White Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

White Chocolate (& Matcha) Almond Butter Cups / @loveandlemons

We have a new favorite food and it’s not what you think. Well, ok, it is what you think, given that the title and photo in this post have given it away. Lately, I haven’t been able to make it through the Whole Foods checkout line without sneaking a package of those Justin’s white chocolate almond butter cups – have you had them? (This is not a sponsored post, btw). 

So I thought – how hard would it be to make them at home? First we tried to make a vegan version w/ cacao butter – total fail. (points for trying though?). We ended up going the (much easier) route using organic white chocolate.

I got the idea to stir matcha – my green foodie food coloring of choice – into half of the melted white chocolate. I can’t put into words how amazing the combo of matcha + almond butter is. Just know that these had to be taken away from me.

Vegan Kale & Artichoke Dip

Vegan Kale & Artichoke Dip / @loveandlemons

Hey all, Jack here – now that it’s the end of the year, it’s holiday party time! And what does it normally mean to eat at a party in the winter? To a lot of Americans, that means spinach artichoke dip. I mean, what makes you feel like partying more than eating an entire loaf of bread dipped in cream cheese and mayonnaise?

Well, Jeanine and I don’t really think that’s much of a party any more. Our idea of a party is one where the next day you (or your guests) don’t feel awful. So we took a bit of inspiration from the classic party dip and made a spread that is still irresistible but infinitely more healthy. It uses two of our favorites for creamy vegan indulgence – sunflower seed puree and chickpeas. And the spinach is subbed out for kale, because why not?

I won’t lie though – I still ate way too much of this.

Vegan Kale & Artichoke Dip / @loveandlemons

Matcha White Hot Chocolate

Matcha White Hot Chocolate / @loveandlemons

Hot chocolate always has to come with warm fuzzy memories, doesn’t it? I vividly remember being about 9 – otherwise known as the age when snow was fun. My sister and I would spend hours and hours building forts and making snow angels. We’d come in the house with red noses and leave our snowpants in a puddle at the door (you know, for mom to clean up). We’d sit down to mugs of swiss miss hot chocolate, no marshmallows for me.

I might not have wintery white Christmases anymore but here’s my fancy adult white hot chocolate that’s made oh so much more delicious by adding one of my favorite ingredients - matcha.

Matcha White Hot Chocolate / @loveandlemons

If you’re new to matcha, check out this matcha coconut latte post where I describe it a little more… or view all of our matcha recipes in our (now working again, sorry for yesterday’s glitch) recipe index.

Cranberry & Pistachio Chocolate Bark

Cranberry & Pistachio Chocolate Bark / @loveandlemons #vegan #glutenfree

During the holidays, Jack has a thing for peppermint bark. I have a thing for not picking sticky candy pieces out of my teeth, so we compromised and used festive ingredients that we both love – pistachios, dried cranberries, coconut flakes and (most importantly!) a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.

Cranberry & Pistachio Chocolate Bark / @loveandlemons #vegan #glutenfree

This is my kind of holiday dessert because it’s (naturally) red and green, and also easy to through together. You might even already have these ingredients (or similar ones) on hand in your pantry. If you don’t – feel free to customize with whatever toppings you like – nuts, dried fruit, or even crushed candy cane pieces if that’s your thing.

Pop it in the freezer to set – then break and eat!

Cranberry & Pistachio Chocolate Bark / @loveandlemons #vegan #glutenfree

Holiday Cocktail & Cookie Swap

Holiday Cookie Swap / Love & Lemons + Crate & BarrelCookies & Cocktails w/ Holiday Drinkware

For as long as I can remember, my family’s Christmas season officially started with cookies. Before we were even tall enough to reach the countertop, my mom would pull over kitchen chairs so my sister and I could “help” out and get our hands in the flour. She would get out the baking sheets, the ingredients, and the flour-dusted recipes that were reserved only for the holiday season. We’d bake batch after batch after batch, eating more cookie dough than actual cookies.

This year, to kick off our holiday season, I created a little cookie & cocktail party taking inspiration from my family cookie memories. And we’ve partnered with Crate and Barrel to share a few cocktail and cookie recipe ideas and tips to create a sweet gathering of your own.

pictured above: Hatch Rocks & Shot Glasses, Snowflake Coasters

Holiday Cookie Swap / www.loveandlemons.com

Create your Cookie Swap: 

After a quick google search, I’ve learned that some people have some pretty serious Cookie Swap rules. I personally don’t think rules and parties go together so here are just some of my tips to help get you started:

- Invite some friends who have a big sweet tooth. There’s no calorie counting at this party! The more people you invite, the more cookie varieties you’ll have.

- Ask each person to bring one batch (about 2 dozen) homemade cookies and a tin or storage container to take cookies home in.

 - Make a fun & festive cocktail but I like to keep it simple. I made a Blood Orange and Bourbon Cocktail with a sprig of rosemary.

- Set up platters for guests to place their cookies so everyone can share cookies and swap recipes.

pictured above: Nesting Mixing Bowl, Stainless Steel Measuring Cup, Mini Silicone Spatula-Spoon Set

Holiday Cookie Swap / www.loveandlemons.com

The Cookies:

My mom and I spent an afternoon baking some of our family favorites: this Spritz cookie is my family’s signature cookie. It’s a light buttery cookie flavored with sweet almond extract. Create fun shapes using a Cookie Press – the poinsettia flower shape was always our favorite. We also made vegan sugar cookies, pistachio truffles (which are also vegan), and pecan turtle bars.

pictured above & below: Round Storage Bowl SetBoxed 6” Appetizer Plates, Lumi Batik Cocktail NapkinsJingle Cookies for Santa Platter

Cookie Swap Holiday Decor / Love & Lemons + Crate & Barrel

And don’t forget some cookies for the dogs – ours are always looking for handouts!

Peppermint Bark Dog Treats / loveandlemons.com
pictured:
 Peppermint Bark Dog Treats