Offices can be dull, predictable places. You have the same meetings on the same days of the week and maybe your cafeteria even serves up the same “specials” on a predictable schedule.
So when you can do something unexpected in the office, it makes people smile. It delights them a little. And while holiday baking and parties are the norm, having holiday treats with a theme based on a band that a lot of people haven’t thought about in 20 years is pretty unpredictable.
That’s right: It’s time for another Hanson holiday party.
Don’t even pretend that you aren’t super excited about this. I know you’ve been waiting for it since the last Hanson parties I threw:
- Hanson “All This Love Crap” Valentine’s Day
- Halloween, Hanson Style
- Hanson’s Favorite Christmas Sweater Cookie Decorating
To start getting in the mood, watch this Hanson Christmas classic:
Seeing Zac playing that little toy drum always makes me grin. I’m pretty sure Zac Hanson is my spirit animal.
Ok, now get “Snowed In” playing in the background and let’s hit the kitchen!
I asked around in the Hanson.net forums for new holiday baking ideas and the Fansons didn’t disappoint. Turnuptheevil suggested a “Give a Little Ho Ho Ho” cake, which is adorably brilliant. I went the easy route with that and bought Ho Hos, along with some “Show Me the Wafer” cookies and “Don’t forget the donuts” donuts.
That last one’s from a line in “Everybody Knows the Claus”. Don’t know it? I’m so sorry. This fan video can help:
The fan club song (yes, they record songs just for fan club members) “Marshmallow Lover” came up a few times on the forum, and since marshmallows seem very wintery to me I decided to make a few treats that would incorporate them.
First, I made Marshmallow Lover’s Brownies. These are super simple. To begin, make your favorite brownie recipe – from scratch or a box.
I tried Baker’s Chocolate One-Bowl Brownie recipe for the first time because I had some of their chocolate to use up (and using things up is one of my New Year’s resolutions that I’m still working on). The brownies were very chocolatey and came out heavy enough not to fall apart when I added the toppings.
Once the brownies are cool, top with a jar of marshmallow fluff, plus caramel and chocolate dollops. Swirl those through with a knife to make them all pretty. There are more detailed instructions at ourtableforseven.com, but you can always throw on nuts, peanut butter chips, chopped up candy bars or anything else you like. The marshmallow holds it all together really well.
The brownies are pretty goopey once you have the topping on, so I recommend waiting until you serve them to cut them. I have a baking pan with a lid, so I kept them covered overnight and cut them just before setting them out at work.
And now a Zac interlude to get us in even more of a marshmallowy mood:
In the song Zac sings, “PB & J is old news, replace it daily with marshmallow fluff instead”, so I had to make something peanut buttery. I found this recipe for Peanut Butter S’mores Bars and Oh. My. Yum. These bars are over the top with peanut butter, peanut butter chips, Hershey bars, marshmallow fluff and more peanut butter and chocolate. These disappeared from the snack table first and I was asked how soon I would make them again. This recipe is going into my Favorites folder.
And then I thought, how about just setting out huge marshmallows on a stick? I found giant Campfire brand marshmallows at Walmart, but I’m sure most other grocery stores would have them, too. I followed this basic guide for dipping them in caramel and then chocolate, and while mine tasted fine, they didn’t look quite as smooth. I think I should have thinned the chocolate out a bit with a tablespoon of corn syrup.
People completely freaked out over these though, and the dozen I made disappeared really quickly. Now that I’ve done it once I’d like to try it again and roll them in nuts or Oreos or something before the chocolate sets.
If you want more marshmallow ideas – and there are lots out there that I would still love to try – check out the Marshmallow Lover Pinterest board I started to keep track of them all. There’s just too much to bake and not enough weekends to do it all.
The best part of the Hanson theme parties that I’ve thrown is seeing people look at the pictures and things I set out and say, “Hanson? Are they still a thing?” Or, “Oh wow! When did they all grow up and how did they get so hot?” So then I send people links to videos, or let them know how many albums have come out since “MMMBop” was on the charts, and they’re usually really impressed. And sometimes they just want another brownie, and that’s ok, too.
This year I also made people stand around my desk and watch this video, because I love it:
A few more ideas that came up and I’ll save for next year:
- Broken Angel Food Cake (or sugar cookies)
- Merry Christmas, Baby Cakes (maybe mini bundts or petit fours?)
- Baby, Please Come Homemade Cinnamon Rolls (yes, the names get sillier and sillier)
If you’re having this party at home, or in a workplace that’s more alcohol-tolerant than mine, go ahead and serve up the MMMHops, or maybe try making a Guinness Chocolate Cake with MMMHops in place of the Guinness. I have absolutely no idea how that might taste, but it’s beer and cake, so the result should be edible, right?
You could also serve some of Isaac’s favorite Kvass while having a reading of Hanson’s “Twas the Night Before Christmas“, or while listening to Isaac read it. He’s a fantastic reader. S’mores Martinis also sound delicious for a night of music by the fireplace.
So how about some ideas for the next Hanson Valentine’s Day party? Or should we call it Valentine’s Tay? I’m thinking This Is the Jam Tarts, Bittersweet Chocolate Cookies and Red Hot Fired Up Cake. If you have more ideas, please share them below!
Finally, it’s Christmas! (Yes, that’s Hanson’s new song. Go get it.)