Simply Celebrate Life!
Winter warmers that can brighten up any holiday party.
Warming up during the winter season with a cozy blanket and a yummy cup of hot chocolate has become a #1 on our list of things to do this winter, in fact it has become an everyday affair! So as soon as the temperature drops, the “Cocomotion” is back on the kitchen counter, the chocolate chips are stocked in the pantry, and hopefully the whip cream lasts in between our cocoa breaks, most often not! With so many great recipes to choose from, we’ve tried and tested a few traditional winter drinks and succeeded in finding some tasty keepers! So whether you just want to whip up a savory cup for yourself or stir up a pot for your next party, try some of our favorite traditional winter warmers that are sure to heat up any winter occasion.
There are so many recipes to choose from when deciding to make hot chocolate from scratch. However we found a winning recipe that takes a little more time and effort but the results are rewarding. Michael Turback author of the book “Hot Chocolate” has put together some great recipes from master chocolatiers.
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
Pinch of salt
Dash of pure vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine milk, cream, brown sugar, salt and vanilla. Heat until it measures about 175 degrees on a candy thermometer. Put the chocolate into a small bowl. When the milk has reached the proper temperature, carefully pour 1/4 cup of the hot milk into the chocolate. Stir constantly using small circular moves in the center (as you would for a mayonnaise), until it forms a shiny paste. Pour the paste back into the remaining hot milk mixture and stir until thoroughly blended. Let it cool uncovered. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean saucepan and gently reheat over low heat. Serve immediately.
Of course when making hot chocolate it is intended to enjoy immediately, but according to Chef Gerlad Coleman, one should never drink hot chocolate immediately, but rather let it rest uncovered so it can thicken and the flavors concentrate. He suggests preparing it the night before, making a double batch if one must have a cup immediately, and save the other for breakfast to enjoy even more!
If you can avoid the temptation, it’s a recipe worth trying!
Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix
Having a pre-made cocoa mix is very convenient especially during the hectic holiday season. This pre-made mix can quickly satisfy on a cold winter day. A friend of mine mentioned she used jello pudding mix in her recipe and it sounded so good I had to try it. I added a few ingredients and the result was a cup of “creamy” hot cocoa. This was a definite keeper!
4 cups nonfat dry milk
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup powdered coffee creamer (try using flavored dry creamers like Hazelnut or Irish Cream!)
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 5.6 oz. package chocolate pudding mix (secret ingredient#1)
4 teaspoons cornstarch (secret ingredient #2)
1 cup mini marshmallows (optional) This does add to the creamy flavor.
Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container. Fill your mug half full with cocoa mix and fill the rest with hot water.
Try using Nestle’s Coffee-mate Creamers like Caramel Apple or Italian Sweet Cream to add flavor. There are so many to choose from.
This can also be a great gift! Fill a mason jar with mix and attach a wooden spoon.
Chocolate and Churros
I hear about this delicious treat all the time from others but I have yet to have it made for me by Heidi!!! Maybe this winter she’ll take the time to make this special treat just for me.
A trip to Spain and an unforgettable experience has made this recipe an all time favorite in their recipe book! Dipping churros, spirals of deep fried dough coated in sugar and cinnamon, into this rich, thick creamy chocolate is a decadent flavor that will have you hooked! Once again author Michael Turback of the book “Hot Chocolate” has an authentic recipe that is worth this sweet experience.
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a saucepan combine the milk and cream and heat over medium-low heat until very hot but not boiling. Gradually add the chocolate to the hot liquid stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. In a small cup dissolve the cornstarch with a few tablespoons of water. Add the dissolved cornstarch to the chocolate mixture and stir constantly until it is almost as thick as a pudding. Serve immediately into warm cups with warm Cinnamon Dusted Churros. This only makes about 2 servings, so I almost always at least double, usually triple the recipe for my family.
Cinnamon Dusted Churros
2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
Canola oil or other neutral oil for deep-frying
In a saucepan over high heat bring the water and salt to a boil and hold at a boil for 4 minutes. Gradually add the flour, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon until a ball form. Once the flour is fully incorporated, turn it out onto a cutting board. Allow to cool slightly, then knead by hand for 3 – 4 minutes. Put the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8 inch star tip. In a small bowl, stir together cinnamon and sugar.
Pour the oil into a skillet to a depth of at least 2 inches and heat until it measures 400 degrees F on a deep frying thermometer. Pipe the dough directly into the oil, using a knife to cut the dough into 4-inch lengths. Fry the Churros 3 or 4 at a time, turning so that they cook evenly, until they are golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oil, drain on paper towels for 30 seconds, toss in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, and serve warm with the Hot Chocolate recipe for dunking. Again, you can easily double the recipe if you are serving more than two people.
Makes 8 – 10 Churros.
Hot Caramel Apple Cider
This Caramel Apple Cider recipe is one we’ve made very simple. Most of the ingredients may even be in your pantry right now! These basic ingredients make this recipe quick, tasty, and oh, so yummy!
1 1/2 cups Apple Cider (like Musselman’s)
4-5 caramel squares (caramel topping can be used as well, about 2 tbls. or more to your taste)
1 tsp vanilla
Whip cream for topping
Heat apple cider, caramel and vanilla until melted, stirring constantly. Top with whip cream and drizzle with caramel topping. This makes one serving.