Tuesday, December 15, 2015

reindeer marshmallows, crock pot hot cocoa . . . and sugar cookies

One of my favorite holiday family activities is hosting a small cookie decorating party for . . . and with . . . my 4 beautiful children.

We gather around a 6-foot long table that's covered with 120+ Christmas shaped sugar cookies, frosting and sprinkles galore, and mugs of hot cocoa  . . . and we decorate cookies for hours and hours while listening to Christmas music and spending quality time with each other.  
You can see photos of this year's cookies here.

I try to mix it up every year, by adding new cookie shapes, or serving a new hot cocoa, and by introducing new, fun icings and sprinkles.

I made these adorable reindeer marshmallows for our hot cocoa mugs this year.

They're so simple to assemble . . .  and look festive perched atop a paper candy stick and placed into a cup of hot cocoa.

Although you could use cloves for the eyes, I like the simplicity of just the antlers (rosemary) and nose (cranberry secured with a toothpick).

Have you ever heard of Crock Pot Hot Cocoa? 

I discovered it earlier this year . . . and love it!

One of my favorite things about it is that you pour everything into a crock pot and let the ingredients marry together . . .  so simple! And then a few hours later, you have a wonderfully rich and delicious home-made hot cocoa that's made with real chocolate. YUM!

crock pot Hot Cocoa
Serves 12 - 1 cup servings
.     .     .     .     .     .
  6 cups milk
1 14-ounce can of Sweetened Condensed milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups of semi-sweet (or milk, or dark) chocolate chips
.     .     .     .     .     .
In a slow cooker, stir together heavy cream, milks, vanilla and chocolate chips.
Cover and cook on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until mixture is hot and chocolate chips are melted.
Stir again before serving.
Top with your favorite fixings and enjoy!
Refrigerate any left overs.
.     .     .     .     .     . 

Whipped cream is an important topping when serving hot cocoa . . . and so are sprinkles when you're hosting a cookie decorating party (smile!).

I also served  Starbuck's Vanilla Brulee. It reminds me of a mild cocoa that's infused with warm vanilla and caramel notes . . . YUM!

So often, it's the simple gatherings with our loved ones that are so much fun.

I hope that you feel inspired to bake sugar cookies and make reindeer marshmallows this weekend . . .  and spend some quality time with the ones that you love most!

LET'S STAY in touch!
.      .      .      .      .

Thank you for stopping by!
I love reading your comments and appreciate them so much!


  1. This is beautiful, Suzanne! We have a similar tradition and I hope to have a blog post on it next week. Decorating Christmas cookies is so much fun and something that my kids look forward to every year. Glad you guys enjoy the same thing! :)

  2. Wow! I love the more natural take with the rosemary and cranberry for the reindeer.

  3. You have become my favorite recipe source! Thanks for the crock pot hot cocoa recipe - my grandchildren will love this at our Christmas brunch! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    1. That's quite a compliment. Thank you, Rick!
      Merry Christmas to you and your family, too!

  4. Those marshmallows are so cute!!

  5. Extreme cuteness my very talented friend. xoxoxo

  6. I absolutely ADORE the marshmallow reindeer. That is just too stinkin cute.
    I've got our sugar cookie dough in the fridge. I think Monday I'll tackle the baking and Tuesday the kiddos can dive into decorating. I love the decorating, too.

  7. Such a cute way to dress up a cup of hot cocoa! I love this idea. I would love it if you shared it on the Saturday showcase at http://www.bowdabrablog.com


  8. It's pretty hard to resist a hot chocolate at the best of times, but when it is dressed with a reindeer as cute as these?! Super cute!!!

    Thanks for linking up to Marvelous Monday on Smart Party Planning.

  9. I love all the colorful, decorated cookies. They turned out so cute! The marshmallows are great too-what a fun touch. I hope you and your family have a really enjoyable Christmas!

  10. Anonymous11:47 AM

    What a wonderful tradition Suzanne, it sounds so much fun. I'm opening the link party early this week to make up for missing last weeks, so be sure to stop by and link up at the earlier time of Saturday 8am UK time. Happy New Year! Laura@Baking in Pyjamas

  11. That cocoa looks delish! Thank you for the recipe. Have a Merry Christmas!!

  12. What a marvelous idea of crock pot hot cocoa -- I love it and your reindeer are adorable!!I think having traditions with children are so important. I'm excited about seeing your finished sugar cookies -- I bet they'll be gorgeous. Sending big hugs!!

  13. You are so clever Suzanne! I LOVE your darling reindeer!!!!
    Wishing you and yours a blessed and joyous Christmas!! [hugs]

  14. You are so clever Suzanne! I LOVE your darling reindeer!!!!
    Wishing you and yours a blessed and joyous Christmas!! [hugs]


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