Salted Chocolate Gingerbread Moose & Other Delights.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SendHallmark #CollectiveBias

You may have noticed by now, that we march to the beat of our own drummer around here. It’s not just that I don’t know what Cassidy is going to do at any given time, like come home with a 17-foot Christmas tree, dress up like a 7-foot tree, paint the garden shed to look like a TARDIS, or come home with a puppy, among other things. It’s that I never know when. What about that time he found a moose in a dark clearing? Or placed two kittens in the garden for Scarlet to find? If you want, we can talk about the time he surprised me with Eric Clapton tickets and bought me peanut butter cup ice cream at 3:00am.

Hallmark Ornaments(Life = always an adventure)


I digress, and anyway, that’s a whole post of its own. Today we’re talking about the holidays. When you get two weird dreamers together and give them kids, holidays adjust to their new proportions. There was that matter of the tree, of course, and when “Santa” gave Scarlet four tickets to Disney World. That was truly desirable. Again, I digress. What it’s about is dreaming big and mainly – keeping it real. It’s about what our hearts tell us to do. There are antique ornaments, sure. There are silver bells and rainbow lights and snowmen and picture frames. Then there are SUPERHEROES and other delights.

There are gingerbread, and even truly good ones. Then there are chocolate gingerbread men. Salted chocolate gingerbread men. And why not just up the game and turn those gingerbread men into Salted Chocolate Gingerbread MOOSE?

On Sunday afternoon I went to Walmart to fight my November, early sunset blues. Then I came upon the most amazing Hallmark display! I was really happy because I had wanted to find Star Wars, superhero and Disney ornaments, but didn’t realize I could find them right in my town! There were also many amazing cards too. Every year we go all out with our Christmas tree and decorations, to make them so uniquely “us.” It’s become our annual post-Thanksgiving tradition.

(That’s how tall our tree is. I took this photo on the second floor and the tree behind me starts on the first floor!)

Every year we spread cheer throughout the house with tree decorating, stories, music and cookie baking. I couldn’t wait to see the selection this year, to decide what to get each member of my family. I can never narrow it down well.

Basically, I want every ornament there! I settled on three, but may or may not be going back for three more! (may)

These are all the ornaments that describe our personalities. Scarlet’s is Elsa. Des’ is Superman. Cassidy’s is Iron Man. I was so happy to find the perfect Hallmark ornaments for our Christmas tree, and to use as holiday gifts. Walmart has 16 exclusives, resin figurines, Holiday Barbie, new deco figurines and more! I know you’re wondering about me though, right? What ornament is my personality? I think I love the Superman one best, but I’m a moose girl, so I had the kids help me with a new recipe after I gave them their new ornaments for our tree. I really love chewy gingerbread cookies but I wanted to take it to a new level – as gingerbread moose! THEN, I wanted to make them chocolate gingerbread. THEN, I wanted to make them SALTED chocolate gingerbread because I love that taste and it reminds me of the holidays. So I set up a baking station:

I actually pored over a half dozen gingerbread recipes, and then a half dozen chocolate gingerbread recipes and just adapted ingredients how I personally wanted them to taste! They are good! More than 8-10 minutes in the oven is too much, though!

Salted Chocolate Gingerbread Moose.

Salted Chocolate Gingerbread Moose.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 1 egg - I used jumbo size
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet baking bar - 16 pieces for us
  • Coarse or kosher sea salt - amount varies by taste

Instructions

  1. Sift the three cups of flour together in a large mixing bowl. Add sifted cocoa powder, baking soda and salt as well! Set bowl aside.
  2. In an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, brown sugar, white sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves until the mixture is light and fluffy. It was two minutes for us.
  3. Melt the chocolate baking pieces in the microwave or on the stove.
  4. Then add the egg, molasses, melted chocolate mixture and continue beating on medium speed for another two minutes.
  5. On low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients.
  6. Mix until well combined.
  7. Transfer the dough to a plate and flatten it into a disk. Cover it with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350 and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Put flour on a flat work surface and roll your dough to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. I had to separate the dough into quarters and only work with a quarter at a time.
  10. Use your moose cookie cutter (or cookie cutter of choice) and cut out as many cookies as you can.
  11. Place the cookies on the lined cookie sheets about one inch apart then gather all the dough scraps into a ball and place into the fridge until you're ready for a new batch.
  12. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes until slightly raised. Using a spatula, remove the cookies from the cookie sheets, transferring to a cooling rack.
  13. Enjoy!
http://tamaracamerablog.com/salted-chocolate-gingerbread-moose-delights/

Don’t mind the sporadic sea salt on our moose! That was Scarlet’s doing. I really love the bit of salt it adds to the recipe, though. The chocolate is very rich, and the ginger very nourishing, so the salt is a great balance of everything.

Which Hallmark ornament are you most looking forward to this season? I’d love to hear about your favorite family traditions!

FROZEN Inspired Grape Pops.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DisneyFROZENGoesFresh #CollectiveBias

Sometimes, lately, I find myself to be more domestic than ever before.

I am bolstered by Cassidy’s appreciation when I help him in the kitchen or with the house, and I love the kids’ enthusiasm when I prepare meals, desserts, or snacks. I’m a snacks girl. I find that even after all of these years, I’m still at my hungriest late afternoon – when school gets out. When I was asked to prepare a snack or treat using FROZEN grapes as an ingredient, I raced out to Walmart to find these Anna and Elsa grapes. And I mean raced. It was 10:00 at night and I was visiting my parents in New Jersey and my mom joined me on my late night adventure. I have two kids who love both FROZEN and grapes.


And so the magic happened the next afternoon at snack time.

FROZEN

I love kid food. I love to tell people that I have the palate of a five-year-old, because I do, but I just can’t seem to resist items off of the kids’ menu. I think I eat them more now than I did as a kid, because I’m with my kids nearly all of the time. I love rainbow sprinkles. I love chocolate-dipped anything. I love pearly, decorative chocolate balls. Did I mention I love sprinkles? Yes, I love sprinkles. Since we were visiting my parent’s house, I decided to create a family get-together snack.

No one was more stunned by the results than I was.

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I think my favorite review was “surprisingly refreshing” but I’m getting ahead of myself now..

As I said, my mom was my shopping partner-in-crime. We went to Walmart and easily found the FROZEN grapes in the grapes section. I was actually a little tired and walked right past them, but they were beautifully noticeable.

Disney FROZEN

Princess Green Seedless

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I started brainstorming heavily right then and there so I also picked up white chocolate chips for melting, some blue sprinkles and FROZEN inspired chocolate balls that I figured would be really fun for some of my grape pops. When I was paying for my items, the lady behind us in line saw my grapes, my sprinkles, my white chocolate chips and my chocolate balls and said, “Now that looks like a party!” I couldn’t wait to make my snack the next day with Scarlet helping (watching):

FROZEN grape pops

– I melted the white chocolate chips by heating them in a glass dish in the microwave. I used 50% power and would heat them for 30 seconds, then stir, then heat them for another 30 seconds, and then stir. It took a few minutes.

– I washed and dried the grapes and put toothpicks in them. I learned the hard way not to put the toothpick in the end of the grape that has the hole from being attached to the stem. I dropped a few grapes in the white chocolate mix that way!

– I dipped the grapes in the chocolate fully and then I gently shook the blue sprinkles onto them while they were still warm.

– I added the chocolate balls to only some of the grape pops because my daughter doesn’t care for them.

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Scarlet had several of the grape pops and Des had about.. 17. (slight exaggeration) My parents both had some and finally so did I! I was surprised at how fast they went. My dad said they were really nice, and texturally interesting – crunchy on the outside and soft and sweet in the middle. Scarlet and Des pretty much just said, “YUM!” but I know they love when I make kid snacks, and with back-to-school time coming so soon, I’m happy to have a FROZEN and grapes-inspired snack to make.

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Would you eat one of these, or 17? What would you make for a snack with grapes as the main ingredient?