4 Not-Your-Average Holiday Party Recipes

by Marissa Gold

Meet the chefs! Alie, left, and Georgia, right (Courtesy of the Cooking Channel)Meet the chefs! Alie, left, and Georgia, right (Courtesy of the Cooking Channel)

The Cooking Channel's Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstack are real-life best friends who love cocktails, cracking jokes, and entertaining--our kind of girls. To ensure that you wow your friends this holiday season, they sent over four crowd-pleasing recipes guaranteed to impress even the most jaded holiday party guests.

Courtesy of the Cooking ChannelCourtesy of the Cooking Channel

8 ounces sliced bacon (about 9 slices)
2 pitted dried medjool dates
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
1 pounds 80/20 ground beef
1/2 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 egg, beaten
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (a scant 1 cup)

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bacon on top oven rack (with a baking sheet below to catch drippings) and bake until crispy, about 20 minutes. Cool, then crumble into pieces. Remove rack and set aside baking sheet with bacon fat. Increase temperature to 400 degrees. Quarter dates lengthwise, then cut into 4 more pieces, yielding 32 total. Mix panko bread crumbs and milk in a bowl and let sit 2 to 3 minutes. Add ground beef, crumbled bacon, half of chopped parsley, egg, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and some black pepper and mix until just combined. Take 1-tablespoon portions of meat mixture and sandwich around tablespoon of blue cheese and 1 to 2 pieces of dates in middle. Roll into balls and place on baking sheet with bacon fat (roll each ball to coat). Bake for 15 minutes. Garnish with remaining chopped parsley and place a decorative toothpick into each one to serve.

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Courtesy of the Cooking ChannelCourtesy of the Cooking Channel

1 ounces reposado tequila
3/4 ounce orange liqueur (Alie and Georgia use Cointreau)
3/4 ounce espresso, chilled (Alie and Georgia use Nescafé Dolce Gusto)

Add all ingredients to a tall glass or a cocktail shaker. Add ice and stir (don't shake) with a long spoon for 30 seconds, then strain into a glass. Garnish with an orange peel strip spiraled inside glass.

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Courtesy of the Cooking ChannelCourtesy of the Cooking Channel

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for buttering
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1/2 cup prepared hot fudge sauce
1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
18 chocolate-covered espresso beans, for garnish

Part one: Place a rack in center of oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Lightly butter 18 oven-safe espresso cups and place on baking sheet. Dissolve 2 tablespoons of instant espresso in a bowl of 1/4 cup hot water until dissolved, then whisk in buttermilk and 1/4 cup of hot fudge sauce. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy (2 to 3 minutes). Add vanilla extract and egg and beat until well combined. Set aside.

Part two: In a third bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. At low speed, alternate adding some of flour mixture and then espresso into creamed butter, adding 1/3 of each at a time. Tip: Begin and end with flour mixture and mix until just combined. Spoon batter into espresso cups until halfway full and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool. Whip heavy cream in a large mixing bowl until it holds soft peaks. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Part three: Dissolve remaining tablespoon of espresso in a small mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons hot water. Whisk in remaining 1/4 cup hot fudge sauce. Spread evenly onto cooled cupcakes, then cover each with whipped cream and a light dusting of cocoa powder. Garnish with a chocolate-covered espresso bean.

Click here for the Drunken Doughnut Cocktail recipe.

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