hot chocolate with cinnamon and whisky

cinnamon spiced hot chocolate with whisky

What would the winter holiday season be without a cup of rich hot chocolate! There's something comforting when you sip into a cup of steaming hot and sinfully indulgent rich chocolate merged into creamy milk. This hot chocolate is decadent and every bit indulgent with the goodness of dark chocolate, the warmth of freshly ground cinnamon and a dash of whisky.

Christmas tree

Whisky is another flavor that I love to use as an ingredient during the holidays. It infuses an extra level of warmth and richness to foods and I find it excellent when added to barbecues, desserts and sweet cocktails. So yes, I added some whisky in here! Chocolate and whisky with cinnamon, it's the perfect combination of rich, earthy rustic flavors. The whisky here is just the right amount to give it flavor without being boozy. If whisky isn't your thing, you can leave it out. 

hot chocolate with marshmallows

Have fun with the garnishes, it's the holidays treat yourself a little! 

peppermint hot chocolate with cinnamon and whisky

hot chocolate with cinnamon and whisky

yields : 4 servings

ingredients

4 cups whole milk
1 cup (5 3/4 ounces) dark chocolate chips, unsweetened
1 cup (6 1/8 ounces) milk chocolate chips, sweetened
1 teaspoon cinnamon, freshly ground + a little extra for dusting
1/4 cup whisky
a  few marshmallows for garnishing (optional)
4 peppermint sticks (optional)

1. Place the milk in a thick bottomed saucepan. Heat the mixture on medium-low flame until the milk begins to steam with constant stirring. Reduce the flame to a gentle simmer.
2. Add the chocolate and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to the hot milk and whisk constantly by hand until the chocolate is completely melted. Remove from the milk from the stove and mix in the whisky.
3. Pour the hot chocolate into serving mugs and top them off with a few marshmallows and dust with the extra ground cinnamon. Serve with the hot chocolate with the peppermint sticks and extra marshmallows on the side.

gingersnaps


Sometimes, I like to walk around the Smithsonian Art Museum to relax and basically do nothing. Sometimes it is nice to do nothing. Though admiring and viewing the art at the museum surpassed my ability to do nothing. In the end my ability to do nothing got defeated by my wandering eye, even in a place as quiet as the museum. Okay, I need to stop short of going on a crazy ramble here and get to it!


We are off to the farm at the Mouth of Wilson in Virginia for this wonderfully long Christmas weekend. This will be a good trip since it will be my first time up in the mountains during winter. I secretly hope that there will be a little bit of snow up there but the weather gods seem to be planning otherwise. For this trip, I've baked a batch of gingersnaps. I love ginger and I love ginger snaps too much, in fact I think at this point my blog has several ginger based dessert recipes



I like ginger snaps dipped in either hot tea or coffee. They make me terribly happy. Biting into a gingersnap is always exciting, well at least for me, it starts with a bite and ends in a surprise burst of crystallized ginger in the cookie. No wonder this cookies is a favorite during the holidays in our home. At times I have been known to extend my gingersnap obsession to others by sending them a stack of gingersnaps to friends and family alike.


I hope every one of you out there has a great start to the holidays, beyond the crazy rush to the store for those last minute errands and gifts. I know, I have been there myself and will probably be there again a few days after Christmas.


gingersnaps

ingredients

2 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
11/2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 large egg
1/2 cup crystallized ginger
1/2 cup white sugar (for rolling the cookie dough balls)

1. In a large bowl sift the flour, the ground spices, the baking soda and salt.  
2. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg, vanilla and the molasses to the creamed mixture. 
3. Add half of the dry ingredients first to the wet mixture. Once mixed in add the remainder of the dry ingredients. 
4. Fold in the crystallized ginger to the dough. Transfer the cookie dough to a sheet of parchment paper. Bring the dough together to form a large ball with the help of the parchment paper (the dough is sticky and using the parchment paper to get the dough together in a ball becomes easy). Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, prior to baking. 
5. Preheat your oven to 375F. Make 1 inch balls with the palms of your hand and then toss them in the white sugar to gently coat each side of the ball. Bake the gingersnaps at least 2 inches apart on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes or till golden brown. Let them cool on the sheet and then transfer to a wire rack for further cooling. Store in an airtight container.



Happy Holidays Everyone!

cinnamon raspberry buttermilk shake


Random things are reminding me of the holidays, some more so than others. Beyond the decorated stores, the T.V. commercials and the fact that the advent of December is only a few days away, random things  around D.C. remind me that the holidays are here. Do you feel the same way ?



I find December to be the best part of the beginning of winter, after that it all appears depressing until Spring. Needless to say, Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year. If Christmas could be legally extended for a lengthy period of time, I would be thrilled. However, I doubt this dream will be fulfilled in this lifetime. Though, this does make me appreciate and long for the holidays a little more eagerly. I realize that this makes me sound a little crazy.


With finals coming up and the school semester ending, I have another reason to look forward to December. The good news is that my thesis is coming together and I have a complete data set with some good preliminary results. A month of no number crunching and regression analysis looks like a nice break right now.


I don't know if a shake is the appropriate recipe for the holidays but I am throwing tradition out of the window with this recipe. In my mind it has all the essential components except for the cold buttermilk and ice cream components but the red raspberries and cinnamon with a shot of the elderberry liquor,St.Germain bring this drink together.


I used less ice cream because I did not want the ice cream to dominate and overpower the taste of this shake but feel free to add some if you wish. Serve this ice-cold of course and if you keep it standing for too long as with all milk based drinks especially those that contain acidic components like buttermilk or yogurt, it can separate, so you might need to shake it a little before you drink it.


cinnamon raspberry buttermilk shake


ingredients


3 cups low fat buttermilk (1%)
1/4 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 cup low fat vanilla ice cream
5 tablespoon St. Germain
4 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
Extra raspberries and cinnamon sticks for garnishing


Blend all the ingredients together in a mixer till smooth. Pour into chilled glasses. Serve immediately, garnished with fresh whole raspberries and a stick of cinnamon in each glass.