Sunday, December 13, 2009

Holiday drinks

Well, obviously I have taken a bit of a hiatus from blogging recently.  I've been taking a class online this semester which required me to post to a class blog three times a week.  So I've been all blogged out, which is a shame because this time of year is such a great time for baking! 

So let's see if I can catch up a bit and to start things off, I'm going to share a couple of my favorite drinks.  There's nothing better than enjoying a hot cup of something delicious when it's cold outside.  Hot Mulled Apple Cider makes the whole house smell amazing and couldn't be easier.  I've also recently discovered a new hot chocolate recipe that I'm really enjoying.  It's a bit untraditional, but I love it.  Having a drink like one of these just seems to make any evening or get-together that much more special.  The girls love it and have been very spoiled with excellent hot chocolate, no water and carnation instant packets for us! 

Hot Mulled Apple Cider
3 whole cloves
2 strips of orange peel
2 whole allspice
1 cinnamon stick
1 piece (1/2 in) peeled fresh ginger
12 Cups of apple cider
1/2 C apple jelly
1/4 t nutmeg

Place first five ingredients in a piece of cheesecloth and tie to close.  Add everything to a slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours.  Tastes wonderful and serves a crowd!

Nutella Hot Chocolate
1 1/3 C whole milk
3 T Nutella

Yup, that's it.  Heat the milk until almost boiling( I will also often use half and half) then add the Nutella and whisk until creamy.  To make it even more decadent add a handful of dark chocolate chips, such as Ghiradelli 60% cacao.  Let them sit for a few minutes in the hot milk, then whisk together. 

The Nutella adds a great hazelnut flavor that I'm really loving lately.  Just try not to think about the calories!
This recipes serves one or two.

Also, I know I've mentioned this before, but I absolutely love to use a blender or immersion blender when making hot chocolate.  It makes it so creamy and frothy, it seems like you got it at a cafe.  Just put the nutella or chocolate chips in the blender, then when the milk is fully heated, pour it over the chocolate and turn on the blender for a full minute.  Simple, but makes a huge difference!

Eating Nutella makes me think of when Jared and I were in Paris.  After going to the top of the Eiffel Tower, we found this great crepe stand and got a huge banana-nutella crepe.  It was amazing, and became a great memory.  A lot of my favorite memories are attached to food...