Monday, July 27, 2009

Christmas in July Party

Friends Julie and Rebecca hosted a festive Christmas in July party over the weekend. Guests were invited to bring a favorite holiday appetizer or dessert, and our favorite selections in each category won a prize. I took chocolate-orange fudge and peppermint almond bark. They didn't win a prize, but I will share the recipes anyway!

Julie kept us in the Christmas spirit with holiday games. The party started with a mixer where guests compared notes to fill out categories, such as "I have already completed my Christmas shopping" and "I have seen a real reindeer." Later we guessed the contents of wrapped Christmas presents, and the person with the most correct guesses unwrapped a present of her own.

This fun party capped off a week that for me included painting ornaments for my Nov./Dec. Christian Woman article, which is due this week. So these made great favors for our wonderful hosts!

Chocolate-Orange Fudge

An easy recipe with a hint of citrus.

2 1/2 cups (15 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free Eagle Brand
Zest from one orange

Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, and spray the bottom and sides with Pam. Melt chocolate chips with Eagle Brand in a saucepan, then stir in orange zest and remove from heat. Pour the mixture into the foil-lined pan, and chill for 2 hours or until firm. Pull the foil from the pan and slice the fudge into diamond shapes by cutting straight lines across the block of fudge one way, then cutting diagonal lines across the other way. Garnish with orange zest, if desired. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator.

Peppermint Almond Bark

8 ounces vanilla candy coating
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
6 or 7 peppermints, crushed

Melt candy according to package directions, then stir in extract and crushed peppermints. Spread onto wax paper to cool. Then break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

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