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Hump Day Snack: Christmas Mess with Christmas Tree Meringues

Merry Christmas to mid-week snackers everywhere! Since you’ll probably be trapped under a snowdrift of gift bags and Christmas ribbon for the next few hours, this will be brief.

If you’re still in need of a deceptively overachieving dessert for family dinner tonight, try this festive twist on Eton mess. The very name of this traditional English pudding implies how easy it is to assemble: Just pile generous layers of molasses-spiked strawberry sauce, nutmeg-infused whipped cream and tree-shaped meringues in a trifle dish and call it a day. It’s definitely a mess worth making, just like the chaotic gift-opening crime scene that is your living room right now. Read on for the winter-spiced recipe or play around with your own flavor combos, using Cooking Channel’s meringue recipes below as a guide. Merry mess-making!

Hump Day Snack: Coal Candy

Calling all ne’er-do-wells and naughty list candidates: This candy’s coming soon to a stocking near you. Easily mistaken for lumps of actual carbon, this unusual Christmas treat is sweet, crumbly and ideal for gifting to those friends and family members who need to shape up next year. Best of all, you don’t have to go buying fancy ingredients to make your point. Sprinkle a little powdered sugar here, a smidge of egg white there and a whole lot of black food coloring everywhere and you’ll have coal-inspired hard candy. Use a hammer and chisel for dramatic effect when breaking it apart and get to stuffing those naughty kids’ stockings with a treat they won’t soon forget. For the “nice” side of your Christmas list, turn to Cooking Channel’s fine selection of giftable sweets:

Hump Day Snack: Fudge Forest

Everyone knows that the best holiday centerpiece is an edible one, and that means that this lush forest of fudge is the indisputable choice for your Christmas table this year. Don’t be fooled by the grassy hues, these trees are chocolatey through and through. They’re easy to make too, with a simple formula for white chocolate fudge that’s bolstered with marshmallow cream, vanilla extract and heaps of Grinch-tinted food dye. Once you’ve got your perfect green shades down to a science, just cut the fudge into wedges or use a tree-shaped cookie cutter. Prop your trees up in a bowl of snowy sugar and watch your family tear the forest apart like a ravenous pack of lumberjacks. It’ll be a merry Christmas indeed. Get the easy deets for building this festive fudge forest, then further explore the sweet thickets of Cooking Channel’s fudge collection:

Hump Day Snack: Christmas Tree Pancakes

It’s a little known fact that pancakes are the most versatile breakfast food around. To prove it, serve up this towering stack of tree-shaped pancakes at the Christmas morning breakfast table and wait for the applause to start. Part of a blog called The Pancake Project, this edible Christmas tree is assembled with the help of a squeeze bottle filled with batter, which allows for artful pancake shaping on a griddle. The owner of the blog has experimented with endless pancake colors and shapes, creating realistic 3D replicas of foods, animals and well-known artworks with just a squeeze bottle and a little food coloring. Test your own pancake prowess by griddling up this fluffy and festive stack and get inspired with some of Cooking Channel’s holiday-worthy pancake recipes:

Hump Day Snack: Turkey Pinata Cake

In our humble opinion, Thanksgiving is superior to any other day of the year. In an effort to make this year’s feast the best of all time (sorry, Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe), we’re bringing you the recipes, how-tos and decorating ideas to help you become a Turkey Day pro.

Who says turkey can’t be served for dessert? If you truly believe that, you’re not thinking big enough this Thanksgiving. To appropriately wow your dinner guests, pull out all the stops and make this “roasted” turkey cake, complete with sweet stuffing and a sugary surprise lurking deep inside. Sure this project requires three boxes of cake mix, but all that baking will be worth it when you slice into the frosted bird to reveal a colorful candy corn center. Don’t worry, the center cut of cake doesn’t go to waste either, as it’s repurposed into toasted, cocoa-dusted cubes of stuffing that spill out of the turkey like the real thing. If all this attention to detail still doesn’t satisfy your inner perfectionist, break out the fondant and roll some faux vegetables for artfully placing around your winged work of art. Finally, sit back, relax and let the compliments roll in, because you just won the Thanksgiving dessert round.

Get the details for recreating this enticing turkey cake yourself, and then get baking with more of Cooking Channel’s most impressive Thanksgiving cake recipes:

Hump Day Snack: Cheesy Thanksgiving App

In our humble opinion, Thanksgiving is superior to any other day of the year. In an effort to make this year’s feast the best of all time (sorry, Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe), we’re bringing you the recipes, how-tos and decorating ideas to help you become a Turkey Day pro.

Did somebody call for an incredibly adorable pumpkin pie-impersonating appetizer? Lucky for them, these cheesy cracker bites exist solely to delight Thanksgiving dinner guests. They’re especially useful for giving the kids something to do while you’re busy baking the real pumpkin pie, as they’re easily assembled with a few crackers, some thick slabs of sharp cheddar and a whimsical “whipped cream” dollop of cream cheese on top. Only slightly more time-consuming than spreading club crackers across a plate, they’ll elicit three times the oohs and ahhs from your Thanksgiving company. Get the simple instructions for crafting these dessert-inspired snacks and then feast on a few of Cooking Channel’s cheesiest appetizers for turkey day:

Hump Day Snack: The Cherpumple

In our humble opinion, Thanksgiving is superior to any other day of the year. In an effort to make this year’s feast the best of all time (sorry, Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe), we’re bringing you the recipes, how-tos and decorating ideas to help you become a Turkey Day pro.

Is your overachieving cousin always trying to out-bake you at the Thanksgiving dessert table? If yes, or if you just want to knock your family’s socks off for your own satisfaction, try a cherpumple on for size. The moniker stems from the ingredients housed inside this sweet behemoth, specifically cherry, pumpkin and apple pies which are each baked into their own cake layer. In other words, it’s the over-stuffed dessert version of a turducken. While admittedly insane, it’s also a rather genius creation for bringing to the biggest feast of the year, and it’s fairly simple to assemble if you use pre-made pies and cake mix.

The three layers usually follow this pattern: a base of cherry pie baked inside chocolate cake, pumpkin pie baked inside spice cake and apple pie baked inside yellow (or white) cake — which is all finally smothered in vanilla frosting. Just be aware that you may require a dolly to wheel this bad boy to the table, as cherpumples are known to weigh between ten and twenty pounds depending on how large the layers are. Get the full instructions for building this sugary stacked monstrosity, and if you’re feeling extra ambitious, bake each layer from scratch with Cooking Channel’s best cherpumple-appropriate recipes:

Good to Know: The Ultimate Kids’ Table

Cooking Channel’s original web series Good to Know offers up genius DIY hacks that will ease everyday chores and up your party-planning game. Today, hosts Dan Pashman and Laurie March kick off the holiday season with tips for creating an awesome, interactive kids’ table for any family shindig using craft paper, stickers, cupcake trees and even a non-alcoholic scorpion bowl. With these handy tips, pint-sized guests — and their parents — will be begging for a spot at the kiddie table:

Continue Reading Good to Know: The Ultimate Kids’ Table

Hump Day Snack: Thanksgiving Dinner Cupcakes

In our humble opinion, Thanksgiving is superior to any other day of the year. In an effort to make this year’s feast the best of all time (sorry, Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe), we’re bringing you the recipes, how-tos and decorating ideas to help you become a Turkey Day pro.

Now that we’ve entered the feasting month of November, chances are that you’re beginning to plan out your Thanksgiving dinner, course by course. Maybe you’re even inspired to model dessert after the savory dishes themselves? If so, consider this sweet alternative to pumpkin pie: cupcakes that mimic all of Thanksgiving’s classic dishes. Made with pumpkin cake, multicolored buttercream and a whole mess of fondant, these cupcakes take after a turkey leg, mashed potatoes with gravy and even green bean casserole. Obviously coloring and rolling fondant takes time, so only attempt these if you’ve got a backup kitchen crew to assist you in the prep, or make them the day before Thanksgiving so you’re not stamping out fondant kernels of corn while your guests wait in hunger at the table. Get the full cupcake tutorial and then dig in to some of Cooking Channel’s best Thanksgiving-ready sweets:

Hump Day Snack: Day of the Dead Cookies

It’s the day before Halloween and children everywhere are gearing up for a full-day sugar spree and plenty of costumed chaos. But let’s not forget the other celebratory holiday that follows directly on the heels of Halloween – El Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Beginning at midnight on October 31st and lasting through November 2nd, this Mexican holiday commemorates the lives of the deceased with a gathering of friends and family in graveyards. Its origins are not associated with the eerie backstory of Halloween, but the festive sugar skulls, atole and Pan de Muertos that are served on the holiday do fit right in during the spooky season. These sugar skull-inspired brownie cookies are a simple way to celebrate the two holidays in one fell swoop, and decorating them at a Halloween party is a sweet alternative to pumpkin carving if you’re trying to avoid the combination of knives and large groups of intoxicated people. Colored with extra dark cocoa powder, these vegan treats are spiced with cayenne and cinnamon as an homage to Mexican flavors. Bake a big batch, mix as many shades of icing as you can muster and let your friends decorate until dawn.

Read on for Devour’s previous coverage of El Dia de los Muertos and have an epic double holiday this week:

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