Ugly Sweater Party

Woooo!  Nothing like a good ugly holiday sweater party to ring in the season!  I waited last minute and found an awesome tacky sweater vest at the thrift store by my house (running into a friend searching for the same thing along the way).  And before the party, I made some excellent things to share with everyone!

The party is both a birthday party for my friend Ben, as well as a general holiday party, so I made two things- peanut butter cups with pretzel topping just for Ben since he loves Take 5's, and Grinch cookies for everyone!  Grinch cookies are my new name for cookies I've made before, mint chocolate sugar cookies.  Here's how to make each!

Peanut Butter Cups with Pretzels:
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk, I used semi-sweet)
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs shortening
Get 24 paper liners ready in a mini muffin pan.
Put the peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar in a small saucepan on medium-low heat to get them all melted together and smooth.
Take the pan off the heat and slowly add the powdered sugar (I did 1/3 cup at a time) and stir to incorporate.  Try not to nom on this.
With all of the powdered sugar stirred in, it comes together to kind of a dough/paste thing.  So set that aside to cool a little while you mess with the chocolate.
Here are my bowls of goodness!  Broken up pretzels for the topping (or just buy bite-sized pretzels to stick whole on top) and half of the chocolate chips ready to be melted.
What you're gonna be doing is putting chocolate in the bottom of every mini muffin thing, putting a little disc of peanut butter on top and pressing down a little to bring the chocolate around the peanut butter, then covering all that with the rest of the chocolate.  So since I was only going to be using half at a time, I figured this would be the easiest way to keep the portions correct and leave me enough chocolate at the end too.

So melt half your chocolate and shortening in the microwave at 30 second intervals and stir stir stir so that you don't end up scalding the chocolate!

After 30 seconds^
After another 30 seconds and stirring like crazy!

I portioned it all out into the 24 mini-muffin liners.
Then put some peanut butter in there on top!  I had too much peanut butter and ended up melting more chocolate later to have a few left for myself (don't tell Ben...)
Melt the rest of your chocolate and shortening and cover up the peanut butter with it!
And sprinkle your pretzels on top of all the goodness.  Pat em into the chocolate a bit for good measure too :-)
Since these were going to be just for Ben, or whoever he chose to share them with, I wanted to make something else for everyone to be able to share!  Enter...THE GRINCH!  Or green cookies :-)
I've been making these for years- grab some sugar cookie mix and the ingredients called for on the bag (the Betty Crocker mix I grabbed needed one stick of butter and one egg per bag), as well as peppermint extract, green food coloring, and mint chocolate chips.  You need 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract per batch (so I used a full teaspoon), and 1 cup chocolate chips, 1 cup mint chips per batch.  I managed to find these dark chocolate and mint chips mixed in one bag!  Sometimes I can't find these though and end up chopping up enough Andes mints to make up the full 2 cups needed.  Just use what you can find in your grocery store that ends up being chocolate and mint, haha.

Don't these just look like Grinch cookies!  I like to make them green because people immediately assume they'll be mint, and don't get mad if they thought they were just regular chocolate chip cookies.
The batter isn't that great, but the cookies taste so much like mint chocolate chip ice cream, it's amazing.
Bake them for 7-9 minutes at 350 degrees.
Let them cool a bit then bring them to your next holiday party!
I have a bunch, so I'll probably bring half to the party tonight, and save the other half for the office holiday party on Monday.  I'm also planning on making more peanut butter kiss cookies for the office, but that'll be tomorrow...

For now I gotta get ready for the party and finish up my favorite holiday movie :-)

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