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Friday, December 28, 2012

Mashmallow Whipped Cream & Peppermint Whipped Cream {the key to a great hot cocoa}

I came upon these two recipes (1. Marshmallow Whipped Cream & 2. Peppermint Whipped Cream) about a month and a half ago, and I've made them too many times to count. Seriously, I think I have a problem. I spied them as I was out to have some family over for a hot cocoa bar.  I like hot cocoa. But I L.O.V.E. hot cocoa with these two whipped creams. Hot cocoa will never be the same, so beware! The Marshmallow Whipped Cream is soft and fluffy with the perfect hint of vanilla, which, if you ask me, it makes the whipped cream.  The peppermint whipped cream is perfectly sweetened with blended candy canes (making peppermint powder). This can be prepared two ways. You can fold the peppermint into the cream and let it sit in the fridge and the it dissloves in the cream, leaving you a lightly pink and smooth peppermint flavored whipped cream. Or you can fold the peppermint in right before serving and you can little bits of crunchy peppermint. The last way is the way I like it.  Honestly if I had to choose just one whipped cream to make I'd make the marshmallow whipped cream. But I really like them side by side (as pictured above), they compliment each other so well.

Just as a side note, I did try to combine the two recipes for a Marshmallow-Peppermint whipped cream, and it worked, but I didn't really like it as much. It was too sweet, the marshmallows, powdered sugar, and candy cane was just too much sweetener.  So I've been sticking to making them separate, or just the marshmallow version. Yum! Enjoy some hot cocoa!

Marshmallow Whipped Cream & Peppermint Whipped Cream {2 Recipes}
Printable Version

Marshmallow Whipped Cream
1 cup of whipping cream (I have an easier time whipped cream that isn’t ultra-pasteurized)
1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar (I always use 2)
a splash of vanilla
1-2 cups small marshmallows (I use 1 1/2 cups)

In a bowl, whip cream and powdered sugar until firm stiff. Stir in a splash of vanilla. Fold in marshmallows.  Use immediately to top cups of hot cocoa.  Or place in the fridge for a few hours and the marshmallows will puff up and soften.  I like to let it set for an hour or two in the fridge otherwise you might as well just use marshmallows in your cocoa and have cream on top.  The soft marshmallows add the perfect touch to this light and fluffy whipped cream.

Peppermint Whipped Cream
3 (regular sized) red and white peppermint candy canes
1 cup of whipping cream (I have better luck with whipping cream that's not ultra-pasteurized)

Unwrap your candy canes and place them in a blender or food processor. Process until the candy canes until they are a fairly fine powder. (Mine usually turn into powder works great)

In another bowl, whip cream until firm. Fold in the candy cane powder in the cream, the candy canes give it enough sweetness, so there is no need to add sugar. Use immediately to top you cocoa if you like little pieces of crunchy candy cane in it (my favorite way). Or place in the refrigerator for a few hours and allow the candy canes to completely dissolve. It’s great both ways! 

 I love the candy cane smells good. 
But don't breath it in. It can't be good for your lungs or nasal passage! :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"Seasoning" Greetings {Savory Holiday Neighbor Gifts}

Last year we got a bottle of homemade seasoned salt from my uncle. We also had about 13 plates of delicious sweets too from other friends and family. I ended up freezing most of the sweets because we just couldn't eat it all! However, the seasoning salt lasted months, and we used it every day (on our eggs mostly).  I thought it was an awesome gift (Thanks again, Tom). So last year I made a mental note that I'd like to give out a seasoning mix to my neighbors for Christmas. I have a few seasoning recipes on the blog so far (Taco & Fajita), and they are ones I use on a regular basis.  The taco seasoning is one I thought would be good to pass around, I mean doesn't everyone use taco seasoning (it's even gluten-free).  I had the idea to make a catchy "seasoning" saying on my gift tag. I orignally thought of saying 'Tis' the "Seasoning"', but after talking to Leesh, I decided to go with '"Seasoning" Greetings'. I thought it was kind of fun and cute!   Thanks for always helping me out, Leesh!

So, if you're in the market for savory vs sweet gift to hand out to friends and/or neighbors, just mix up your favorite seasoning mix (or check out my taco and fajita seasoning recipes), buy some big seasoning shakers (or small salt and pepper shakers) at the Dollar Store ($1 for the big ones and 2/$1 for the salt and pepper size), fill up the bottle with your seasoning of choice, make a nifty little tag ("Tis' the "Seasoning" with Love, Your Name OR ""Seasoning" Greetings" with Love, Your Name, the options are endless here), and tie it on with some cute twine or raffia.  And your set!  
Other ideas for Neighbor/Friend Gifts - Check out all the links!
Johnson Cookies (with Christmas colored sprinkles)
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chips Cookies (just use Christmas colored M&M's)
Glazed Doughnuts (cut out with Christmas cookie cutters - add Christmas sprinkles too)

Here are a few of the things I did to assemble my seasoning shakers!

I made these tags by printing the phrase on some tan card stock. I found the cute Candy Cane Font here. (It's the 5th one down or so). I then glued it on to some green scrapbook scraps, punched a hole in the corner, and got some cute candy-cane twine for tying it on.

 I washed and dried the seasoning bottles and made a narrow-mouth funnel to pour in the seasonings (since I don't have a real funnel).
 The funnel helped for a no-spill project!
 I cut little circles of aluminum foil about the size of the shaker top....
 ...and then put it in the top of the lid so we didn't have taco seasoning all over the place! :) 
And to keep it fresh!
 I also had cards to hand out with my gifts so I wrote up the recipe for the taco seasoning and stuck it in the envelope. That way if they like it, they can make more, and it tells how much seasoning to use for your taco meat!

Happy Gift Giving!