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Delicious Hot Cocoa Ideas To Get You Through This Weekend’s Chilly Weather

If you’re a native Floridian, like myself, you know as well as I do that sometimes it can be a tad hard to embrace the Christmas spirit with temperatures in the 80’s mere weeks before the big holiday. But this coming weekend and for most of next week, we will have a bit of a cold snap with the temps dipping down into the high 30’s and 40’s! Burrrrrrr! And what’s a better way to get through a chilly cold snap than by enjoying some delicious HOT CHOCOLATE!! So, we wanted to share two of our super cute ooey gooey hot cocoa favorites – Marshmallow Polar Bear Hot Chocolate & Marshmallow Snowman Hot Chocolate! Marshmallow Polar Bear Hot Chocolate Marshmallow Polar Bear Hot Chocolate is super fun to make and drink! You can even include the kids after a long day at school or while decorating your house for the holidays! Perfect for parties and afterschool events. Marshmallow Polar Bear Ingredients: To make your marshmallow polar bears, here’s what you’ll need (amounts are for each bear): 1 jumbo marshmallow 1 standard-sized marshmallow 2 mini marshmallows 2 candy eyeballs 1 chocolate candy (M&M’s / Reese’s Pieces) Melted white chocolate/almond bark Hot chocolate mix of your choice Milk or water for hot chocolate mix   Directions: For each bear, begin with a jumbo marshmallow for the base. Cut about 1/3 off a standard marshmallow to use for the polar bear’s muzzle. Melt a small amount of white chocolate (or almond bark/white candy coating) and put a tiny tab on the cut side of that 1/3 marshmallow piece, then attach it to the jumbo marshmallow. Dab a small bit of melted white chocolate on the chocolate candy (where the logo is) and place it on the top side of the muzzle. Then, put a small dab of the melted white chocolate on the back of each of the candy eyeballs and put them on the jumbo marshmallow face, right above the muzzle. Lastly, put a small dab of the melted chocolate on each of the mini marshmallows and attach to the top sides of the jumbo marshmallow for ears. Don’t forget to make your hot cocoa – adding milk or water as you prefer! Put the marshmallow right into the hot cocoa, or add a big dollop of whipped cream on the top and then plop the polar bear head right on in! Check out the entire Marshmallow Polar Bear Hot Chocolate recipe (along with tons of other spectacular holiday treat ideas) at MomEndeavors.com! They’re almost too cute to eat!! …almost! Now we can’t forget their adorably edible snowman friends! Here’s that super quick and fun recipe, too! Marshmallow Snowman Hot Chocolate Homemade Hot Cocoa Ingredients: 1/2 cup sugar 1/4 cup baking cocoa  1/3 cup hot water 4 cups milk 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract Dash of salt Directions:  In a saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa, and salt. Add water and bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in milk; heat to serving temperature. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Whisk until frothy. Marshmallow Snowman Ingredients: 3 regular sized marshmallows Chocolate cookie icing Pretzel sticks Candy corn Directions: Squeeze on eyes and a mouth to one marshmallow using your chocolate icing. Cut a slit in the middle and press in a candy corn for the nose. Cut another slit in the backside and press the marshmallow on the edge of your mug. Add 2 dots of icing to another marshmallow and press 2 pretzel sticks in the sides. Add another dot of icing on your last marshmallow and press in 2 pretzel sticks to the bottom. Place them in your mug and watch your snowman relax in his hot cocoa bath or add any other cute faces you want to the mix, like this little guy above! Check out the full recipe, along with some other kid-friendly holiday snowman treat ideas, at KitchenFunWithMy3Sons.com. Other holiday hot cocoa ideas we adore: Snowflake Hot Chocolate S’mores Hot Cocoa Starbucks Snickerdoodle Hot Chocolate Elsa White Hot Cocoa  Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa Caramel White Hot Chocolate  Bourbon Spiked Hot Chocolate (for the adults!) Naughty List Hot Chocolate (also for the adults!)  

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

The name says it all…and yes, it does taste as good as it sounds. First off, let me say, this recipe is not my own. I found this gem one while on Pinterest one afternoon searching for new foods to try during my 2014 Pumpkin Spice Challenge. This recipe comes from Inside Bru Crew Life‘s blog. As a PSL fan,  I knew I had to taste these things for myself so I gathered all the ingredients, busted out my KitchenAid Mixer and got to work. First, I started out by preparing the spice-flavored cupcakes. Following the box’s instructions, I prepared the batter and gave it a little PSL transformation by adding some extra ingredients like freshly brewed coffee and pumpkin puree. The cupcake batter went from a dull brown color to a rich orange in the matter of minutes (see picture below).  I poured the batter into 2-12 cupcake pans and put these bad boys in the oven to bake. As they baked, my entire kitchen filled with the sweet aroma of pumpkin <3. Next, I got to work on the coffee-flavored frosting. Everything was going swimmingly until I realized I only had 4oz of white chocolate instead of 6oz. (Note: Don’t make my mistake and only get one Ghiradelli’s chocolate bar.) Hoping 2oz wouldn’t make that much of a difference, I continued on with the recipe and wished for the best. Check out this sweet frosting action shot below. Once my cupcakes had cooled and my frosting whipped, I assembled the miniature Pumpkin Spice Latte cupcakes and gave each one its very own mini green straw. Here’s how the final product turned out! So, I know what you are thinking. They don’t quite look like the inspiration, but they don’t look like a complete failure either. Final Recipe Thoughts… Ease to Make: Super easy. I felt like a pro-baker. Appearance: Um….All I have to say is frosting is hard work, especially if you are trying to make it look like whipped cream. I’m not sure if those 2oz of white chocolate really made that much of a difference or if it needed to cool a little bit longer. The frosting fell flat the minute it hit the top of the cupcake, and yes, the cupcakes were cool.  All attempts to even make it look like whipped cream had immediately ended. I will say the frosting tasted great even though it didn’t turn out looking the best. Taste: Like a pumpkin spice latte, seriously. You can definitely taste the coffee and pumpkin spice in each bite. Overall, they were delicious, moist and not overly sweet. Favorite New Recipe?: Definitely. These are the perfect dessert to make for a party or even if they are lucky, your coworkers. They are sure to be a hit, leaving everyone asking for seconds.

Nailed it or Failed it? Broccoli Cheddar Bites

For our first ever “nailed it or failed it” series post, we’re doing one of our favorite pub orders, Broccoli Cheddar Bites! The first time I had this, I was at a little Irish pub out in Tampa, Fla. and, being the broccoli fanatic that I am (no, seriously, I eat broccoli with at least one meal each day), this was really a no-brainer. Check out the recipe from allrecipes.com and let us know if we “nailed it or failed it” on our Facebook page! OFT Tackles Broccoli Cheddar Bites Cooking Skill Level: Noob Time: 30 minutes Taste Rating:  Quantity: 12 large balls (we served two per person and were stuffed) Occasion: When your kids don’t want veggies and you need a fun disguise for their broccoli. Or, when you have a small event and need some finger foods that are easy to make and easy to whip up if more people show up than expected (don’t you hate that?). Or, our personal favorite, for those epic football parties you have planned for this season

Marshmallow-Filled S’mores Cupcakes

Ease: Electric Mixer Enthusiast Taste: Love it. Did you miss National S’mores Day (on August 10th)? We admit that we did. BUT, that doesn’t mean they weren’t on our mind. Well, when you’re done drooling over the pic above, it’s time to head out to the store and pick up a few things. Summer isn’t over till you say it’s over! I found this recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction site (SallysBakingAddiction.com is well… addicting). The founder of Orlando Food Tours asked me to make this complicated, hours-long S’mores cake, which sounded/looked absolutely amazing (from another site)… so I made cupcakes. They’re just so cute. I would suggest baking this with your friends. It’ll speed up the process and be exceptionally more fun! This site has a ton of S’mores recipes, so if you’re not in the mood for cupcakes, you can make S’mores cinnamon rolls… pie… crepes… Before I lose you — one last note: keep an eye on your marshmallows, so they don’t burst into flames! Woop, here it is: Marshmallow-Filled S’mores Cupcakes <a href="http://www.orlandofoodtours.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/marshmallow diovan medicine.jpg”>You have to let us know what you think!  

Red Velvet Cornbread

Cooking Skill Level: N00B Taste: “Can I have seconds?” “I’m sorry, what was that?” – Yes. It’s Red Velvet Cornbread. I was tasked with making this seemingly odd concoction, but hey, it’s got Red Velvet in the title. So, I took the disgusted look off my face and gave it a whirl. Here’s the deal – it may look gross to you while you’re making it. You may even think, “Am I really supposed to put that in there?”, but trust me, it’ll be okay. Just follow the recipe, which only requires n00b-level baking skills (like dump all this here in this bowl-type skills)… can you handle that? Yes, of course. Is it a dessert? Yessnoo? At first sight, it definitely looks like a cake. At first bite, it’s more cornbread-y. However, the magic happens when you put the cream cheese spread on top. Then, it’s like, “Pow, that’s Red Velvet Cornbread!” But, is it a dessert? You tell me. Speaking of the cream cheese spread. I followed the recipe faithfully, but was itching to add some sugah. So, without holding back… This recipe was really good… but it tasted like straight up red cornbread to me. Which, don’t get me wrong, didn’t stop me from having at least ten big pieces. BUT WAIT, when I brought them into the Tasting Lab (a.k.a my work) the next day (which by the way, stored really well in the fridge overnight), everyone raved about them. So, if you’re worried about being the boring person who almost brought in the boxed cornbread to the party… just dump some Red Velvet cake mix and some fancy 3-ingredient topping on the side and you’ll be turning away autographs left and right. Here’s your ticket to fame: Red Velvet Cornbread with Honey Cinnamon Cream Cheese Spread Recipe