Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chocolate Bark

Here's some pictures of a Christmas treat I gave out as food gifts. It's homemade french chocolate bark and who doesn't love the mix of salty, sweet and tart!?!?  It has cashews, cranberries and apricots.  I received some last year from my aunt and thought it would be nice to pass it on to others this year because it was so, so good!

There are a ton of recipes online for it, and many variations, and it's super easy.  I used a recipe from Ina Garten.

The first picture is the slab of bark as I cut it up.




The next is the packaged treat with a label I bought online from a vendor from Etsy - I love that website!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Minty Marshmallows

So far this December there hasn't been any snow upstate, but temp's are dropping and it's the perfect time for hot chocolate with marshmallows!

At the grocery store I saw these giant-sized marshmallows. They were almost the size of baseballs and I thought they'd be a great addition to my drink. These dipped marshmallows are a fun way to make a plain old cup of Swiss Miss look fancy and festive. The extra chocolate on the marshmallows adds more chocolaty flavor and when the candy canes melt it makes it minty.

These are ‘top-heavy’ so the dipped part will bob down when you put it in the cup, but they are still pretty to look at!

You will need:

1 ½ cups of bittersweet chocolate chips
1 ½ cups of semisweet chocolate chips
24 giant roaster marshmallows (or a bag of regular size)
12 candy canes, crushed

Directions:

In a double boiler or in a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate until smooth. Dip each of the marshmallows about a half-inch into the chocolate and let the excess drip off. Sprinkle with the crushed candy canes and set aside on a baking sheet or plate lined with waxed paper. Let cool for a few hours until the chocolate is hardened. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.

***Chocolate melting tips: if you are using a double-boiler, do not let any water or steam get into the chocolate. This will cause the chocolate the to seize, which means clump up. It doesn't look pretty! If you are melting the chocolate in the microwave, set the time for 30 second increments, stirring after each cycle.












Thursday, December 1, 2011

Egg Noggin'

Well, I've come out of my Thanksgiving turkey coma and it's full stream ahead with Christmas! I can't believe it is already December!

We started the Christmas decorating early this year and while decorating I whipped us up some homemade egg nog. I grew up enjoying this holiday drink at Christmas and can't bear to drink the store bought stuff. This recipe is light and creamy, but not too sweet or heavy. Since this recipe does use raw eggs, I feel I need to put in a disclaimer here: use fresh, clean eggs; don't drink this if you're pregnant or have a compromised immune system. In all the years I have drank this, I've never gotten sick...maybe the booze in it helped kill any bacteria! I made a half-batch since it was just us two and added about 3 ounces (shots) of Makers Mark and that was just the right amount.

Homemade Egg Nog

6 eggs, separated
Sugar, total of 3/4 cup
1 pint light cream
1 pint whole milk
Nutmeg
3 to 6 ounces Bourbon, like Makers Mark (optional)


In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until they are foamy and form peaks. Once they are whipped enough, add 1/2 cup sugar and mix well. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks and add 1/4 cup sugar.***Beat the egg whites first. Mixing egg yolks into the whites will not allow them to get whipped***

Add the beaten egg yolks into the larger bowl with the egg whites. Then pour in the milk and the cream and gently mix everything together. Add the whisky, if using, and mix well.   Pour into mugs and sprinkle with some nutmeg and serve.