November 27, 2013 | by cyd
If you’ve been reading for a while, you may remember 24 Merry Days from last year. It’s like the ultimate Christmas countdown calendar over 24 days, featuring 24 bloggers and 24 seriously incredible giveaways. (Like last year’s prize package worth $250 from Cloud9 Living!) Well, guess what? I’m thrilled to once again be a part of the 24 Merry Days fun, which all kicks off on December 1! From there on out, you can visit the 24 Merry Days site each day to see which awesome blogger is giving away which amazing prize now through Christmas. While I can’t yet tell you what I’m giving away or who is giving away what on which day, I can tell you the prizes this year are out of control. We’re talking beautiful wares and giant gift certificates from likes of Lowe’s, Anthropologie, West Elm, Leif, Max Wanger and Public Bikes.
Seriously, guys. The prizes this year are off the chain. And you know I can’t resist a little sneak peek, so here’s just a tiny preview of all the awesome about to come your way! Don’t miss out on this one, ok? Bright and early on December 1, pop on over to 24 Merry Days and let the giveaway games begin!
[24 Merry Days site design + logo by Gloria Chen.]
November 27, 2013 | by cyd
This post was sponsored by OREO. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that so generously help
The Sweetest Occasion keep the jingle bells a-ringin’ all season long!
It’s no secret that I love spending time in the kitchen this time of year. I know for a lot of people baking feels like a chore, but for me it’s completely therapeutic. Something about all that measuring and sifting is just really joyous for me. That said, sometimes we all need a quick, easy and amazing recipe to bust out for a party and today I’m excited to be partnering with Oreo to bring you just that! I’ve dubbed these little chocolate-drenched gems Minty Oreo Cookie Balls and not only are they a cinch to make, they come together with just four ingredients and are completely no-bake. I promise you they’ll fly off the tray at your upcoming holiday parties!
To get the cookie ball party started, you’ll need just a few ingredients -
- 36 OREO cookies
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 8 oz Andes baking chips
- 16 oz dark chocolate chips
Begin by placing the cookies in a blender or food processor, then pulse until you have a fine crumble. Transfer to a bowl, add half of the Andes baking chips and mix with the cream cheese until it forms a stiff, sticky dough. Form and roll into approximately 1-inch balls and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Place the tray in the freezer and allow them to set for 15 – 30 minutes or until firm.
While the the cookie balls are chilling, melt the remaining Andes chips and the dark chocolate chips over a double boiler. Remove the cookie balls from the freezer, dunk them each in the molten chocolate mixture and then place them back on the wax paper lined baking sheet. Return to the freezer and allow them to sit for an hour.
Remove the cookie balls from the freezer and decorate them as you see fit! A few little dollops of red icing does the trick, but you could get a lot fancier if you have mad decorating skills, which I absolutely do not. (I always say – I can make the most delicious baked goods you’ve ever tasted, but I don’t promise they’ll look pretty!) If you can’t find the Andes baking chips (I scooped mine up at the local grocery store in the baking aisle) feel free to sub in whatever chocolate mint chips you can find. I just so happen to love Andes chocolates and they taste amazing paired with the Oreos. Yummy! And that’s it, friends. The easiest no-bake cookie balls you ever did make. Enjoy!
[Photos + styling by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]
This post was sponsored by OREO. Read more about our editorial policies.
November 26, 2013 | by cyd
In today’s Thanksgiving countdown, I mentioned that today is pie day! As in, we really need to have a serious discussion about Thanksgiving pies, because I’m a lady who loves her some pie. (And I know a whole bunch of you guys are pie freaks, too.) While I love a classic apple or pumpkin as much as the next girl, sometimes it’s fun to shake things up a little bit. So today I’m bringing you my picks for 10 of the best Thanksgiving pie recipes. We’re talking everything from salted caramel to a pear pie with red wine and rosemary. Yum!
Feeling ready to bust out the butter, eggs and sugar? Because it’s officially time to start whipping up those Thanksgiving pies. Click through for 10 best Thanksgiving pies to get started!
November 26, 2013 | by cyd
With a pretty serious winter storm on the horizon for those of us here in the Northeast, I have to admit that this week is feeling a bit more like Christmas than it feels like Thanksgiving. (Minus the fact that we’re still a few days out from getting our Christmas tree, that is!) We have all kinds of snow and ice in the forecast and I can’t think of a better way to spend the next few days than bundled up inside baking and feasting with family. So I’m heading out later this afternoon to pick up a few last minute things I need and the holiday baking will officially be commencing. Which brings us back to the Thanksgiving countdown with two days to go!
Whether you’re snowed in this evening or not, today is the perfect day to start prepping your pies! A lot of pies, pumpkin in particular, can be made a couple days in advance with no problems. (As long as you can resist nibbling on them in the meantime!) I personally will be prepping an apple pie this evening, making both the crust and the filling and then stashing the full pie in the fridge so it’s ready to bake on Thursday morning. When I do this, I usually let it come to room temperature before baking, and hold off on giving the crust it’s signature egg wash until it’s just about to go into the oven. It makes it so much easier to do all the prep work early, because then you can be baking pies while you’re prepping your turkey and they’ll never have to compete for the same limited oven real estate. So in our land of planning a fuss-free Thanksgiving, today is pie day!
[Graphic by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion | Gluten free maple custard pie recipe by Cafe Johnsonia.]
November 25, 2013 | by cyd
This post was sponsored by Air Wick. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that so
generously help The Sweetest Occasion keep on keepin’ on!
When I tell you that this cake recipe is one of my favorite recent kitchen success stories, I’m not exaggerating. With resounding cheers from B and everyone else who has tried it, I think it’s safe to say this cinnamon pear skillet cake is a major win! Part of my collaboration with Air Wick (designed to bring you six inspiring homemade holiday ideas), this cake was 100% inspired by Air Wick’s Baked Pear and Cinnamon fragrance. We’re talking a little sweet, a little spicy, loaded with cinnamon and studded with juicy pears that just make this cake crazy delicious. Drizzle it with warm caramel sauce and it’s as perfect with morning coffee as it is for Thanksgiving dessert!
In addition to the pear cake recipe, I also teamed up with my good friend Erika of Delphine to share the sweetest printable treat tags with you! Taking cues from the warm, fruity fragrance of the Baked Pear and Cinnamon candle and the jolly green packaging, there are four tag designs perfect for bundling up dessert or leftovers to send home with family and friends this holiday season. I packed slices of cake in the cutest little kraft boxes with bamboo forks from A La Modo and tied everything up with green and white baker’s twine.
(adapted from Vintage Cakes)
- 4 pears, peeled and cored
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Caramel sauce (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350ºF and butter the inside of a 8 to 9-inch cast iron skillet. (You can scale the recipe up or down if your skillet is a different size, which I actually had to do as I have a 12″ cast iron skillet.) Chop two pears and then slice the remaining two to top the cake. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a small mixing bowl. In a stand mixer, mix the butter and sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and blend on medium-high speed until fluffy, approximately 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as you go if need be. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing just until blended. Use a rubber spatula to fold the pears into the batter. Pour the batter into your skillet and spread until even. Fan the pear slices out on the top of the batter. Place the skillet on the middle rack of your oven and bake approximately 35 – 40 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Now that you’re armed with a pear cake recipe that will have your mouth watering and your whole house smelling amazing, it’s time to package everything up with our free printable treat tags! Click below to download the printable tags, then print, cut them out and punch a hole in the top of each tag. String them with a bit of ribbon or twine and you’re good to go!
[Design + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson | Printables by Delphine.]
Download the printable treat tags here
Baker’s twine available from Sweet Estelle
Cake slice boxes from A La Modo
Nail polish is Sunset Kiss by JulieG
Baked Pear and Cinnamon candle by Air Wick
This post is a collaboration with Air Wick. For more homemade holiday ideas, follow along on Facebook! Read more about our editorial policies.