Christmas in July

Anyone who knows me know I am a Christmas junkie–I’ll listen to Christmas music or watch Christmas movies any month in of the year.  Since we moved recently, resulting in a brand-new DVR, I recorded every Hallmark Channel Christmas movie they played last week (literally–every one. Hubby was thrilled.) 😂

So, I was super-excited to be invited to a Christmas in July party over the weekend. My aunt and her husband decorated the yard with blow-up decorations, they had Christmas treats, and Santa even stopped by for a visit–in his shorts and t-shirt, of course.

It was a fun party, and a great excuse to enjoy some Christmas music in the middle of summer. (It was even better to know I am not the only crazy Christmas fan in my family!) 😉

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My savory treat–meat, cheese, fruit, and olives. Super easy and always popular!

I took the party as an excuse to try out a new Christmas recipe–Peppermint Mocha mini-cupcakes. And, for anyone wondering where I got Candy Canes in July, I stocked up in late December just in case the need arose. 🎄

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_a91cThese were perfect little bites of heaven–rich chocolate, cool peppermint, and just a hint of coffee. I definitely will be making this one again!

Peppermint Mocha Mini-Cupcakes

  • Servings: 6 dozen mini-cupcakes
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 Stick of Butter (1/2 Cup), softened
  • 1 1/4 Cups Sugar
  • 1 1/4 Cups Hot Coffee
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened CocoaPowder
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 1/4 Cups Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Bean Paste (or Vanilla Extract)
  • 1/3 Cup Sour Cream
  • 2/3 Cup Mint Chocolate Chips, chopped

For the Icing:

  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 stick Butter (1/2 cup), softened
  • 3 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Bean Paste (or Vanilla Extract)
  • Grated Dark Chocolate and Candy Cane Pieces (for Garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Add liners to mini-cupcakes trays.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar using a mixer until smooth and fluffy (3-5 minutes).
  3. Add the eggs to the butter mixture, and beat another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, add the cocoa to the hot coffee, and mix until there are no lumps.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Add the flour mixture and coffee mixture to the butter mixture, alternating, and starting with the flour. After each addition, mix until just combined.
  7. Fold in the sour cream, vanilla, and mint chips. Stir until fully incorporated.
  8. Add approximately 1 tablespoon of batter (I use a small cookie scoop) to each cupcake liner.
  9. Bake at 330 for 10-15 minutes, until the cupcakes spring back when touched and/or a tester comes out clean.
  10. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a cooling rack.
  11. Once cool, cream the butter and cream cheese in a mixer on high until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until fully incorporated.
  12. Use  piping bag to ice the cupcakes. Garnish with grated chocolate and a candy cane piece. Chill until icing is set.

Enjoy!

Cupcake TrayI find mint to be refreshing in the summer, so this was a perfect fit for a hot, humid, July  afternoon. I look forward to trying them again in December. Yum!

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Are you a Christmas anytime person, or and only-after-December 15 person? Or do you fall somewhere in between? And, what is your favorite holiday treat?


Finding Christmas in July

July in North Carolina does not embody Christmas in my mind, but I have been trying to trick my mind into the Christmas spirit anyway.  As heat-indices soar into triple-digits, I am  working on a Christmas-themes cozy mystery, which means I need to get in the holiday spirit just a bit early this year. 😉

This was our Christmas card a few years ago. Cami loves to lounge under the tree!

This was our Christmas card a few years ago. Cami loves to lounge under the tree!

Christmas music, cinnamon candles, and forty two recorded Christmas movies from the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas in July week have all helped to set the mood.

Oh, and cookies help, too. 😉

After watching several Christmas movies, I broke down and made Oatmeal Cookies (Hubby’s favorite). I added in raisins, dates, walnuts, and some extra cinnamon, and my house smelled amazing! They are tasty, too! 🙂

Mmm, cookies! Just about to come out of the oven...

Mmm, cookies! Just about to come out of the oven…

Of course, the issue with all of this is that I am getting weird looks as I hum Christmas music in the aisles of Target in the middle of summer. And my poor husband is already tired of coming home from work to Christmas music. That usually doesn’t happen until mid-November sometime.

But, the story is flowing, and the Christmas theme is apparent throughout. In the long run, that’s all that matters. Even if our neighbor’s do think I have major issues. 😉

Do you have any sure-fire ways to get in the Christmas spirit? Favorite Christmas Traditions? What are your favorite Christmas carols?

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