No-Bake Date Ball Cookies

Every Christmas since I can remember my mom has made two special treats. One, so simple and straight forward that it hardly needs a recipe, is her white chocolate covered pretzels with peanuts. Those we would make multiple batches of, wrap them up, and give as gifts. The other special treat we kept for ourselves.

Each year as we were preparing to bake, my mom would get her recipe box down from above the fridge and extract the stained index card that held the recipe. Neither of us know where it came from, but we are thankful for it none-the-less. She would make the candy bit, I would mix in the krispies, she would roll the piping hot mixture into balls, and I would roll them in powdered sugar.

No-Bake Date Ball Cookies from Kiwi and Peach

Is it healthy? Certainly not, but it’s Christmas and it’s tradition.

No-Bake Date Ball Cookies from Kiwi and Peach

What’s your favorite Christmas tradition? 

Besides the baking, my other favorite tradition is having breakfast for dinner on Christmas Eve. This year the Kiwi is making his famous buttermilk biscuits, I’m making my goat cheese grits, and we’re having scramblers with bacon and the left over goat cheese. It is going to be so good!

No-Bake Date Ball Cookies from Kiwi and Peach

No-Bake Date Ball Cookies

{makes about 35-40 balls}

The Candy
1/2 cup butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
8 ounces of dates, pitted and chopped
1 tsp vanilla
a pinch of salt

The Krispy
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup coconut, shredded
2 cups of rice krispies cereal

about 1/4 cup powdered sugar for rolling

In a medium sized pot on low heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, and dates. Stir it around to melt the butter and dissolve the sugar. Let it simmer until it begins to be frothy and bubbly. Stir in the vanilla and salt then take the pot off the heat.

{The original recipe says to simmer for 5 minutes, but you don’t want to burn it. If its really frothy and bubbling before 5 minutes go ahead and take it off the heat or your end product will be rock hard.}

Mix in the pecans, coconut, and rice krispies and let it cool for about 5 minutes or until you can stand to touch it.

Pour your powdered sugar into a bowl you can roll the cookies around in.

Once it doesn’t feel like you’re holding a handful of hot coal, roll bits of the mixture into 1 inch balls and drop them into the bowl of powdered sugar. Roll them around a bit until they are lightly covered then, being sure to knock off the extra sugar, transfer them to your Christmas cookie tin and you’re finished!

Merry Christmas y’all!

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The Leaving Party {the eats}

There is a lot of pressure being a food blogger when you’re hosting a party. Aside from the usual logistics of cramming lots of people into a tiny urban apartment, there’s this: people expect the food to be out-of-this-world good. And rightly so, I mean I write about this stuff all the time, I should be able to deliver, yes?

Well, I didn’t want to disappoint, but let’s be real. The party was just a few days after we got back from Hong Kong and in the midst of a friend arriving to stay with us for the week, a blogger meet-up, meetings with the consulate, and organizing a move.

If I was going to be able to deliver, we had to keep it simple.

Delicious, but simple..

With that in mind, we decided to go with a seasonal taco bar, full of our favorite fall stuffings and heavy on the roasted veggies. I mean, who doesn’t like tacos?!

{If you have no interest in throwing a similar shin-dig, I give you permission to skip this next paragraph. It might be a bit, eh, boring.}

Logistics wise, the prep really couldn’t have been simpler. The day before the party, I prepped the mole seasoning and made the steak marinade, salsa, a batch of quinoa, the oreo truffles, and the cake. If you’re organizing a shin-dig these thing could easily be done more than a day in advance. That is just how it worked out best for us. On the day, I roasted the sweet potatoes, crisped the quinoa, and iced the cakes. I was going to let early guest help out with the skewers, but I ended up having a bit of extra time so I went ahead and did it. The Kiwi whizzed together the guacamole and prepped the cheeses. Shortly before folks arrived I whipped up the cider {recipe below}, and as they were arriving, the Kiwi put the steaks on so they’d be nice and hot.

The whole thing ended up being a breeze to throw together which was exactly what we needed. We needed to have time with our friends. We needed to have more time to focus on the reason we were there–letting all these fabulous people know how special they are to us and just how wonderful they have made our time here in Munich

And, if I do say so myself, it was a huge, huge hit. Every last bite was  gobbled, and I say that’s a mark of success.

Thank goodness.

Fall Taco Party

{I’m the worst at remembering to take photos at parties, especially my own, so I didn’t get a single picture of the whole spread. Schade. Picture a white tablecloth with craft paper runner, cutlery in mason jars, moroccan bowls, white china, these precious little place cards for the mains, and labels for the toppings scribbled in sharpie on the craft paper. It was beautiful while it lasted. All of these photos were taken at another time.}

for the starter
date, prosciutto and baby mozzarella skewers {kiwi+peach}

for the mains
mole roasted sweet potatoes and crispy quinoa {naturally ella via a house in the hills}
carne asada, for the meat lovers {kiwi+peach}
…with freshly pressed tortillas  and tortilla chips from the mexican grocery down the street.

Fall Taco Party from Kiwi and Peach

for the toppings
roasted tomato salsa {naturally ella}
guacamole {kiwi+peach}
spinach
sour cream
goat cheese, crumbled
feta, cubed
aged cheddar, shredded

for the sweets
oreo truffles {recipe from my friend Caitlin, remind me to tell you this story later…}
mini whiskey carrot cakes with cream cheese icing {the kitchn}

Mini Whiskey Carrot Cakes from Kiwi and Peach

for the drink
Augustiner beer {a Munich must}
Hot Caramel Apple Cider with dark spiced rum for spiking {recipe below}

Hot Caramel Apple Cider from Kiwi and Peach {recipe}

Hot Caramel Apple Cider

The Cider
2 liters apple juice
2 Tbsp mulling spices

The Caramel
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 Tbsp cream {we use soy cream}
pinch of sea salt

Place a large pot on medium low heat and pour in the apple juice. Tie the mulling spices up in a bit of cheesecloth and drop it in the pot. Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until its properly warm.

In a separate pot on medium heat, melt your butter. Whisk the brown sugar in and then add the cream and sea salt. Continue whisking constantly for about 5 minutes or until the sugar has completely melted and the caramel just begins to thicken.

Remove the mulling spices and whisk the caramel into the cider.

Serve as is, or spike it with some nice spiced rum if you’re feeling festive.