White Chocolate Peppermint Martini

Published December 26, 2014 by Ch'kara

White Chocolate Peppermint Martini

White Chocolate Peppermint Martini

Just in time for your New Year’s celebration, here is a great recipe for a White Chocolate Peppermint Martini.  Our daughter Courtney has been working a part-time catering job over the holidays, and the bartender at a recent event gave her this recipe.  It sounded good – so we had to try it!

This is a very smooth and delicious white chocolate martini made with vanilla vodka and just a hint of peppermint (if you are a big peppermint fan, you can adjust the proportions to equal parts vanilla vodka and peppermint schnapps).  We made it more festive by rimming the glass with some red sugar sprinkles and by drizzling the inside of the glass with chocolate syrup – but that is completely optional.   We also added a mini candy cane, perched on the glass rim for an additional festive touch.

White Chocolate Peppermint Martini

We hope you enjoy this as much as we did and please drink responsibly.

White Chocolate Peppermint Martini

Prep Time: 5 minutes       Total Time: 5 minutes             Yield: 1 martini

Ingredients

  • Crushed ice
  • 4 parts Godiva white chocolate liquor (4 ounces)
  • 2 ½ parts vanilla vodka (2 ½ ounces)
  • 1 ½ parts peppermint schnapps (1 ½ ounces)
  • Red sugar sprinkles for garnishing the glass rim (optional)
  • Chocolate syrup for garnishing the inside of the glass (optional)
  • Small peppermint stick for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker half-way full with crushed ice.
  2. Pour in all of the liquor ingredients and shake until well mixed.
  3. Spread red sugar sprinkles evenly onto a large plate.
  4. Wet the rim of a martini glass with water, then tip the martini glass rim into the sprinkles and spin the glass to coat the rim.
  5. Drizzle a small amount of chocolate syrup in a spiral design inside the glass.
  6. Pour contents of shaker into the martini glass.
  7. Place a small peppermint candy cane along the edge of the glass.

 

And now for something completely different…Chocolate Mousse Cake!

Published December 24, 2014 by Ch'kara

Meeka's Mind

I  apologize for not having a picture to show you but the birthday girl attacked the cake before I remembered to grab the camera  😦

Anyway, just imagine a brown cake with lots of shaved chocolate on top and you’ll get the idea. What you won’t get is how sinfully, decadently, waist-expandingly rich this cake is. Oh and it tastes divine too 😀 Have I titillated your taste buds yet? If I have then read the following recipe, make a shopping list and get cracking. But before you thank me be warned – THIS CAKE SHOULD ONLY BE EATEN ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR! I take no responsibility for any strokes, cardiac arrests, type II diabetes or other assorted woes that may result from cake abuse.

Ok, to work! The cake part. This was my Mum’s recipe and one of the first things she ever taught me to make because…

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Happy (fill in your holiday here) and making peppermint bark

Published December 24, 2014 by Ch'kara

A New England Cook in Canada

Yup the big day is almost here. Thursday most of us will be opening gifts, eating yummy food and drinking something tasty. There are so many wonderful foods that we only make at this time of year. From eggnog to special cookies to pies and treats.

Now this treat is really simple. It has two ingredients and is best made with the children around.

Peppermint bark is made with candy canes and white chocolate. That is it. Really.

First thing to do is pick up some candy canes. For the purpose of this treat really picking up the broken ones is the best. Take those broken candy canes and place them between two towels. Then get out your hammer, be it a kitchen meat hammer or a regular work one and smash those candy canes to bits. This is the part to get the kids doing. When I had my…

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Strawberry Pomegranate Sangria

Published December 22, 2014 by Ch'kara

Strawberry Pomegranate Sangria

A cheery and bright red wine sangria filled with strawberry and pomegranate. 

Strawberry Pomegranate Sangria Recipe-- this is so easy to throw together and it's dangerously good. Tastes like sparkling pomegranate strawberry juice!

CHEERS! We’re here. The Friday before Christmas. I have no clue where this past month went. Oh, that’s right. I spent most of it holed up in my kitchen baking the world cookies and toffee and cupcakes. When I finally took a break from butter and sugar and frosting, I made a pitcher of this sangria for date night. Date nights are still going strong! It feels good to forget about technology one night a week. Says a full-time blogger who even has an IG account for her dog. Typical.

We drank an embarrassing amount of this ourselves as we put up our tree. Merry Christmas indeed!

Strawberry Pomegranate Sangria Recipe-- this is so easy to throw together and it's dangerously good. Tastes like sparkling pomegranate strawberry juice!

If you’re looking to entertain these last couple weeks of the year and not just drink at home by yourself – that’s ok too – then you have to try this sweet, yet tart sangria. It’s perfectly fruity and festive and uses two of my favorite fruits.

The sangria was much better than I expected it to be. Sure, I knew it would be tasty because I love all things wine (hello sign that I need), but the sweet strawberries paired with pomegranate juice and my favorite pinot noir? Magical. It tastes like sparkling pomegranate juice with strawberry.

Here’s the pinot noir I use. And no, this brand has no idea I exist. But if they’re reading… hi… I love your wine. I find it everywhere, it’s inexpensive, smooth, and tasty on its own.

Wine for Strawberry Pomegranate Sangria

You don’t have to use pinot noir. If you’re more of a Cabernet drinker or if a Spanish red like Tempranillo is your sangria wine of choice – you may absolutely use one of those instead. If white wine is your favorite, that’s a great option too. However, keep in mind that a sweeter white wine, such as Reisling, may make the sangria a little too sweet. I use red because I find it pairs well with pomegranate. But play around with what you like; this sangria recipe is very forgiving.

Not Something I love about sangria is that it feels fancy, but it’s one of the easiest big-batch cocktails you can throw together. And sangria always impresses! Only 5 ingredients total: strawberries, pomegranate arils (the juicy seeds), pom juice, wine, and club soda. The club soda is key! Kevin and I found that the sangria was a little… dull… without it. The POP of club soda really brightens the whole glass up. I would avoid sweetened fizzy drinks like tonic or sprite; the sangria may be a little too sweet with it. Make sure you add the club soda right before serving because it will lose its fizz otherwise.

You can use any variety of pomegranate juice you can find. The most easily available pom juice is POM Wonderful pomegranate juice. They don’t know I exist either. I see this stuff everywhere and it’s really, really good. I know that Ocean Spray makes a cranberry pomegranate juice which would be just as tasty too.

Strawberry Pomegranate Sangria Recipe-- this is so easy to throw together and it's dangerously good. Tastes like sparkling pomegranate strawberry juice!

My #1 sangria tip: Sangria gets better and better as it sits, so make it ahead of time. That’s the beauty of this cocktail! The more time the strawberries and teeny tiny arils have to infuse their juices, the better. I usually make sangria in the morning before I need it in the evening. You can make it the night before, too. If pouring wine at 6am isn’t your ideal way to start the day. (Uh, why not???)

My favorite part about this sangria is eating the wine infused strawberries when you’re all done. Strawberry pomegranate sangria is the merry little drink that keeps on giving.

Strawberry Pomegranate Sangria Recipe-- this is so easy to throw together and it's dangerously good. Tastes like sparkling pomegranate strawberry juice!

After a long week, I can’t think of anything better. Holidays, strawberries, wine.

Strawberry Pomegranate Sangria

A cheery and bright red wine sangria filled with strawberry and pomegranate.

Yield: Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb strawberries, sliced plus more for garnish
  • arils (the seeds) from 1 pomegranate
  • 2 (750ml) bottles red wine*
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice*
  • club soda, to taste

Directions:

Place the sliced strawberries and arils in a large pitcher. Add wine and pomegranate juice. Allow to sit in the refrigerator for 6 – 24 hours. Taste; if you’d like it to be sweeter, add 1-2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, honey, or agave.

Pour the sangria with fruit into glasses and add a splash of club soda to each glass (this unsweetened fizz is excellent with the sangria!). Garnish with a strawberry, if desired. Feel free to add ice to your glasses of sangria. Do not add ice directly to the pitcher – this waters the sangria down. Which, clearly, we don’t want! Cheers.

*Use your favorite red wine. I like to use Pinot Noir or a Spanish red wine like Tempranillo. I prefer red wine in this sangria. However, if white wine is your favorite, that’s a great option too. Keep in mind that a sweeter white wine, such as Reisling, may make the sangria a little too sweet. 

*The most easily available pom juice is POM Wonderful pomegranate juice; I see it all the time in grocery stores. I know that Ocean Spray makes a cranberry pomegranate juice which would be just as tasty.

*Traditional sangria often includes brandy, but I did not care for its addition in this sangria. If you’d like to add some, go ahead.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

 

Peppermint Hot Chocolate from Cooking with a Wallflower

Published December 17, 2014 by Ch'kara

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Rich hot chocolate with the refreshing taste of peppermint in every sip. Topped with whipped cream and crushed candy cane, this peppermint hot chocolate is perfect for the cold winter holiday.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate | Cooking with a Wallflower

Peppermint hot chocolate is the highlight of my winter. I wait patiently every year for the holiday season so that I can indulge in peppermint, well, everything. Peppermint hot chocolate, peppermint mocha, peppermint cupcakes, peppermint cookies, peppermint candy canes. I think you get my point.

Does anyone else feel the same way?

Peppermint Hot Chocolate | Cooking with a Wallflower

So obviously I have to share a peppermint something with you. So why not start with one of my favorites: peppermint hot chocolate with whipped cream and crushed peppermint candy cane.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate | Cooking with a Wallflower

I love hot chocolate. I mean, it’s chocolate as a beverage. What’s not to like?

But when you add the taste of peppermint into rich hot chocolate?

Can I have seconds please (maybe thirds and fourths too)?

This peppermint hot chocolate is rich, creamy, and absolutely addictive. I’ve had it three times already. And I’m ready for more.

With very little work required, you can make yourself a fresh mug to keep yourself warm and cozy. Then you can top it with as much whipped cream as your heart desires. And sprinkle with crushed candy canes for a Christmas-y look.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate | Cooking with a Wallflower

You know how they always make the whipped cream nice for you at Starbucks? Or any coffee shop?

Confession! I always order my drinks with whipped cream, but I never eat it or mix it in. I just let it sit on top because it makes my drinks look pretty.

Which was the idea behind the whipped cream on my hot chocolate. Except when I tried to , it went in every direction and not at all how I pictured it. Apparently, I have no skills in handling whipped cream from a can. Sadly.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate 5

In a small pot, add milk and half and half or heavy whipping cream. It depends on your preference. If you use heavy whipped cream, the hot chocolate will be creamier. Bring the milk to a simmer.

In a small bowl, add unsweetened cacao and sugar. Add a few spoonfuls of warm milk to the bowl and mix until you create a chocolate paste.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate | Cooking with a Wallflower

Use a spatula to scoop the chocolate paste into the warm milk. Next, add semi sweet chocolate chips and peppermint bits. I used Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips. Whisk the ingredients until all the chocolate has melted.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate | Cooking with a Wallflower

Pour the hot chocolate into a mug. Top with whipped cream and crushed peppermint candy cane. I placed a candy cane into a bag and smashed it with a hammer. Then I sprinkled it over the whipped cream.

Enjoy!

Peppermint Hot Chocolate | Cooking with a Wallflower

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

 

Prep time  3 mins      Cook time  5 mins        Total time       8 mins
Rich hot chocolate with the refreshing taste of peppermint in every sip. Topped with whipped cream and crushed candy cane, this peppermint hot chocolate is perfect for the cold winter holiday.
Author: Andrea Giang
Recipe type: Beverage     Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • ½ cup 2% milk
  • ½ cup half and half or heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon peppermint chips
  • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Crushed candy cane (optional)
Directions:
  1. In a small pot, add milk and half and half or heavy whipping cream. Allow them to simmer over low heat.
  2. While the milk is heating, add unsweetened cocoa powder and granulated sugar into a small bowl. Add a few spoonful of warm milk into the bowl and mix until it become a chocolate paste.
  3. Use a spatula to scrape the chocolate paste into the pot of milk. Add the semi-sweet chocolate chips and the peppermint baking chips into the pot. Stir to mix all the ingredients until the chocolate has completely melted.
  4. Pour the hot chocolate into a mug. Top with whipped cream and crushed candy cane bits.
  5. Serve warm.

From the Herb Basket

Published December 15, 2014 by Ch'kara

Mystical Magical Herbs

basket of lemon balm

Fresh lemon balm leaves were once used to polish oak furniture. The lemon essence preserved the wood and kept it light in color.

In Medieval times, children were not allow sweet cakes [ gingerbread men today ] as it was thought that fresh ginger would produce bad dreams.

Mace is the outer covering for nutmeg that is produced on the nutmeg tree. The favored color is pale gold, and this bark will last for years if kept in glass containers.

Quick cure for bad breath: Chew on fresh parsley, or add 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley to a cup of boiling water. Drink while hot.

Add 2 tablespoons of the following herbs to your daily diet: garlic, rosemary, thyme and oregano. By adding these fresh herbs to cooking and salads, you cut your risk of sore throats and sinus problems by as much as 43%. The flavonoids in these herbs strengthen airways…

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Butternut Squash, Bacon, and Brussels Sprouts Hash

Published December 9, 2014 by Ch'kara

Butternut Squash, Bacon, and Brussels Sprouts Hash

by Andrea| Cooking with a Wallflower // December 5, 2014

Brussel Spouts Hash

Creamy butternut squash, crispy bacon bits, and sliced Brussels sprouts together in one delicious sweet and savory dish. This butternut squash, bacon, and Brussels sprouts hash is perfect for weekend brunch.

Sometimes it’s just a happy accident that certain ingredients end up together and work so well. This dish is one of those happy accidents.

I had leftover butternut squash from attempting a new recipe, some Brussels sprouts, and a brand new package of bacon. Individually, I liked each ingredient so I thought it might work together as one dish. Keyword: might. Because I wasn’t sure that all the different flavors would complement each other. I’m soo glad I tried it.

I love the sweet and savory components of this dish. Butternut squash is naturally creamy and sweet, but have you had it with maple syrup? It’s seriously amazing with added flavor. Add in some Brussels sprouts for a slightly bitter taste and crisp texture. Mix in crispy bacon and you have your savory component.

For those of you who hate Brussels sprouts, you can go ahead and leave the Brussels sprouts out. Butternut squash plus bacon is a great combination too. =)

First, cook your favorite brand of bacon in a small skillet. I try to look for brands that have less fat. Most of the time, I use turkey bacon, but the disadvantage of that is it’s less crispy and it takes a bit longer to cook.

Once the bacon strips are crispy, remove them from the skillet and allow them to drain on a paper towel on a plate.

Pour out the bacon grease from the skillet. The surface of the skillet will be lightly greased, and you can use that to cook with if you like for the smoky bacon flavor. If you prefer not to, you can clean the skillet and add about a tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium to high heat.

Add the cubed butternut squash into the skillet, and cook them for about 5-7 minutes until the butternut squash has softened. The outside of the butternut squash will be softer than the inside, and that’s okay because you’ll continue to cook it.

Once the butternut squash has started to soften, add the Brussels sprouts to the skillet. Cook the Brussels sprouts with the butternut squash for 5 minutes or so until the Brussels sprouts have softened.

Crumble up the bacon strips into small pieces. Reserve about a tablespoon of the bacon for topping. Add the rest of them to the butternut squash and Brussels sprouts. The crispy bacon will add both flavor and texture.

Drizzle about 1 ½ – 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, and mix with a spatula to evenly incorporate the maple syrup.

Place the butternut squash, bacon, and Brussels sprouts hash onto a plate, and top with the rest of the bacon.

Serve the butternut squash, bacon, and Brussels sprouts hash warm.

Enjoy!

Butternut Squash, Bacon, and Brussels Sprouts Hash

 Brussel Spouts Hash1

Prep time       15 mins              Cook time     15 mins      Total time     30 mins

Creamy butternut squash, crispy bacon bits, and sliced Brussels sprouts together in one delicious sweet and savory dish. This butternut squash, bacon, and Brussels sprouts hash is perfect for weekend brunch.

Author: Andrea Giang

Serves: 2-3 servings

Ingredients

  • 5 strips of bacon
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (optional)
  • 5 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions:

  1. In a small skillet, cook the bacon until they become crispy. Transfer the bacon onto a napkin lined plate and allow them to drain.
  2. Pour out the bacon grease from the skillet. The skillet will be lightly greased. This will give the dish a smoky bacon taste. However, you can also clean the skillet and add vegetable oil instead.
  3. Add butternut squash to the skillet over medium to high heat. Allow the butternut squash to cook for about 5-7 minutes until it has softened. The outside will be softer than the inside.
  4. Once the butternut squash has softened, add the Brussels sprouts. Cook the Brussels sprouts and butternut squash for another 5-7 minutes. The Brussels sprouts will become tender.
  5. Break the crispy bacon into small pieces. Reserve about two tablespoons, and add the rest to the skillet.
  6. Drizzle the maple syrup into the skillet and use a spatula to evenly incorporate the ingredients.
  7. Transfer the butternut squash, bacon, and Brussels sprouts hash to plates. Top with the reserved bacon.
  8. Serve the hash warm.

 

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