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Orange Hot Chocolate

9 Feb

Orange Hot Chocolate

Orange Hot Chocolate Vertical

Deceptively simple. This Orange Hot Chocolate tastes just like a Pepperidge Farm’s Orange Milano to me. It’s rich with the mild tanginess of fresh orange. 

My husband and I participate in a local farm cooperative. Each week we get locally grown produce from Full Circle Farm. Lately, it’s been a lot of citrus – oranges, tangelos, lemons, grapefruit, even pomelos.

It takes effort to find uses for all the citrus fruit. You can squeeze and freeze the juice but I wanted to use the fruit since it was so fresh. Thus, the orange hot chocolate was born!

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Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

21 Jan

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Overflowing

Chocolate, Caramel and Sea Salt are one of those special combinations that really make your taste buds sing. I LOVE this foodie celebrity-couple. Try this 15 minute recipe for richly decadent Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate.

I’m not exactly sure when I jumped on the SALT + CARAMEL bandwagon. But I am “drinking the Kool-Aid,” as a former mentor might say.

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Holiday Egg Nog

15 Nov

The quintessential holiday beverage. Egg Nog has seen many an amateur cook through endless hours spent slaving over a holiday meal. It’s smoothed the edges on those awkward dinners with the extended family that drag on-and-on. It’s perfect for sipping with friends and family in front of a warm, crackly, fire.

I still remember the first time I sampled homemade Egg Nog. My neighbors hosted a holiday cookie swap. I was probably 13 years old. And there was this huge punch bowl of warm Egg Nog. All the adults were doing boring things like talking to each other. So I fixated on the Nog. I must have had at least four cups full. Far more than was polite. But it was just that good, I couldn’t help going back for more.

I’ve decided to unofficially call my recipe “Egg Grog” because it’s made with good quality Jamaican rum. [Egg Grog.  The more you drink, the more you feel like a pirate.] But names aside, I think you’ll enjoy it.

I can’t stand store bought egg nog.  To me, it tastes like bubblegum, which I have no interest in drinking.  But that’s OK because this is one beverage that’s simple to make, and customize to your tastes, at home.

This drink can be served warm or chilled. It’s best the next day, though mine rarely makes it that long. If you haven’t tried homemade Egg Nog before, give this one a try – I promise, you won’t go back!

Holiday Egg Nog
Recipe makes 10-12 cups

8 Egg Yolks
2/3 cup Sugar
4 cups Milk (I used 2%)
2 cups Heavy Cream
8 tbsp Dark Rum (Bourbon or Cognac make good substitutes)
2 tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg (the regular stuff will work, too)
Pinch of Salt

Separate egg yolks from whites. Reserve egg whites for another use. Place yolks in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until egg yolks have lightened in color (about 30 seconds). Slowly add in the sugar, beating until lightened and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).

Combine the milk, cream, nutmeg and salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Slowly heat on medium until the mixture is hot but not boiling. Stir frequently to keep the bottom from burning.

Next, you’ll need to temper the eggs, to prevent them from scrambling. Slowly add the hot milk (a few drops at a time) to the beaten egg yolks, whisking vigorously.  Continue adding hot milk, a little at a time, until you’ve added half the milk to the egg mixture. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. [Go slowly, I've scrambled my yolks before adding the milk too quickly. You can increase your speed slightly as you add more milk.]

Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. You’ll want the mixture to reach 16oF degrees, to ensure the eggs are fully cooked. You can check this with a thermometer, although it’s not required. Don’t let the Egg Nog boil.

Remove from the heat and add in the rum. Pour into a glass bowl to cool. Once a bit cooler, place into the refrigerator to chill. Enjoy!

On a side note, above is a picture of a beautiful bouquet my husband created for me [just because he loves me!]. It has fresh wheat and amaranth (pictured), sage, lavendar and rosemary. A perfect bouquet for a chef, no? I’m so lucky!

Marshmallow Cream Drinking Chocolate

4 Nov

Rich, fragrant, creamy, delectable… 

Drinking chocolate is out of this world. The best chocolate beverage you’ll ever have. This version combines locally produced Guittard Chocolate Company’s Bittersweet chocolate with toasted marshmallow cream and the crunch of  graham cracker crumbs. Best part? It’s simple to make.  Only 10 minutes, I promise. 

I still remember my first experience with drinking chocolate.  In Santa Cruz, there’s a little cafe on Pacific named (quite aptly) Chocolate. They offer a selection of gourmet drinking chocolates made with artisanal chocolate. I fell in love with this decadent beverage one winter evening during college.

However, as I sipped my way through their menu, I thought their dark chocolate a smidge too dark and their milk chocolate too light.  In true Goldilocks style, I wanted something just right.   So I quickly set about recreating this awesome drink for myself. And now you can, too!

The Key…

The chocolate makes (or breaks) this dessert beverage. So, use the best quality chocolate you can find. You get to choose the darkness of the chocolate to suit your taste, however.

I highly recommend any of these brands’ semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, as I’ve tried them all: Callebaut makes a super-smooth and creamy drink, Schaarfen Berger seems more fruity to me, and Guittard is a great all-around crowd pleaser.

Let me give you my recipe!

Marshmallow Hot Chocolate:

2.5 oz High-Quality Bittersweet or Semi-Sweet Chocolate (Guittard Bittersweet shown here)
2 tbsp Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 cup Marshmallow Cream (Marshmallows are an OK substitute, too)
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Salt
Graham Cracker Crumbs for rimming the glass
Butter for rimming the glass

Begin by preparing your chosen glass / mug. Lightly coat the rim of the mug with butter, which will help the graham cracker adhere. If you are using whole graham crackers, smash or blend the crackers into very small pieces / powder. Place crumbs onto a plate, turn the mug upside down and gently coat the rim with the crumbs.

Chop up your chocolate into even, small pieces (the smaller the pieces, the more quickly and evenly they will melt). Place the chocolate into a different, microwave-safe mug, add cream and microwave for 15 seconds. Remove and stir mixture with a spoon for 10 seconds. If chocolate is not fully melted, microwave again for 10 seconds, remove and stir. Repeat until chocolate is melted. (Do not overheat or you risk burning the chocolate.)

Add the vanilla, milk and salt to the melted chocolate mixture. Stir and microwave for 45 seconds. Remove and test the mixture.  When done, the drink should be heated to your liking and all chocolate should be fully melted. If not, return and microwave for another 30 seconds.

Pour the prepared drinking chocolate into the mug lined with graham cracker crumbs.

Place the 1/2 cup of marshmallow cream into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 5 seconds, remove and stir. You need the mixture to be pliable enough to spoon over your hot chocolate. Microwave in 5 second increments until the cream is a spoonable consistency. Spoon the marshmallow cream over your drinking chocolate.

If you have a blowtorch, you can toast the top of the marshmallow cream for effect. Beware the marshmallow cream does like to catch on fire! So keep your blowtorch turned on low and very gently toast the surface. Or, you can pop the mug in your microwave for 10-20 seconds to make the marshmallow cream blow up above the top of the glass!

This is not the last time you’ll see drinking chocolate on Decadent Dragon Bakery. It’s just that awesome.

Do you have an experience with amazing drinking chocolate? Please share!

Beth