New Year’s Eve Mocktails

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Homemade sparkling cider with maraschino cherry “ice cubes”

New Year’s Eve doesn’t have to be just an adult affair. With these two mocktails, kids can get in on the fun, champagne glasses included. The first idea is Milk with Chocolate Chip Cookie Stick—pour milk into a champagne glass and then garnish with the Chocolate Chip Cookie Stick for supreme dunking. This is a chocolate chip cookie recipe baked biscotti-style—so the sticks are crunchy and can withhold dairy dipping with ease.

The second New Year’s Eve mocktail is homemade sparkling cider, which is just an easy combination of apple juice concentrate and seltzer. But here’s where the fun can come in—freeze some maraschino cherries and use them as fruity “ice cubes” in the sparkling cider. For an adult riff on this mocktail, use pomegranate seeds in the sparkling cider (which will float) instead of maraschino cherries.

So cozy up to Netflix’s original All Hail King Julien (released December 19), and ring in the new year with these celebratory mocktails.

Milk Flutes with Chocolate Chip Cookie Sticks

Makes around 14 to 18 sticks

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½ cup melted butter

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup mini chocolate chips

½ cup walnuts, very finely chopped (optional)

Milk, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, add melted butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Add flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the wet mixture until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts into the cookie batter.

2. Line a 9-inch by 12-inch Pyrex dish with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray. Press the dough into a rectangle in the dish. Bake in the preheated oven until the cookie dough is golden on top, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool at least an hour.

3. Preheat oven to 325°F. Lift up the parchment paper to easily remove the chocolate chip cookie loaf from the baking pan. Place it onto a cutting board. Use a serrated knife to cut the cookie into 1-inch sticks.

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cutting into cookie sticks

4. Arrange sticks on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet so the sticks are cut side down. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the sticks sit in oven for 1 hour. Keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

5. To serve, fill champagne glasses with milk. Place a chocolate chip cookie stick into the milk to serve.

Homemade Apple Cider

Makes 4 ½ cups

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1 (12-ounce) container apple juice concentrate, thawed in the fridge overnight

3 cups seltzer

Garnishes: frozen maraschino cherries or cinnamon sticks

In a pitcher, add the apple juice concentrate. Top with the seltzer, gently stirring to combine. Pour into cups or champagne glasses. Garnish with cinnamon sticks or frozen maraschino cherries.

Egg Cream: What’s in a Name?

Chocolate Egg Cream from Artisan Soda Workshop

I’m obsessed with the fresh, constant supply of seltzer water pumped out by my small SodaStream. So much so that I wrote a cookbookThe Artisan Soda Workshop, revolving around syrups that can be mixed into the seltzer for DIY soda. And then it was a thrill to write a blog post for SodaStream featuring a recipe from the cookbook. I chose to highlight my Egg Cream recipe, which is misleading as far as names. As I convey in the post, my Northern-raised mom would tell this Southern kid about how she missed Egg Creams. Of course, I thought the drinks actually contained eggs–a raw yolk floating in the mix of a drink. As an adult, I learned that an egg cream is actually nothing like that. It’s a splash of rich, chocolate syrup mixed with dairy and topped with seltzer. I use cream versus the more traditional milk because it makes the drink oh-so-much-more fizzy. Also, add a splash of booze like Kahlua turns this into cocktail magic.