Mondays in November tend to be better than Mondays in most other months, in my opinion. With this one (fingers crossed) marking the last full Monday I’ll spend living in this apartment, I’m already dreaming of holiday entertaining. Plus, thanksgiving is only a few weeks away so it’s not too early to be thinking about menus is it?
Last year for thanksgiving Ben and I packed up the car and drove off to Kansas City for the double room we’d booked with friends from Utah, friends whose car broke down somewhere in Colorado and never quite made it to Kansas City. We didn’t get our fun friendsgiving last year, and this year we’re lucky enough to be heading to see family in California for the holiday (Christmas travel had to be moved up a few weeks to make sure this babe was born in Ohio), but I’m still loving the idea of festive intimate dinner parties with friends for the holidays.
Tonight I have two recipes perfect for your friendsgiving festivities (or your holiday entertaining in general). First up is a coconut cranberry punch. I found a recipe for a similar punch that called for cream of coconut from Martha Stewart and not only is cream of coconut incredibly difficult to find, but I didn’t love what it did to the texture of the punch. I think the coconut and pineapple paired with the white cranberry give a fun, almost tropical, twist on a classic holiday flavor. I topped ours with a dollup of cool whip and sweetened coconut (I also eat the sweetened coconut by the spoonful) for a fun presentation. If you’re looking for more of a dessert punch, you could mix the cool whip right into the drink (throw the punch in the blender with a few handfuls of ice and cups of cool whip – we tried this and really liked it but it was more of an after dinner treat than something to serve with a meal).
The second recipe is a twist on a favorite cookie recipe of ours, red velvet cheesecake cookies. I’ve concluded the recipe will work (I usually just get whatever is on sale at Walmart when I pick up groceries) with just about any cake mix and we loved this devil food cake version. Scroll down for the recipe, but do not be intimidated by the idea of stuffing cookies with cream cheese frosting. The red velvet version was such a hit at cookie exchange last year and I brought the chocolate ones to a halloween party (I should have dyed the inside frosting orange!) last weekend and its always fun to watch people bite into them 😉
What You’ll Need:
- 8 ounces sparkling lemon/lime soda, chilled
- 4 ounces pineapple juice, chilled
- 4 ounces white cranberry juice, chilled
- 2 teaspoons pure coconut extract
- Baker’s sweetened coconut (for rimming the glass and garnish)
- Cool Whip (for garnish)
- Combine soda, juices, and coconut extract and mix well.
- Feel free to add ice, or better yet, freeze some white cranberry juice into cubes to serve in the punch bowl.
- Garnish with cool whip and coconut.
- 1 box of devil’s food cake mix (I buy whatever is one sale)
- 2 TBSP flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 C vegetable oil
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (I used Mexican vanilla for the most recent batch and loved it)
- 4 oz cream cheese (I never actually use all of it so if you have a little less, no worries)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 C powdered sugar
- 2 C white chocolate chips, melted
- Mix eggs, oil, and vanilla together. Add cake mix and flour. Mix until smooth.
- Cover and refrigerate dough for at least one hour.
- Using a stand mixer (or beaters), whisk powdered sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla together until smooth.
- Using a spoon and your finger, scoop out 1″ balls of filling onto a plate (no need for them to be perfect, just separated)
- Place plate in fridge for at least two hours (or freezer for one).
- Remove dough and filling from fridge or freezer. Take a small ball of dough (1/8 – 1/4 a cup) and roll it into a ball. Flatten the ball using your palms, and place a small ball of filling in the middle. Use your hands to fold the edges of the dough around the filling, completely surrounding it (you now have a ball of doughs around a ball of filling). Place on baking sheet and repeat till all the dough is gone. Bake at 350 for 10 – 13 minutes or until the tops of the cookies crack. ***Once you see them begin to crack, remove them. Even if they don’t look done, they are.
- Let cookies cool and then drizzle with melted white chocolate. (before I had frosting bags for piping, I just used a knife to drizzle. Its a little messy but works just fine – if the white chocolate isn’t working for you, you can drizzle the extra cream cheese frosting on top of the cookies instead, but I really like the taste and crunch the white chocolate gives the cooki
****If you are going to store the cookies for more than a day, you may want to keep them in the refrigerator (given that they’re filled with cream cheese – but to be honest, I never have and they’re still good a few days later).
If you’re looking for more holiday entertaining inspiration, check out the Cooking Up Good website for recipes, sweepstakes, loyalty programs, coupons and more!
^ps. the coconut is in the baking aisle and after searching for coolwhip for EVER I found it in a fridge on the side of an aisle (and not by the whipped cream like I’d been expecting)