Every year my mom hosts a little brunch/ coffee hour for her friends at Christmas. For years I rolled my eyes every time she tried to get my friends to come to the party too. I mean really? My cool friends - or worst, people I wasn’t 100% sure were friends - to come rub shoulders with some of her weird old birds?
But then last year my friends were there - my actual friends - and they liked some of her weird old birds. We had coffee and cookies and chatted and it was actually fun. So I decided you should all host one too. Brew some coffee. Invite every weird friend you know and celebrate the season together. It’s totally worth it.
Here’s how to pull it off:
Send your friends an email or write a note at least one week ahead of when you think you’re planning the party.
Aim for a weekday at 10am if most of your friends are at home during the day. A Sunday at noon is usually best if they are at work during the day.
Buy or make at least three kinds of cookies. A small variety in large quantity makes the biggest impact.
Brew a pot of coffee, a big one. And bring out the good china mugs to serve it in.
Prep everything the night before - like platters for the cookies, mugs, napkins - then just set out the cookies in the morning!
Yes, these take a bit of time but it is so worth it. Homemade marshmallows are nothing like store bought. These are so much better. And nothing is better in hot cocoa than a peppermint marshmallow. Unless of course that’s peppermint schnapps. And the marshmallow on top.
4 packets unflavored gelatin
3 cups sugar
1 ½ cups water
1 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
½ cup crushed candy canes or other peppermint candies
Butter the bottom of an 11x17 sheet pan and top with parchment paper. Butter parchment paper and dust with powdered sugar.
In a stand mixer, combine gelatin and ¾ cup water. Let stand.
In a medium sauce pan with a heavy bottom combine sugar, remaining water, corn syrup, and salt. Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue to cook until mixture reaches the soft ball stage on a candy thermometer (about 240 degrees).
Turn on stand mixer and pour in sugar mixture in a slow steady stream. Leave mixer running on high speed for 15 minutes until mixture is light and fluffy.
Blend extract into marshmallow mixture and pour marshmallow onto prepared pan and smooth out to the corners. Evenly coat the top with crushed candy canes and dust with powdered sugar. Let sit uncovered for 12 hours.
Turn out onto a cutting board dusted with powdered sugar. Butter and dust a knife with powdered sugar. Cut marshmallows into 2” squares and dip each cut edge into powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.