Tag Archives: fall entertaining

Mexican Chocolate Cookies

Cookie and Coffee Must-Haves this Holiday Season

Mexican Chocolate Cookies

Chewy, Gooey, Chocolate Cookies with a hint of cinnamon and chili.

I admit it–  I really don’t have a sweet tooth.  I know, I know– please don’t hate me.  I used to, though.  Now, if I had to choose between french fries and chocolate for my last meal, I’d go french fries every time.  (Dipped in tartar sauce.  Weird, right?)  But every so often, a recipe drives me back to the chocolatey, sugary cravings of my childhood.  These Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies did just that.  When I think about “Mexican chocolate”- it gives me visions of cocoa mixed with cinnamon and a hint of spice.  The secret ingredients here are crushed up Cocoa Pebbles, cinnamon and chili powder.  HOLY DELISH.  Adding yummy to the delicious is the fact that once you make the batter, you roll these morsels of scrumptious in another dipping of cocoa pebble crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and chili powder.  Then, hit them with a sprinkle of coarse kosher salt.  Ohhhhhheeeeeeemmmmmggggggg.  Like, seriously, y’all.  Drop the mic.  You’ll never be partial to an ordinary chocolate chip cookie again.  If you’re really averse to anything spicy, you can omit the chili powder, but I really, really recommend you keep it in.  It adds that “Je ne sais quoi” element.  The “what is that flavor that I can taste but can’t quite figure out what it is that makes it so awesome??”  Make these.  You’ll thank me!

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

You can’t have just one!

Now let’s have some coffee talk.  It is the FIRST thing I think about when I wake up in the morning.  I actually wake up in the middle of the night sometimes, just wishing it was time to get up and brew my coffee.  As a present for my 40th birthday, JP’s mom gave me the Keurig 2.0 K250.  This is the Cadillace of Coffeemakers.  Not only does it brew whatever signature flavor you want, (there are hundreds of flavors that are compatible with Keurig’s system) but it also has a 4 carafe option that makes entertaining super easy.  You don’t have to wait for an entire pot of coffee to brew, just push the button and then 4 cups are brewed instantly. It’s that easy!  In addition to the delicious coffee bonus, Keurig offers this particular machine in 6 gorgeous colors.  I’m partial to “Orange Zest.”  How many times do you try to hide the appliances on your countertop?  This is counter Eye Candy!  

Keurig 2.0 K250

Keurig 2.0 K250 in “Orange Zest” color. It’s countertop eye candy!

A super cute idea to do when you’re entertaining with these Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies and the Keurig 2.0 is to set up a hot chocolate bar.  You can fill canisters with yummy treats to stir into your hot chocolate (or coffee!)  These jars with the chalkboard labels are from At Home, the home decor superstore, my current obsession!  

At Home Canisters

You can find these canisters at At Home. I love the chalkboard labels!

Fall Entertaining on the Studio 62 set.

Fall Entertaining on the Studio 62 set.

This is another opportunity to dress up your dinner/entertaining table with fun accessories.  I took a turquoise bird cage and stuffed it with apples that brought out the orange tone of the Keurig and some of the hues of the glass pumpkins, also found at At Home.  I love this particular combination of colors– the chocolates, turquoises and oranges!

Sometimes just a few key items can really set the tone for your whole party!

*This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
Yields 52
Delicious Chocolate cookies with a cinnamon and chili twist.
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Ingredients
  1. ½ cup ground Cocoa Pebbles, divided
  2. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  3. 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  4. 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  5. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  8. 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
  9. 2 large eggs
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  11. 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  12. 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, crush cereal. (About 1 cup of Cocoa Pebbles will yield ½ cup of ground cereal.)
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, ground cereal, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down side of bowl. Add eggs and vanilla and beat to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat until combined.
  3. Chill dough for 1 -2 hours.
  4. In a small bowl, combine remaining ¼ cup ground cereal, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, and chili powder (if using). Using a tablespoon to measure, form balls of dough and roll in cinnamon-sugar cereal mixture.
  5. Place, about 2 inches apart, on parchment-lined baking sheets. Press down lightly with a glass. Bake until cookies are set about 8-10 minutes.
  6. Transfer cookies to racks to cool completely. Store in airtight container, up to 1 week. Makes about 52 cookies.
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Fall entertaining

Fall Entertaining on San Antonio Living

Fall entertaining

Fall is Here! Let’s decorate!

 

While most people are groaning about summer being over and the days growing colder and shorter, I’m loving every minute of the foray into fall!  It’s absolutely my favorite season– the smoky smells of fireplaces crackling to life after a year of slumber, the crunch of amber and golden hued leaves under my boots (yay boot weather!) and well, all the things I can cook with pumpkin.  This is the first year I have spent as much time thinking about decorating as I have about cooking.  Part of that inspiration is a new partnership with At Home, the Home Décor Superstore!  They are expanding all over the country– -which is really good news if you’re like me and need a little inspiration to get the design ball rolling.  

In preparation for a fall entertaining segment in San Antonio on San Antonio Living, I dragged my friend shopping with me, promising it would be a quick in and out.  OMG!  I felt like a little kid in a candy store….FEAST for the eyes!  Everywhere we looked, there was more to choose from!  I wanted to put together a sophisticated spread, but I didn’t want it to feel to “decorator-y.”  You guys KNOW what I mean.  Have you ever been to someone’s house and everything is SO well put together, it feels more like a museum and you don’t want to touch anything??  Instead, I wanted the visual element to be gorgeous, but with the “I could put that together too” vibe.  

I like choosing one inspirational item when I’m entertaining and build my aesthetic around it.  At Home’s glass pumpkins are beautiful conversation pieces, and I immediately knew I could create a table scene around them.  

Glass Pumpkin

At Home’s signature Glass Pumpkin comes in several sizes and colors.

Little secret here….I have never put together my own floral arrangement aside from the ones you pick out and pre-order from a florist.  The floral section was loaded with stunning fall colors and I had to start picking out my centerpieces because I still had grocery shopping to do!

Centerpiece

Don’t be afraid of big, bold colors to accent your table.

I put together 2 floral centerpieces– this was my favorite.  One of the things I’ve learned from my man, JP, who is a genius with color– he’s an artist, after all, is to not be afraid of bold color.  The entire spread doesn’t have to be wild, but integrating some big pops of color adds a really cool vibe that brings your party to life!

Working with the hues of that gorgeous mosaic pumpkin (in the foreground of the pic) I chose bright yellow accented with a rich plum.  

To add some depth and contour to the flowers, I filled a large At Home cylinder with an assortment of pine cones and crab apples.  I love how the colors play off each other and it creates such a terrific focal point on the table.  To accent the purple hued reeds, I used chargers of the same color.

Don’t be afraid to make more than one “centerpiece”– or create different “scenes” on one table, if you’re setting up appetizers on one side and desserts on the other, buffet style.

I didn’t have a cake stand, so I got creative and took another cylinder container and filled it with mini gourds and pumpkins, then put my No Bake Double Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake on top.  (That recipe is coming tomorrow!)

Cheesecake Stand

You don’t need a traditional cake stand! Get creative and place your (No Bake Double Layer Cheesecake!) on a cylinder filled with mini pumpkins!

When you’re setting up a table, think of multi-layers, alternating the heights of what you’re presenting.  I took some cool looking candelabras that I found at At Home and used one for a candle, and topped the other 2 with pumpkins.

Instead of using a boring old basket lined with a napkin for silverware, I took a mosaic container and filled it with forks, knives and spoons.  

The tablecloth I kept simple– a solid chocolate, since I was going to be working with so much color, but I accented it with gold leaf placemats which were subtle, but accentuated the other elements of the table.  

I knew what I wanted to accomplish in my mind’s eye, but it was so gratifying when it all came together on the set of San Antonio Living!  Here’s the segment so you can get some close ups of the gorg- and also check out some fall recipe ideas.  Stay tuned for No Bake Double Layer Cheesecake, Curried Butternut Squash Soup!  

Making a signature drink is always something that impresses guests…This is sort of the best combo of signature drink AND dessert!  Pumpkin Beer float, anyone?  DEEEEE-LISH!

*This is a sponsored post, but all recipes, ideas and opinions are my own.

Beer Floats

At Home has these adorable mason jar mugs that you can personalize for your guests with name tags! Cheers!

Pumpkin Beer Floats
The yummiest combo of a signature drink and dessert all in one!
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Ingredients
  1. Vanilla Ice cream (Caramel would be really delicious too!)
  2. Pumpkin Ale or Pumpkin Hard Cider
Instructions
  1. Scoop ice cream into mugs.
  2. Pour Pumpkin ale or cider on top.
  3. Serve immediately!
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/