Tag Archives: Christmas

Mini Eggnog Cheesecakes

mini eggnog cheesecakes | pale yellowLast holiday recipe of the season!  Hard to believe the year is almost over.  I feel like I’ve been running around like a maniac since July and I’m still waiting for the fast pace to end.  January is going to be super busy with the move and I’m working every Saturday in February, so it looks like I’ll have to wait until March to relax.  Luckily I’m loading up on Emergen-C to  get through winter.

mini eggnog cheesecakes | pale yellowThis past week has been a non-stop blast! I was able to catch up with multiple groups of friends and family to share meals and laughter.  At each event I brought a fresh baked good or two.  This year I didn’t mess around and brought my mixer to Michigan with me, it was time for some serious baking!  And yes, my family is spoiled!

mini eggnog cheesecakes | pale yellowHowever, between lunches, dinners, family parties, and sleep-overs, my body is feeling run down.  Throw in the drive back and forth between Michigan and New York and I’m done.  Who would have thought it would be raining both ways in December!  It’s time for some salads and couch time.

mini eggnog cheesecakes | pale yellowBefore we begin salad time, there are still a few desserts that need to be shown-off.  This dessert was probably my favorite of the holiday season!  There is strong eggnog flavor; I believe the rum extract plus fresh nutmeg really drove the cheesecake to flavor-town.  A Biscoff crust is crispy and tasty, while the lovely dollop of whipped cream sets the whole cheesecake off.  Mini cheesecakes maybe my thing in 2014, they’re awesome!

mini eggnog cheesecakes | pale yellowOne Year Ago – Chocolate Sugar Cookie Santas

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Mini Eggnog Cheesecakes
Adapted from Cooking Classy
Yield – 36 mini cheesecakes

16 Biscoff cookies
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
pinch of salt
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon rum extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup eggnog
1 1/4 cup heavy cream, cold
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
extra nutmeg for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 ˚F and line 36 mini muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Crush the Biscoff cookies into fine pieces and mix into the melted butter with a pinch of salt.  Mix with a fork until all the crumbs are moist.
  3. Add about 1 teaspoon of crust into each tin and press down firmly.  I used the end of a rolling pin.
  4. Bake for 5 minutes and then let cool on a wire rack while you make the filling.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment cream the cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Add the nutmeg and beat for a few seconds.  Beat in the flour and sugar.
  6. Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Scrape the bowl as needed and beat in the extracts.
  7. Beat in the eggnog.  Use a 2-tablespoon scoop to portion the batter on the crusts, fill to the top.  Bake for 13 minutes or until set.
  8. Let cool completely on a wire rack and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before topping.
  9. To make the topping beat the heavy cream with the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment until you reach the stiff peak stage.
  10. Pipe or dollop on each cheesecake and sprinkle with more nutmeg.
  11. Store in the fridge.mini eggnog cheesecakes | pale yellow
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Chocolate Peppermint Roll

Chocolate Peppermint Roll | Pale YellowI should be done with holiday recipes and start posting healthful food to get 2014 started right!  However, I’m not done!  January will bring more sweet treats and Monday will bring the last holiday themed recipe.  Promise!  I’ll be so busy packing and moving all January, I’ll probably just post cocktail recipes; that sounds closer to the truth.

Chocolate Peppermint Roll | Pale YellowThe recipe was an accomplishment; I’ve never made a roll up cake before.  I’ve always loved the look of roll-up cakes but was really intimidated by baking a cake on a cookie sheet and then rolling it up.  Fear is gone!  Despite a few cracks, this cake was a piece of cake!  Pun intended.  I made this when Michelle was over helping me bake and she was all like, “I’ve made lots of roll up cakes, they’re easy!”  It was great having her on hand to lend some tips!

Chocolate Peppermint Roll | Pale Yellow2012 was the year of stacked cakes, 2013 was the year of bundt cakes, so maybe 2014 will be the year of rolled cakes.  I know I have a pumpkin one pinned for next fall and I have visions of strawberry shortcake dancing in my head.  It will probably happen!  I’ll just need to wait and see how my new kitchen is for baking; I’ve been very accustomed to my current set-up…

Chocolate Peppermint Roll | Pale YellowDid you know this cake is gluten free?  True story; naturally gluten free!  I appreciate when recipes are naturally gluten-free or vegan or dairy free without any special ingredients.  I want to build my arsenal of allergies-friendly recipes that I can whip out whenever needed without having to buy weird stuff.  Everyone deserves to eat delicious treats!

Chocolate Peppermint Roll | Pale YellowThis cake is quite delicious. The cake portion is soft and spongy with a rich chocolate flavor.  The eggs keep everything light and moist.  It’s hard to go wrong with a rich, minty whipped cream in the center!  To top of the cake there is a lovely ganache with peppermint pieces.  This type of dessert tastes as good as it looks and is a perfect center piece for any holiday table!

Chocolate Peppermint Roll | Pale YellowPrint the Recipe!

Chocolate Peppermint Roll
Adapted from Joy the Baker
Yield – 10-12 slices

6 eggs, separated
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 vanilla bean, seeds scrapped out

2/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup Andes peppermint pieces

  1. Cake – Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F.  Grease a 17×12” cookie sheet and line with parchment paper.  Grease and flour the parchment paper.  Set aside.
  2. Separate the eggs.  Beat the egg yolks with 1/4 cup of sugar until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.
  3. While eggs are beating, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 10-second intervals.  Add the chocolate in a slow stream while the mix runs on high.  The egg mixture should become even thicker.  Beat in the vanilla.  Transfer the mix to another bowl.
  4. Clean the bowl and beater well and dry.  Add in the egg whites and and a pinch of salt to the clean bowl.  Beat until frothy.  Sprinkle in the cream of tartar and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Beat until stiff peaks form.
  5. Fold the stiff egg whites into the chocolate mixture in three increments.  Fold slowly to keep the air.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and rotate the pan to spread the batter evenly. Take care to not squash the batter.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until the top is dry.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. Filling – While the cake is cooling make the whipped cream filling by adding the heavy cream to a bowl of stand mixer with a whisk attachment.
  9. Add in the sugar, peppermint extract, and the seeds from one vanilla bean.  Beat until the cream has stiff peaks.
  10. Allow to set in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
  11. Spread the whipped cream over the cooled cake.  Start rolling at the short end of the cake facing you.  Use the parchment paper to help you roll the cake.  If it cracks a bit it’s ok.
  12. Once the cake is rolled, place it in the fridge for another 10 minutes to set.
  13. Ganache – Heat 2/3 cup heavy cream in a saucepan until it begins to simmer.  Pour over the chocolate and set aside for 3 minutes.  Stir until the chocolate is melted.
  14. Assembly – Pour the ganache over the cake and push to the sides.  Sprinkle the Andes mint pieces over the top.  Refrigerate the cake for several hours to firm up before cutting.Chocolate Peppermint Roll | Pale Yellow


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Boozy Eggnog

Boozy Eggnog | Pale YellowMerry Christmas!  I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!  Hard to believe it’s Christmas again, things always seem to sneak up on me and the years are flying by!  I don’t know how many people read blogs on Christmas, but I’m posting anyway.  My family has quieter, low key Christmases, so we’re usually back home and in our pj’s by 5; it’s a great time to be quiet and restful.

Boozy Eggnog | Pale YellowMy favorite part of Christmas is the Christmas Eve party at my grandparents’ house.  I swear, if there was video footage of Christmas Eve, every year would look exactly the same!  Some people come and go, and everyone has aged; but for as long as I can remember, Christmas Eve has been the most consistent thing in my life.  There will be all the food only eaten once a year; fried chicken, dumplings, stuffed cabbage, kielbasa and sauerkraut, green bean casserole, cucumber salad, jello salad, pickles & olives, rolls, and Slovak cookies.  This is the meal to end all meals.

Boozy Eggnog | Pale YellowI’ve tried to amp up the dessert portion of the evening with trays of Christmas cookies.  We’re not  a family of formal dessert eaters; so usually it’s individual desserts.  This year, I have not made as many cookies, so I made mini eggnog cheesecakes and hot cocoa cupcakes, recipes to follow!  I so rarely have the opportunity to bake for my family; it’s lovely to share with them!

Boozy Eggnog | Pale YellowIf you’re waking up this Christmas morning with nothing to bring to the family party, let me suggest this eggnog!  I’m sure this is the only gift you need.  Making homemade eggnog is much simpler than I anticipated and  tastes completely different than store bought.  It’s not weirdly yellow and tastes of fresh cream, nutmeg, and bourbon.  The rum/bourbon combo packs a kick and cuts through the decadence of the drink.  You only need a small serving to feel festive and joyous!  I can’t wait to come home to more!

Boozy Eggnog | Pale YellowOne Year Ago – Sugar Cookie Trees & Wreaths

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Boozy Eggnog
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Yield – 3 8-ounce servings

1 1/4 cups heavy cream
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons dark rum
1/4 teaspoon bourbon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream

  1. Warm the 1 1/4 cups of heavy cream in a medium saucepan until it simmers, but doesn’t boil.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, and salt until pale yellow.  Whisk in the simmering cream in a slow and steady stream.
  3. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat until the mixture reaches 170 ˚F.  Pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a clean bowl.
  4. Mix in the rum, bourbon, vanilla, and about half of a freshly grated nutmeg.
  5. Cover and refrigerate.
  6. Before serving whip the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream into soft peaks.  Fold the whipped cream into the eggnog and serve with freshly grated nutmeg on top.Boozy Eggnog | Pale Yellow


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Red Velvet Blossoms

Red Velvet Blossoms | Pale YellowI’m super excited that Christmas is 2 days away!  All I need to do is wrap presents and make cupcakes for Christmas Eve dinner.  The hard part of driving back to Michigan is done!  Now I just get to relax, see friends & family, and eat, drink, & be merry!  My mom and I even made one last batch of cookies – a secret family recipe!

Red Velvet Blossoms | Pale YellowRuth and I drove to Michigan in record time.  Even with dropping Andrea off at the airport, rain all day, and a stop for lunch, we made it in eleven hours – road trip success!  After a good night’s rest I’m ready to continue my holiday celebrations.

Red Velvet Blossoms | Pale YellowI brought these cookies to a cookie exchange and caroling party.  If you know me in real life, you know I am many things, but a singer I am not.  Luckily the hosts provided boozy punch and my favorite – spiced cider with rum.  After a few cocktails I was ready to go outside and sing a few carols.

Red Velvet Blossoms | Pale YellowNot only was the caroling fun, people on the street paused to take video, but the cookies were well received!  I get excited when people grab extra cookies.  Taking a second (or third) serving is the greatest complement a baker can receive!

Red Velvet Blossoms | Pale YellowRed velvet blossoms are a fantastic addition to your cookie tray.  They are sweet, big, and festive.  The red velvet crinkle cookies are delightful on their own with the white chocolate chips inside and the powdered sugar all around.  A little kiss on top adds more chocolate to compliment the cocoa in the cookies and looks lovely.  Let’s take a break from traditional chocolate & peanut butter blossoms with this red velvet version!

Red Velvet Blossoms | Pale YellowOne Year Ago – Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Peppermint Buttercream

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Red Velvet Blossoms
Adapted from Cooking Classy
Yield – 44 2-tablespoon cookies

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 vanilla bean, seeded
2 teaspoons lemon juice
big squirt of red food coloring
3 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup powdered sugar
44 Hershey kisses unwrapped, dark chocolate

  1. Cream together the butter and sugar until pale yellow in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment for 2-3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla seeds.  Add in the food coloring and lemon juice and beat until light and fluffy.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  2. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, powder, soda, and salt.  Add to the rest of the ingredients on low speed until just combined.  Mix in the white chocolate chips.
  3. Cover the dough and refrigerate for an hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop to portion the dough.  Roll the dough in powdered sugar before placing on the cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 12 minutes or until the cookies are set.  Place on a wire rack and put a kiss in the center.  Let cool completely before packaging.Red Velvet Blossoms | Pale Yellow


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Peppermint Marshmallows

peppermint marshmallows | pale yellowI can’t stop with the peppermint and I still have another recipe to share with you; I’m slightly out of control.  Slightly is putting it mildly.  Yesterday morning I ate a cupcake for breakfast on my way to work.  Yep.  It’s the holidays.  But once I got to work I drank a green smoothie; they canceled each other out, right?

peppermint marshmallows | pale yellowYou know what else it out of control?  No one takes my suggestions.  Everywhere I have served these marshmallows, I have done so with a side of hot cocoa packets and NO ONE makes hot cocoa.  No one.   I don’t understand.  Marshmallows are a little weird to eat all on their own, but in hot cocoa – magical!

peppermint marshmallows | pale yellowWhen I drink hot cocoa at home I usually add a splash or two of creme de menthe because I adore chocolate + mint.  I’m not one to have marshmallows laying around the house, but their festivity and sweetness adds much to a mug of already decadent hot cocoa.  This recipe combines both loves.

peppermint marshmallows | pale yellowTo be perfectly honest, part of the reason I made these marshmallows  is the color!  There is a lot of brown on a typical cookie try, especially when forgoing decorated sugar cookies, and there needs to be some brightness to break up the chocolate.  Creamy, dreamy white marshmallows with pink on top are perfect.

peppermint marshmallows | pale yellowPeppermint marshmallows are not just Totes McGoates Adorbs; they are delicious too, obvi!  There is strong peppermint flavor from all the extract plus even more flavor from the crushed candy canes on top.  Maybe your friends and family will be more open suggestions when you make them these amazing marshmallows and serve them with hot cocoa!

peppermint marshmallows | pale yellow

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Peppermint Marshmallows
Adapted from Cookie Baker Lynn
Yield – 24 pieces

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
5 candy canes, crushed
powdered sugar for dusting

  1. Grease a 9×13” pan and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of cold water to the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the 3 packages of gelatin on top.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan add the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and remaining water.  Stir until the sugar dissolves.  Heat and cook until the syrup reaches 240 ˚F.
  4. Use the whisk attachment and turn the mixer on low.  Drizzle in the hot syrup.
  5. Keep the mixer on low until the syrup is combined and then turn the mixer on high for about 15 minutes or until the marshmallow is light and fluffy.  Add in the peppermint extract and mix until well combined.
  6. Spread the marshmallow in the pan and sprinkle the crushed the candy canes on top.  Let the marshmallows set.
  7. Liberally sprinkle a surface with powdered sugar.  Use kitchen shears to cut the marshmallows into pieces.  Dip the edges in more powdered sugar to avoid sticking.
  8. Store in an airtight container.peppermint marshmallows | pale yellow


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Peppermint Bark Cookies

peppermint bark cookies | pale yellow I’m a proud participant in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap of 2013!  I sent out 3 batches of these cookies and received 3 batches of cookies from other bloggers in return.

fbcookieswap2013_whiteI do admit, when I received my first batch of cookies from a stranger it was a little weird; usually I don’t eat food from people I don’t know.  But then I said, “What the heck?” and enjoyed a delightful cookie!  And then I shared with my roommates!

peppermint bark cookies | pale yellowI sent cookies to 3 blogs that are new to me: Whatcha Makin’ Now?, Fantastical Sharing of Recipes, and Homemade Cravings.  These ladies have created some lovely blogs with unique and interesting recipes; you should check them out!

peppermint bark cookies | pale yellowThe first batch I received was from Kat of I Want Crazy.  She sent fantastic coconut cream cookies that were quickly gobbles up by the roommates and I; I can’t wait for the recipe when she posts it!  The next batch was from Sarah at Punctuated with Food.  She sent super large, colorful cookies – so fun!  I think my third batch was lost in the shipping world because I often have a trouble receiving packages and was out of town for several days. To whoever sent the third batch thank you and I’m sorry, please let me know who you are!

peppermint bark cookies | pale yellowThis was one of the easiest doughs I have EVER worked with!  The chocolate dough was a breeze to roll out and it held its shape perfectly.  The chocolate cookies were delightful on their own without any chocolate topping.  The dough was minty and lovely.  I ate a lot of dough scraps, a lot.  I wish there was more minty flavor in the topping, so next time (and there will be a next time!) I would add a little dash of peppermint extract into the chocolate.

peppermint bark cookies | pale yellowThese peppermint bark cookies are perfect for Christmas baking!  They are lovely and festive and full of chocolate and peppermint, which seem to be the ideal holiday flavors.  Peppermint bark seems to be EVERYWHERE!  This is a fun and creative way to incorporate peppermint bark into a cookie.  I wish I had a few left to scarf down!

peppermint bark cookies | pale yellowOne Year Ago – Pecan Bark

Print the Recipe!

Peppermint Bark Cookies
Adapted from Annie’s Eats
Yield – 45 cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup cocoa, Hershey’s Special Dark
1/4 teaspoon salt
18 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
3/4 teaspoons vanilla
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons coconut oil
15 ounces white chocolate
crushed candy canes or peppermint candies

  1. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt, set aside
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and powdered sugar until light and creamy on high speed.  Beat in the eggs and extracts.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  3. On low speed, add the dry ingredients until just combined
  4. Wrap the dough in a disk in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.  The dough is very soft.
  5. Preheat the oven to 325 ˚F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Flour your surface and roll the dough into a thickness of 1/4″ and cut into 3-inch circles.
  7. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until set.  Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes and then cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. In the bowl of a double boiler, melt the bittersweet chocolate with one tablespoon of coconut oil.  Use an offset spatula to spread a thin layer on the top of each cookie.  Allow the chocolate to harden by placing the cookies in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  9. Melt the white chocolate in a clean double boiler with one tablespoon of coconut oil.  Use a teaspoon to spread white chocolate on each cookie.  Sprinkle the tops with crushed mints.
  10. Let harden in the refrigerator before packaging.peppermint bark cookies | pale yellow


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Eggnog Chocolate Chip Cookies

Eggnog Chocolate Chip Cookies | Pale YellowEvery year by this time I have a massive spread sheet of the 8-10 different kinds of cookies I’m going to make and all the ingredients needed to make said cookies.  This year I’m lost.  No cookie list and Christmas is coming so quickly.  Between a late Thanksgiving with travel and not getting home from work until 5, I just don’t have the time I had before to bake my heart out!

Eggnog Chocolate Chip Cookies | Pale YellowI have a few Christmas recipes I want to try out this year but they are going to be of the mini cupcake and cheesecake variety for family parties.  I’ll probably share those after Christmas, but I’m going to do my best to squeeze in a few cookie recipes before then!

Eggnog Chocolate Chip Cookies | Pale YellowI know eggnog is horrible for you with all of its fatty goodness, but it just tastes so good!  When I worked at the Moose (best coffee shop ever!), we would have eggnog seasonally and there is something magically delicious and decadent about one chai-nog a year; chai + eggnog!  Also, McDonalds is advertising eggnog milkshakes, it’s taking all of my will power to not get one!

Eggnog Chocolate Chip Cookies | Pale YellowThese cookies have a delightful eggnog flavor in a simple chocolate chip cookie.  The eggnog comes through at the finish and the cookies stay soft and chewy.  The only difference I would make would be to add rum extract and more fresh nutmeg.  If you’re a eggnog lover like me, you’ll want to really drive home the eggnog flavor!  Otherwise, this recipe is simple, delightful, and a perfect way to start your Christmas baking no matter how much or how little time you have for seasonal baking!

Eggnog Chocolate Chip Cookies | Pale YellowOne Year Ago – Boozy Cupcakes

Print the Recipe!

Chocolate Chip Eggnog Cookies
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Yield – 21 2-tablespoon cookies

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup egg nog
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
a few grates of fresh nutmeg
1 cup chocolate chips, bittersweet

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 ˚F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until pale yellow, about 3 minutes.
  3. Beat in the egg nog, egg yolk, and vanilla until well incorporated.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, powder, salt, and fresh nutmeg.  Add to the wet ingredients and mix on the lowest speed until just combined.  Mix in the chocolate chips.
  5. Use a 2-tablespoon scoop to portion the dough on cookie sheets, the cookies spread, so provide space.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the edges begin to brown and the cookies are set.
  7. Move to a wire rack to cool completely.Eggnog Chocolate Chip Cookies | Pale Yellow

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