Asheville Eats A Lot of Christmas Cookies

Kids making holiday cookies togetherAs I've shared with you all, I'm the oldest in a large family and have wonderful holiday memories that I cherish. However, I'm also a military brat, my dad was an officer before he retired, and I'm fourth generation Prussian. Let me tell you, if your family takes the effort to count your generations back to the "old country", you know out to your fourth or fifth cousins (even the removed ones); those of you who have families like mine, know I'm telling the truth! This means that for every priceless memory of cousins running through screen doors or my great grandmother handing me a china doll for the first time, I have another memory for my second cousin telling me I either looked like Galadriel or Gollum or when one of the other officers made an awkward comment about "women's places in the home." And through both the good memories and the not so good memories there are two things that make every holiday gathering better - food and alcohol!
Nothing says "it's time to get your Christmas on" like  a plate of cookies. Raspberry Thumbprints are a personal favorite of mine they're just adorable and delicious! Other great additions to a cookie platter are Cake Batter Chocolate Chip, Chocolate-Candy Cane Cookies, and White Chocolate and Butterscotch Cookies. Of course, you can always spice up your selection with Hamentashen (Haman's Ears) which are for Purim, but are totally delicious and have become a recent favorite in our house! Another baked alternative for your cookie platter are Cranberry and Brie Bites, which I know sound very weird but are actually very good! (You can also substitute raspberry for the cranberry to make it a little sweeter!)
Looking for some baked goods that aren't cookies? I'm so glad you asked! Braided Nutella Bread is also a great holiday option! Originally from Europe, Nutella has made a real splash stateside and this is a fun way to incorporate it into your holiday baking. In the spirit of the season, the link I attached shows you how to twist it into the shape of a snowflake! Or you could make a Christmas Vanilla Roll Cake (this would also be delicious with some peppermint pieces thrown in). Or try some Eggnog Cheesecake you can serve it in bars, cookies or in miniature cinnamon crusts. If eggnog cheesecake is a bit adventurous for you (which is totally understandable, it takes a lot of dedication to love the 'nog that much), but you still want to serve cheesecake with a holiday twist try serving it plain in Gingerbread Crusts. You could also opt for some delicious upgrades to traditional desserts, like Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting or bring the best of both worlds together for Sparkling Spiked Eggnog with Ganache Cupcakes.
Starting your bash in the early afternoon? A Chocolate Chip Danish is sure to get everyone in a festive, jolly mood for the rest of the day.
While Christmas flavors  are fantastic (I really do love all things peppermint and eggnog) sometimes you just want a different way to present the more traditional chocolate and what is a better representation of chocolate than Oreos? So to mix up your dessert table this season try Oreo Fudge!
There are also options for those cravings for something with more of the fruit and nutty flavors of the season. Try a Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pie or Apple Pie Baked Apples or even some White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Bark! The options for holiday treats and goodies are almost endless and I'm pretty much in love with them all!
Holiday DrinkIn the way of drinks the holidays are equally generous offering delights such as "Insanely Awesome Champagne Punch", Cranberry and Rosemary White Sangria; for something a little more kicky and fun for the grown ups, check out these awesome Champagne Jello Shots or Wine-Marinated Grapes to add to drinks or just eat for fun! For the crazy, truly hilarious party animals in the group (or the awkward office parties) there are some great slightly harder cocktails, such as Winter Sea Breeze, Candy Cane Vodka, Blizzard, Frostbite, Pomegranate Moscow Mule, Naughty Rudolph or my personal favorite, eggnog spiked with amaretto. I never would have thought to put it together, but the second my grandma put it in my hand we became fast friends. If none of these tickle your fancy, you can peruse through some of these other drinks for some inspiration.
P.S. If you have kids around this holiday season and you want some smaller treats or something not entirely sugar here are some snacks for them!
If you want something to set aside a few minutes to really feed some encouragement into your kids this holiday season, you can have them decorate their own Snowflake Cookie while telling them what is unique about each of them!
If you have any other great ideas for holiday desserts and drinks or a favorite way to tweak what I listed above, comment below and keep the celebrating spirit alive!

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