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Hump Day Snack: Champagne Cupcakes with Spun-Sugar Sparkle

Champagne Cupcakes

You’ll most likely be popping bottles of champagne to fill up your glasses for a toast at midnight. For a sensational, sweet complement, try these Champagne Cupcakes with Spun-Sugar Sparkle. Instead of ordinary batter, use sugar, butter, flour, egg whites and almost a full cup of your favorite variety of champagne (try a light pink rosé or a traditional brut). Add a few tablespoons of the champagne into a simple buttercream frosting recipe keep the theme going. For the grand finale, spin sugar to resemble fireworks. With a finished cupcake in one hand and a full glass of champagne in the other, toast to health and happiness in 2015. Happy New Year!

For more ways to use your booze and bubbly for your New Year’s parties, try out some of Cooking Channel’s best celebratory recipes:

Hump Day Snack: Christmas Surprise-Inside Cake

Christmas Cake

Christmas morning is already full of surprises, but we have one more idea. This recipe for a Christmas Surprise-Inside Cake looks festive (and normal!) on the outside, as beautiful ruffles of green and white icing stream down, creating the appearance of Christmas trees around the cake. But the inside hides a precious little green and red striped ornament! To assemble the surprise inside, follow the step-by-step tutorial, which shows how to hollow the center of the cake and use a cake ball mixture to form the ornament. Once assembled and covered in delicate layers of icing, slice in and watch your guests ogle in amazement at your celebratory and cheerful Christmas cake.

For more sweets that will dance through guests’ heads this Christmas season,  take a look at more of Cooking Channel’s holly jolly holiday recipes:

Hump Day Snack: Sufganiyot (AKA Jelly Doughnuts)

jelly doughnuts

Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, began last night, kicking off eight nights of celebration. But whether you celebrate the Jewish holiday or not, you can still get in the spirit with traditional foods. After you’ve had your filling of crisp potato latkes, try your hand at another fried delight: sufganiyot, an Israeli jelly doughnut covered in powdered sugar. To make the pillowy balls of dough, use yeast, sugar, lukewarm milk, egg yolks and any zest of your choice (try orange or lemon) in small batches. Fry them to a golden brown, then fill the cooled rounds with raspberry or strawberry jam and prepare for a holiday celebration. 

For more recipes to celebrate the eight days of Hanukkah, try some of Cooking Channel’s favorites:

Hump Day Snack: Smokey Mezcal Hot Chocolate

It’s hard to imagine that just a few weeks ago we were reveling in the fall season, staring at golden-hued trees and eating Mini Pumpkin-Pie-Slice Cookies. As winter quickly approaches and the temperatures drop, sit by the fireplace and stay warm with a mug of this outrageously good, adults-only  Smokey Mezcal Hot Chocolate. It’s easy to rip open a packet of store-bought mix, but this hot chocolate is full of authentic, holiday flavors thanks to a combo of milk, baking chocolate, cinnamon, sugar, chile powder and nutmeg. Pep it up with a combination of heady Mexican mezcal and a generous glug of vanilla-citrus-laced Licor 43. Go crazy with the fresh whipped cream and marshmallows, or garnishes like candied orange peel, then welcome winter in all its glory.

For more toasty ways to warm up your days, check out more of Cooking Channel’s hot sweet treats and boozy beverages:

Hump Day Snack: Holiday “Gingerbread” Pretzel Houses

Gingerbread Pretzel CabinHomemade, hand-decorated gingerbread houses are the first sign of the holiday season. From gumdrop trees to marshmallow snowmen and candy cane doors, the candy adornments are endless. This year, swap out the gingerbread base for something a little less sugary and a little more rustic: pretzels! These Holiday “Gingerbread” Pretzel Cabins are perfect for the snowy days of winter leading up to the holidays. To craft your log cabin, channel those old Lincoln Log skills and pair different shapes and sizes of pretzels (think rods, sticks, logs and short and stubby bites) to create the roof and four sides, adding plenty of chocolates, peppermints, peanut butter cups, gummy and cinnamon candies for inspiration. Show it all off with gingerbread icebox cake, gingerbread tiramisu and other fitting dishes.

For other homemade houses you can make this season, take a peek at Cooking Channel’s best gingerbread houses that will inspire your holiday cookie creations:

Hump Day Snack: Last-Minute Thanksgiving Cocktails

Pumpkin Beer Cocktails

Are you excited for turkey, all the trimmings and sugary desserts, but dreading the awkward conversations with relatives at the dinner table? Instead of just serving beer and wine, ease the tension with your folks and impress them with a pumpkin-spiced cocktail. Go for one of our new favorites (inspired by this incredible video) or make an Apple-Pumpkin Beer Cocktail — it’s like apple cider and pumpkin pie in a glass, and it’s easy to throw together at the last minute. In a cocktail shaker (or a large pitcher if you’re multiplying the recipe to serve the whole family), mix bourbon, apple cider, lemon juice and ice. Pour into glasses and top with a pumpkin ale, then garnish each glass with a cinnamon stick and fresh cranberries. They day is guaranteed to go a lot better afterward.

For more ways to round out your holiday feast, mix up some of Cooking Channel’s favorite festive cocktails:


Hump Day Snack: Cheesecake Pumpkin Pecan “Chumpcan” Pie

Pumpkin Pecan PieTurducken, Veggieducken, Cherpumple, Pumpecapple — no matter if you’re preparing main course or dessert, Thanksgiving’s overstuffed, multi-layer creations are guaranteed to get you tongue-tied and make a statement on your dinner table. Channel the hybrid nature of these behemoth creations with this recipe for Cheesecake-Pumpkin-Pecan Pie. Just like our Veggieducken, which packs sweet potatoes and stuffing into a squash, this three-in-one masterpiece combines a flaky pie crust, a smooth cheesecake, custardy pumpkin and a gooey, sweet pecan filling all into one jaw-widening dessert. You’ll need to make each component separately and freeze each layer to achieve the perfect layers. Once it has baked off and the nutty pecan pie topping has cooled, crack into the crust and cut a piece of what we’re calling the chumpcan pie – it’s triple shot of Thanksgiving-dessert heaven.

For more ways to recreate some of Thanksgiving’s famous hybrid mains and desserts, check out Cooking Channels more celebrated Franken-dishes:

Hump Day Snack: Mini Pumpkin-Pie-Slice Cookies

Pie Slice CookiesIt’s one of the sad-but-true facts of Thanksgiving that slices of pie just aren’t very portable. To save possible pie-induced tears when dinner ends, bake up a batch of Mini Pumpkin-Pie-Slice Cookies. Use your favorite shortbread or sugar cookie recipe and a 4-inch round cookie cutter to bake pie-slice-shaped triangles. The key to making real-life looking pumpkin pie slices is in the icing. Mix up two batches using food coloring: one to create the perfect warm orange hue and the other for a just-baked golden-brown crust color. After piping the pumpkin and crust icing, add a dollop of white frosting for a whipped cream accent, or use them as place cards by writing the names of your guests onto each slice. Then pack them up and send them home with no risk of soggy crusts or collapsed fillings.

For more ways to use pumpkin beyond the pie this fall season and for Thanksgiving, check out some of Cooking Channel’s top-rated recipes:


Hump Day Snack: Bacon-Crusted Beer Mac and Cheese

Bacon Mac + Cheese

The air is brisk, the leaves are changing and football season is in full swing. With college and professional games on TV almost every night of the week, why not bring the spirit of tipsy tailgates into your kitchen? This recipe for Bacon-Crusted Beer Mac and Cheese combines the irresistible ooey-gooeyness of cheese with a two football favorites — beer and bacon — for a hearty, winning combination. Throw in a generous glug of your favorite brew into classic bechamel to add an extra layer of flavor. Combine the cheesy concoction with elbow pasta, then top with a salty combo of bacon, Parmesan and panko bread crumbs for a smoky, crunchy finish. The finished dish will certainly score a touchdown with your friends and family, any day of the week.

For more game-time grub to nosh on, check out some of Cooking Channel’s best football finger foods:

Hump Day Snack: Dinner in a Pumpkin

Dinner in a Pumpkin

Pumpkin gets a lot of love in the sweet category. And happy as we are to dive into pumpkin pie, sticky buns or cheesecake, it’s time to give a little love to the savory side. Witness: dinner in a pumpkin. This clever, ultra-homey idea bakes a classic casserole (think: cream of mushroom soup, wild rice, water chestnuts, ground beef or turkey) into an actual (medium-size) pumpkin. Pop it in the oven on Halloween night, draw a face on the finished gourd (preferably better than we did here…) and dish it out with the now-softened pumpkin for maximal heartiness before trick-or-treating time. Or make it the throw-back main course for your adults-only party, since it pairs well with pumpkin ale and a sensible kale salad. (Full disclosure: This is stock art, not the actual dish. We completely failed to take a picture when we made this dish ourselves.)

More Savory Halloween Meals:
Jack-O’-Lantern Cheese Ball
Bocconcini Eyeballs with “Blood” Salsa
Double-Decker Coffin Sandwiches