The Holiday season is in full swing! I have been prepping by collecting fun local gifts to stuff in the stockings of my friends and family! I also crafted some beautiful cupcakes that may not fit in a stocking, but will easily be stuffed into the mouths of hangry relatives. Check it all out below!
The Good Stuff:
1. Hot Sauce from the Little Red Fox.
Locally made in small batches, this hot sauce is my addiction. It can be hard to get your hands on, so be sure to stock up when it's on the shelves! For the holidays, they make mini bottles for stocking stuffers, and they are adorable! The heat is noticeable but not sweat worthy, and the mild thai bird chilies are smoked for added flavor. This hot sauce pairs well with EVERYTHING, from chicken to potato salad and especially the breakfast burrito in the shop!
2. saLAMBi Snack Sticks from
Meatcrafters is one of my favorite vendors at my local farmers market. The sausages and cured meats are just unbeatable with so much variety. However, I just recently discovered these saLAMBi snack sticks and my world was changed. I am all about a cured meat in my stocking - and I was excited to step my game up from the usual Slim Jim/Hickory Farm Summer Sausage tradition. These are local, packed with flavor and better than any other meaty snack stick you'll ever find. I am really into the lamb sticks, which come in a featured flavor, but they have traditional beef, too!
3. Hard Cider from Millstone
From picking and pressing to fermenting and bottling, they have a hand in it all at Millstone Cellars. I love hard cider, but find it gives me a serious hangover if there is too much sugar. My prayers were answered when I tasted this naturally sweet and tantalizingly tangy nectar from the Gods. With a variety of flavors, you're sure to find something for everyone. Want to see it for yourself? Take a trip to their tasting room in Monkton, MD!
4. Zoe's Chocolates
Repping my hometown of Frederick, MD is one of my favorite places to indulge in a chocolate-y getaway - whether that's one piece or the whole box, this is a judge free zone. Zoe's specializes in unique and delicious chocolates that include their Mediterranean inspired signature chocolates, modern liquid and chewy sea salt caramels and updated American classics. My personal favorite is the chewy sea salt caramel - it transports me to another world. Mix and match depending on the gift recipient and don't forget to get a box for yourself! You can find their products in a store near you!
5. Books and Trinkets from Politics & Prose
From cat tattoos to adult coloring books, this famous DC bookstore has you covered! Encourage your loved ones to read a real book by stuffing one from P&P's extensive collection into their stockings! Grab a stunning picture book of DC, or a classic children's book and enjoy perusing the shelves with a latte or a cup of soup from their café Modern Times in the basement!
I made these beautiful fudge-y chocolate tree cupcakes on coconut snow with cream cheese frosting for my awesome colleagues this year! I was inspired by a post from Just a Taste and added a few twists of my own! Check out the recipe below and have fun stuffing your face with these!
Chocolate Christmas Tree Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Just a Taste
Hangry Timer: 2 hours - enlist a friend
What you Need:
- For the cupcakes:
- Your favorite box of cake mix - I went with Betty Crocker super moist fudge chocolate or something like that.
- 1 cup green candy melts
- 1 cup pretzel sticks
- Assorted sprinkles
- 2 cups shredded sweetened coconut flakes
- For the frosting:
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
What To Do with It:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with baking cups.
- Prepare the cupcakes according to the box.
- While the cupcakes cool, make the cupcake toppers by melting the candy melts according to package directions. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag or a Ziploc bag that you cut the tip off of.* Place the pretzel sticks on a wax paper-lined baking sheet, spacing them 2 to 3 inches apart. Pipe the candy melts over the pretzel sticks in the shape of a tree then immediately top the trees with the sprinkles. Transfer the baking sheet to the fridge for 10 minutes until the trees have fully hardened.
- Make the frosting:
- In a bowl,cream together the butter and cream cheese until well blended. Add the vanilla extract and powdered sugar, beating just until combined.**
- Assemble the cupcakes:
- Spread a small portion of the frosting atop the cooled cupcakes and immediately dip the cupcake into a bowl of coconut flakes.***
- Carefully release the trees from the baking sheet by pushing them gently off of the wax paper from underneath. Push the bottoms of the pretzel trees into the tops of the cupcakes. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container at room temperature or in the fridge until ready to serve.
*Hangry District Tip: Put the Ziploc bag into a jar folding the edges of the bag over the top of the jar to fill it with the melted candy. Seal the bag, releasing all excess air and squeeze gently!
**Hangry District Tip: I just mixed everything together with a handheld mixer - it was delicious.
***Hangry District Tip: This prevents the icing from drying too much and allows the coconut to stick right away!
Have a Merry Christmas, Hangry Holidays and a Happy New Year!