboard. Take care not to wrap too tightly. The more you wrap, the larger and fluffier the pom-pom will be (this also depends on the type of yarn you use).
  2. Cut a 16-inch length of yarn to tie the pompom together. Thread it through the prongs and around the entire pom-pom twice before typing in a tight double knot. You’ll have cinched the pom-pom. The knotted thread should be parallel with the cardboard form and perpendicular to the yarn you wrapped around it before.
  3. Slide the pom-pom off the cardboard form. You’ll notice all the yarn is looped on two ends now. Slide one blade of scissors into one end and snip the loops free—do the same on the other end.
  4. Fluff the pompom so it hides the middle tie. You can now give your pom-pom a “haircut,” evening it into a neater sphere, if you’d like. Make sure to leave the tying string long, though, as you’ll need it to tie the pom-pom to the gift.
  5. Repeat. Make it a pom-pom party!

View Party Plan: Make it & Bake it for the Holidays!

DIY Gifts for Grownups: Spiked Hot Cocoa Kit

DIY Gifts for Grownups: Spiked Hot Cocoa Kit

What’s more comforting than a mug of hot cocoa in cold weather? Often, choosing gifts for grownups is a challenge. What do they really want? More stuff is likely not the answer. Gift them something personalized, unique and consumable. Make a hot cocoa kit—with a twist.

Buy a pack or two of small canning jars. Fill some of with cocoa and some with different kinds of sweeteners (honey, raw sugar crystals, maple syrup, etc.). Fill some jars with toppings — chocolate-covered espresso beans, caramel, crushed peppermint, and marshmallows, for example.

Kit the filled jars together in a decorative basket or cute gift box. Include several mini liquor bottles and a new mug. Other fun additions could include an antique silver spoon, rose or lavender petals (marked for consumption) and spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or ground cloves.

View Party Plan: Make it & Bake it for the Holidays!

Hidden Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Hidden Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Treat your friends and family to this sweet treat that holds a warm chocolate surprise inside.

Prep Time: 30 min.
Cook Time: 10-12 min.
Total Time: 45 min.
Serves: 20 | Difficulty: Easy

Cookie Dough:
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 20 Hershey Kissmas Tree Kisses, unwrapped
Chocolate Drizzle:
  • 10 Hershey Kissmas Tree Kisses, unwrapped
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
Topping:
  • ¼ cup peanuts, crushed
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla, and butter until well blended.
  3. Add flour, salt, and baking powder and stir until just combined.
  4. Mold about 1 tablespoon of dough around each Kiss and ensure the chocolate is completely covered. Shape into balls and place on the cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly, then remove from cookie sheet and place on a wire rack. While the cookies are cooling, prepare the chocolate drizzle.
  6. Put the cream in a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 10 seconds, or until hot. Stir in a few Kisses at a time, until the mixture is thickened. Drizzle over the cookies with a spoon.
  7. Sprinkle the crushed peanuts over the chocolate drizzle.
  8. Serve and store leftovers in an airtight container.

View Party Plan: Make it & Bake it for the Holidays!

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