Snow Party: Wine and Chocolate Make Snow Days So Much Better
The kids had off. Again. We were going on our fourth snow day and it was looking like number five and six were about to be called. I couldn’t take it anymore. My street had been plowed. Cars could (sort of) get by. My neighbors could pop over, and so could a few friends who were also stuck at home with their kids. We were going to get through this week of snow days together, but it would need a little help.
When Ghirardelli chocolates came knocking to see what I would do with their products, I saw it as a sign. This was my excuse to grab a few friends, not to lament the snow, but to celebrate it. I was in a rut and something had to knock me out of it. A few bottles of Josh Cellars wine to go along with our snow party couldn’t hurt either.
It’s easy to explore new food and sights when I travel, but when I am stuck at home with my kids I get lazy with our meals and even more sloth like when it comes to entertaining the kids. I was going bonkers. I needed to see people who were not in my immediate family. I needed to socialize. A snow party, incorporating some decadent chocolate and wine, was the perfect answer and my friends were all too eager to join in the fun.
At the first sign of a plow, I headed into Washington, D.C., where I knew I could find Ghirardelli Chocolates and Josh Cellars wines (only wine and liquor stores can carry alcohol in Maryland. I needed to make this shopping trip as simple as possible thanks to all the snow still on the roads.) Savory snacks were also on the menu, as I knew we would need to balance out the massive quantity of chocolate I had just bought. Since the kids had off, I was planning a fun little hot cocoa bar to go along with this snow party/gathering of moms. It was one of the few ways I knew most of the kids would leave their moms alone so we could chat, besides the crazy sledding hill we had on the side of our house. Valentine’s Day was right around the corner, so I got a few extra special treats to give away to friends to thank them for trekking out in the snow. Sadly I only found three of the six wines that Josh Cellars makes- Chardonnay, Merlot and Legacy red—but it would be enough to pair with the chocolates we would enjoy.
I walked away from my shopping experience with more than enough food and wine to satisfy a small army. Honestly, I have no idea how to shop for small crowds. I always assume people will be hungrier than they are, and I love sending moms home with leftovers so they don’t have to think about cooking, or in this case, what treat they will reward themselves with after the kids go to bed. Want to know what was in my cart? Here you go… and try not to drool.
Ghirardelli Box mixes
- Dark Chocolate Chip cookie mix
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip cookie mix
- Caramel Turtle Brownie mix
- Triple Fudge Brownie Mix
- Dark & Strawberry squares
- Dark & truffle squares
- Sea Salt selection squares (Milk, sea salt & almonds, Dark & sea salt caramel, and Dark, sea salt & almonds)
- Valentine’s Caramel Trio (Dark & Caramel, Milk & Caramel, Dark & Sea Salt Caramel)
- Cherry Tango squares
- Dark and Raspberry Squares
- Sweet Hearts (milk chocolate filled with caramel cream, milk chocolate filled with caramel cream, chocolate almond cream and dark chocolate filled it cacao nibs in cream)
- Milk Spiced Almonds
- Ghirardelli Candy Making & Dipping: Dark Chocolate Melting Wafers
- Ghirardelli Candy Making & Dipping: White Chocolate Melting Wafers
- Whipped cream
- Vegetable oil
- Soft wheat bread
- Natural peanut butter
- Strawberry jam
I made the cookies and one of the brownie boxes the night before. The rest would have to wait until the morning to make, including a Sangria brownie recipe I was eager to try out (see recipe below). Chocolate-covered strawberries were also on the menu. I had no idea how to make them, but the instructions on the back of the Ghirardelli melting chocolate bag looked simple enough.
Friends and neighbors started to arrive by mid-afternoon. A few were stunned by the sheer quantity of chocolate. It’s true. I was tempted to just make a huge mountain to resemble a snowdrift, but held back. I’m not sure any of us were ready for any snow related humor.
The chocolate-covered strawberries looked like they came out of a magazine. My friend’s ooh’d and ahhh’d over them. I’ll admit that a preened a bit at my baking success. We stood around my dining room sipping wine and inhaling every chocolate treat on the table as if it was our lifeline, which at that point it really was. We had all been cooped up with our kids for over six days and it looked like we would have them home with us for at least four more. Those of us who worked from home had fallen far behind. The moms who cherished those quiet hours after school drop off and while the baby napped had snapped long ago, having never had that break they so desperately needed.
Maybe wine and chocolate can’t solve all of the world’s problems, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. By the time everyone left, we were all smiling. We had ranted about the school system and ridiculous calls for snow days. We’d stuffed ourselves with chocolate treats.
Snow Party Menu
- Sangria Brownies (made from the Triple Fudge Brownie mix plus red wine and orange zest)
- Dark Chocolate covered strawberries
- White chocolate covered strawberries
- Pudding cups (crushed Oreos in small mason jars with chocolate pudding and whipped cream on top, plus a chocolate covered strawberry on the side)
- Chocolate Chip cookies
- Chocolate peanut butter cookies
- Chocolate covered blueberries
- Chocolate covered spiced almonds
- Multiple flavors of Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares and truffles
- Baked brie with apples and French bread
- Ham and cheddar cheese tea sandwiches
- Turkey and provolone heart sandwiches (bread and meat cut with a heart-shaped cookie cutter)
- Heart PBJ sandwiches (for the kids)
- Josh Cellars Chardonnay (chilled in the snow of course!)
- Josh Cellars Merlot
- Josh Cellars Legacy Red
Hot Cocoa Bar
- Milk Chocolate Chips
- White Chocolate Chips
- Dark Chocolate Chips
- Mini marshmallows
- Whipped cream
Prep time wasn’t all that bad. Most of my time was spent setting up the table and waiting for things to cook since I was using box mixes for the most part. The chocolate-covered strawberries were so quick and easy I may just make them on a random Tuesday night for a snack.
We faced three more snow days after that one, but made it to the weekend thanks to my snow party with friends. A little wine and a lot of chocolate go a long way when you are home with the kids, but it is even better when you can share it with friends. I got my energy back after being stuck in a rut all week. I was invigorated and finally had the energy (and will power) to pack the boys up on Friday and head into DC for a little afternoon adventure exploring the museums and quick stop at the National Zoo to see the pandas. Snow days may drag on, but a snow party is definitely the way to get through them.
Have you ever thrown a snow party?
Sangria Brownie Tart
Modified recipe based off of Ghirardelli box
- 1 package of Ghirardelli Triple Fudge Brownie Mix
- 1/3 cup red wine (Josh Cellars Merlot)
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
Heat oven to 325ºF. Line 12 muffin cups with paper baking cups. In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir until well mixed. Fill muffin cups ½ full. Bake 25-28 minutes. Cool brownies and remove from paper. Place on serving platter. Top with whipped cream and berries.
Optional fruit topping
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1 cup blackberries
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons red wine
Gently stir all ingredients together and refrigerate for 2 hours. Spoon berries on top of whipped cream before serving.
- 1-quart of strawberries
- Ghirardelli Dark Melting Wafers (12oz bag)
- Chirardelli White Melting Wafers (12oz bag)
Clean and dry strawberries. Do NOT cut off the stems. Set berries aside.
Fill a small pot with about ½ inch of water and set to simmer on the stove top. Do not let the water boil. Place a mixing bowl on top of the pot to create a double boiler. Place about a half of the bag of Ghirardelli Dark Melting Wafers in the bowl. Stir slowly until all chocolate is melted.
Hold a strawberry by the stem to dip and roll it in the chocolate to cover it up to the stem. Place on wax paper. Cool in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to harden the chocolate.
Repeat the same process with Ghirardelli White Melting Wafers for white chocolate covered strawberries.
Get fancy: if you want to make a few fancy strawberries, dip a spoon (just a regular teaspoon you eat cereal with) in melted white chocolate and wave your spoon over your dark chocolate covered strawberries to make fun lines across it. You can do the same with dark chocolate over your white chocolate covered strawberries. There are no mistakes. Just have fun with it and hold your spoon high above your plate of strawberries so the lines are thin and the chocolate doesn’t clump up.
Chocolate Pudding Cups
- 1 bag of Oreos
- 1 package of chocolate pudding mix
- 1 pint of heavy whipping cream
- Eight 4oz Mason jars
- Crumble up a row of Oreos. Fill the mason jars about 1/3 full with the Oreo crumbs.
Make pudding according to directions and let cool. Fill a pastry bag with pudding to fill the mason jars or carefully spoon pudding into mason jars. Top with fresh whipped cream and a chocolate-covered strawberry, or fresh blueberries and chocolate shavings.