Singing, Sweets & Sparkling Treats

Holiday hullabaloo. How to escape? Have some silly FUN with karaoke – it’s easier than you think. Invite your friends and family. Designate a “stage” area, serve festive desserts and break out the bubbly. (We’ve got the recipes ready for you.) Then expect rock stars, rappers, crooners and divas to entertain you. Warning: May result in extreme merriment. Side effects may include sides aching with laughter. Read on for our merry-making tips.

 

Karaoke Tips

There are many options. You can hire a professional KJ (Karaoke Jockey) to come out and take care of everything (try thumbtack.com). You can easily rent or buy a karaoke machine. 

 

Singing, Sweets & Sparkling Treats

 

Time for Sweets

It’s not the holidays without confections and bite-sized desserts. So before you start drafting those New Year’s resolutions, make sure to get your jolly on with these tasty sweets.

 

Singing, Sweets & Sparkling Treats

A bit of heaven in every fluffy bite

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Servings: 30

INGREDIENTS: 

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 bottle (1 ounce) McCormick® Red Food Color
2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
1 box (16 ounces) confectioners’ sugar

DIRECTIONS:

1.Preheat oven to 350°F. For cupcakes, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.

2.Beat butter and granulated sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not overbeat. Spoon batter into 30 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.

3.Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pans, cool completely.

4.For the frosting, beat cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Frost cupcakes when cool.

*Recipe and Photo Courtesy of McCormick & Company, Inc.

 

Singing, Sweets & Sparkling Treats

Santa serves these at the North Pole

Santa’s Peppermint Bars
Servings: 36

INGREDIENTS: 

Brownie:
1 package (family-size) fudge brownie mix

Peppermint Filling:
5 cups confectioners’ sugar
14 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Peppermint Extract
1/8 teaspoon Berry color from McCormick® Color from Nature™ – Food Colors

Chocolate Glaze:
12 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

DIRECTIONS:

1. For the brownie, preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare brownie mix as directed on package. Spread in greased foil-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pan.

2. Bake 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean. Cool in pan on wire rack.

3. Meanwhile, for the filling, beat confectioners’ sugar, melted butter, cream, peppermint extract and berry color in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended and smooth. Spread evenly over cooled brownie. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

4. For the glaze, microwave chocolate and remaining 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter in large microwavable bowl on HIGH 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Spread over top of chilled brownie. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies, if desired. Cut into bars.

*Recipe and Photo Courtesy of McCormick & Company, Inc.

 

Singing, Sweets & Sparkling Treats

Puffy little clouds of sweet, spicy joy

Snowy Gingerbread Marshmallows
Servings: 36

INGREDIENTS: 

3 envelopes unflavored gelatin (6 3/4 teaspoon)
1 cup cool tap water, divided into two half cups
1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract, or seeds from 1 vanilla pod
1/3 cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons molasses
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon McCormick® Cinnamon, Ground
1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick® Ginger, Ground
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Cloves, Ground
1/3 cup packed confectioners’ sugar for dusting

DIRECTIONS:

1. Mix gelatin with 1/2 cup cool water in a small bowl, then stir in vanilla extract or seeds (no need to fully incorporate the vanilla seeds, if using; they will disperse later on).

2. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup cool water, corn syrup, molasses, granulated sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir with a fork until the syrup begins to simmer around the edges, about 5 minutes. Clip a candy or heatproof digital thermometer to the pot, increase heat to medium-high and simmer without stirring until the syrup registers 250°F, 5 to 10 minutes more.

3. Remove from heat and transfer the thermometer to the bowl of a stand mixer. Scrape the hot syrup into the bowl with a heatproof spatula and let cool to 212°, 8 to 10 minutes.

4. Add the gelatin mixture to the syrup and mix on low speed with the whisk attachment for 1 minute. Increase to medium-high and whip until roughly tripled in volume and beginning to ball up around the whisk, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to low and mix in cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.

5. Lightly coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Scrape and smooth the fluff into the prepared pan. (If the mixture seems sticky, lightly oil or spray a spatula to help you smooth it into the pan.) Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Or cover with foil and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

6. To cut the marshmallows: Sift a bit of the confectioners’ sugar over the top of the marshmallow, then invert the pan onto a cutting board and pry the candy loose with your fingers. Sift more confectioners’ sugar over the exposed surface and rub until no longer sticky to the touch. Cut into 36 marshmallows with a chef’s knife, wiping the blade clean as needed. Put the remaining confectioners’ sugar in a sealable bag and shake a few marshmallows at a time in the bag to coat.

*Recipe and Photo Courtesy of McCormick & Company, Inc.

 

Singing, Sweets & Sparkling Treats

Chocolate whipped with bubbly – best of both worlds

Mrs. Claus’ Chocolate Mousse
Servings: 8

INGREDIENTS: 

2 cups heavy cream (divided into 1 cup portions)
4 egg yolks
1/4 c sugar
2 oz. le Cadeau California Semi-Seco Sparkling
6 oz., bittersweet chocolate, cut into pieces

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat 1 cup of cream on the stove until it starts to bubble. At the same time, melt your chocolate over a double boiler.

2. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until thick and pale in color, about 3 minutes.

3. Slowly add the heated cream into the egg yolk/sugar mixture. Return the mixture to the stove and stir constantly until it registers 165° (to kill any salmonella) then immediately take off heat.

4. Add in the sparkling wine and melted chocolate.

5. Whip the remaining cup of cream until thick and then fold it into the mixture.

6. Transfer the mixture to a pitcher or measuring cup with a spout, and fill 3/4 of the way up the glass.

7. Chill for at least 6 hours or overnight.

8. Finish with whipped cream, shaved chocolate and candy canes.

 

Bring on the Bubbly

Pop the cork to the new year! A few delightful additions and simple garnishes will send your sparkling wine cocktails over the edge and get everyone in the holiday spirit.

 

Frosty berries meet tasty bubbles

Frosty Winter’s Night
Servings: 5

INGREDIENTS: 

1 cup fresh blackberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 sprigs fresh tarragon or rosemary
1 bottle le Cadeau California Semi-Seco Sparkling

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a small saucepan, combine blackberries, sugar and water. Bring to a boil on high heat and then reduce to a simmer and let cook for 12 – 15 minutes. The blackberries will become soft and bright in color and a pinkish purple syrup will form.

2. Take off the heat and drain the blackberries, keeping the syrup in a separate bowl. Set both aside and allow to cool.

3. Once blackberries and simple syrup are cooled, spoon about 4 tablespoons of syrup into the bottom of each flute. Top with sparkling wine.

4. Garnish with fresh blackberries and a sprig of tarragon or rosemary.

 

Singing, Sweets & Sparkling Treats

A sunny and smooth refreshing favorite

Merry Mimosa
Servings: 1

INGREDIENTS: 

2.oz. orange juice
4 oz. le Cadeau Semi-Seco Sparkling
Orange slices for garnish
1 tsp. Grand Marnier (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Fill flute 2/3 full of fresh-squeezed orange juice.

2. Top with sparkling wine. Add a teaspoon of Grand Marnier. Garnish with fresh orange slice.

Or try a Blushing Mimosa: Mix two parts orange juice, one part pineapple juice. Fill the flute 2/3 full of the juice mixture, top with le Cadeau California Rosé Sparkling, and then add two tablespoons of grenadine.

 

Singing, Sweets & Sparkling Treats

Shiny red jewels float in bubbly bliss

Pomegranate Sparkler
Servings: 1

INGREDIENTS: 

1-2 tbs. pomegranate juice
Pomegranate seeds (handful)
le Cadeau Rosé Sparkling or Semi-Seco Sparkling

DIRECTIONS:

1. Pour pomegranate juice into flute.

2. Top with sparkling wine and add a handful of pomegranate seeds and a sprig of rosemary to garnish.

 

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