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If you’re looking for a delicious appetizer to share, and want something that is filling and satisfying, you’ll love my Chocolate Cream Cheese Loaf. It’s baked with Philadelphia Cream Cheese and adorned with Baker’s chocolate. I hosted a small Christmas gathering this week and I served this cream cheese loaf with chocolate chunks – alongside hot cocoa pilled high with Jet Puffed Marshmallows and Cool Whip. Food doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to taste good.
Every week we host a small group of friends for a DVD study we’re doing together. A camradarie of close friends makes for the perfect impromptu Christmas party. For this small gathering, I wanted to encourage relaxation and relationship building, so I kept the decorations simple and the food warm and cozy.
For this gathering, I decided to focus on a red and white Christmas theme. I used a centerpiece I already had, and I found some simple paper decorations, plates and napkins at Walmart. I also found two small poinsettias for less than $1 each. I baked up some crescent rolls with Kraft shreds and placed the crescents, my chocolate cream cheese loaves, hot cocoa with marshmallows, and sparkling white grape juice as edible Christmas decor. When you want to keep everything simple – you can use the food for color and decoration.
Walmart sets up a Kraft bake center hub at Christmastime filled with things like Baker’s Chocolate for bakers who love to create holiday themed treats and eats. You’ll find all sorts of baking inspiration on this display. I’ve already stocked up on Christmas sprinkles and decor for our Christmas cookies.
If you need a little inspiration for holiday treats, check out the Cooking Up Good website. It has recipes, sweepstakes, loyalty programs, coupons and more. What’s not to love? If you’re looking for a new dinner idea or a chance to win some awesome prizes, be sure to check it out.
50 Point Party Planning Checklist
Ever since I was a little girl, my mom went out of her way to make sure every party, graduation, or group gathering was a special celebration. Some of my fondest childhood memories were of the parties my mom hosted for me and my sisters.
I’ve hosted more parties then I can count and I’ve learned quite a bit about party planning along the way. I’ve rounded up a checklist of all the things I could think of to create a 50 Point Party Planning Checklist. From the theme and colors of your party to what you’ll serve for food, I’ve compiled it all into a three page checklist to help you organize and track your ideas. I usually track my own party ideas on a piece of lined notebook paper – now that I have this list, I’ll be even more organized and I’m a lot less likely to forget something. I think you’ll find this list helpful. Best of all – it’s free. Just click the blue “download now” button for your free copy.
Download 50 Point Party Planning Checklist here:
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Chocolate Cream Cheese Loaf
The star food of our Christmas gathering was this delicious Chocolate Cream Cheese Loaf. It’s a simple adaptation of a quick bread recipe that I frequently bake. The addition of cream cheese makes the bread moist and creamy. The chocolate gives it a rich and decadent flavor. It’s a form of comfort food that pairs well with hot cocoa, coffee or tea. Warm and filling, it’s a dish that satisfies.
1 Stick of unsalted butter softened
8 Ounces of Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese softened
4 Tablespoons Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 1/4 Cups of Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Bars of Baker’s Chocolate (available in a range from unsweetened to sweetened chocolate)
Step 1: Preheat oven and ingredients. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If you haven’t left your butter and cream cheese out to soften at least an hour ahead of time, you can place these in the mixing bowl and microwave them. I microwave these for 30 seconds at a time until they are softened (not melted).
Step 2: Prepare the baking pan or dish. For this recipe I whipped up two batches of the recipe ingredients and used about 1 & 3/4 of the entire batter to fill eight mini loaf wells. Before you pour in the batter make sure to butter and flour the baking pan. Fill each well no more than 3/4 full. You can also use paper to line the wells instead of butter and flour. If you use a paper liner your recipe will yield another loaf or two.
Step 3: Mix Wet Ingredients. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I always mix the wet ingredients first. I take the softened cream cheese and butter and whip them together with a blender, then I add the milk, eggs, and vanilla. Once mixed, I mix in the small dry quantities – like baking powder and salt.
Step 4: Mix in Dry Ingredients. It’s the bond between fat and sugar that makes a bread sweet. I mix in the sugar and the flour goes last. The final batter is thick.
Step 5: Cut up and add chocolate. I like a rough-hewn appearance to my chocolate. I use a sharp knife and mallet to cut it. I inserted a few pieces of chocolate on the sides of each loaf and then sprinkled the rest on top halfway through baking. You can also fold the entire batch of chocolate into the batter. It’s entirely up to your personal taste and preference. Baker’s chocolate is available in unsweetened to sweetened and everything in-between. You can use any flavor to create this recipe – all of them are delicious. Since I used two bars, I saved a half a bar to create a chocolate drizzle for my loaf. I drizzled the chocolate on top after the loaves finished baking.
Step 6: Bake Loaves. Bake mini loaves for 30 minutes at 350 degrees and a full sized loaf for 45 Minutes. If you like to see your chocolate on top, add the chcolate at 15-20 minutes for mini loaves and 30-35 minutes for a single loaf. You don’t want to scorch the chocolate, but you do want it to bake into the loaves.
Step 7: Cool and Remove Loaves. Set the loaves out to cool for 15minutes before removing from the pan. You want them to cool enough that they don’t fall apart. If you wait too long though, the batter may expand and stick to the sides of the pan making it harder to remove. So you’ll want to take them out while they are still warm. If you opted for paper liners, removal may be easier and you won’t have to worry as much about the loaves coming apart upon removal.
You can serve your loaves whole or cut slices and drizzle with melted chocolate. It’s up to your personal taste and preference. My guests loved the loaves adorned with chocolate chunks and lots of drizzle.
Does your family have a favorite holiday dish? How about some party planning tips? Please leave a comment below. I love hearing from my readers.
P.S. – I blog to encourage moms, offer free preschool tools, and share ideas for family fun. If you enjoy recipes, free printables, crafts and games for little ones, ideas for family fun and encouraging posts for moms, sign up and have Happy and Blessed Home delivered to your inbox. Simply enter your e-mail address here:
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