When Amy Lents of Amy’s Cooking Adventures first asked if I wanted to join in her virtual Holiday Party, I leaped at the chance. I love parties of any kind, but these online versions are just a kick in the pants! It is an opportunity for all of us to meet creative people and discover wonderful blogs that open whole new worlds to us. You never know what’s going to happen and that is part of the fun!
Today we have recipes and crafts from ten different people from all different walks of life. And trust me, there is something for everyone. From savory appetizers and fun, creative holiday craft projects to some downright mouthwatering recipes that I am dying to try, you are going to love this collection of our holiday favorites. Before we get to the rest of the collection, I get to share one of my all time favorites with you!
I knew right away what I wanted included in this collection. This recipe is so good, I couldn’t wait to share it with you again! A few years ago I was lucky enough to go to a cooking class taught by the amazing Emily Luchetti, Executive Pastry Chef of Farallon and Waterbar restaurants in San Francisco. Not only is she one of the most talented pastry chefs in the country but she is an absolutely delightful person. When you see her in action, she makes everything seem so easy. I kept saying, “I can do that” throughout the whole class.
Everything was delicious, but her opening recipe was the most incredible hot chocolate I have ever had. Combining three different types of chocolate with just the right amount of sugar, it had every one of us swooning with delight. Have you seen the movie “The Santa Clause”? There is a scene in it where the elf Judy is telling Santa about her hundred-year-old recipe for hot cocoa … “not too hot, not too sweet, just right.” That is how I feel about Emily’s hot chocolate!
This is not your ordinary hot cocoa. It is more like a pourable pudding or slightly thinned ganache. It has an incredible chocolate flavor from the blending of chocolates and cocoa and an unbelievable creaminess that comes from the heavy cream and white chocolate. The bitter cocoa takes the edge off the sweetness making this something you will dream about for years to come. As Emily says, this isn’t for lightweights who prefer a mild-flavored hot chocolate!
Today I am sharing it with you plus a few tweaks of my own. I know, you’re saying, is there anything she doesn’t mess with? The short answer is no – I tend to put my spin on just about everything I make. I can’t help it, it must be the creative gene in me, LOL! In this case, I am trying to recapture the fun of earlier times when I was single – the winter days we spent skiing at Lake Tahoe and the nights gathered around the fire sipping hot chocolate with Peppermint Schnapps! For an adult version, you can add the alcohol to the cocoa and the only things you’ll be missing are the aching muscles and sunburned face!
The original recipe is in Emily’s cookbook, A Passion For Desserts. Running the gamut from simple, traditional desserts to high-end, knock your socks off presentations, this book will make you a better baker and garner you rounds of applause from family and friends. Just like in her classes, she has the ability to explain things so that you have the confidence to try challenging recipes. In addition to her cookbooks, you can also follow her blog. It would make the perfect holiday gift for the food lovers, cooks, and bakers in your life!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
You can add a splash of liqueurs to coffee, hot chocolate, or other drinks. I like to keep a small assortment on hand. Served over ice, they can be refreshing cocktails or you can use them in mixed drinks. When added sparingly to desserts, there is a nuanced flavor that people can’t quite put their finger on, but love!
If you are only going to occasionally use a liqueur, consider buying the mini bottles. They do cost more per ounce, but can save you a lot of money if you want to try several flavors. You won’t have to buy full-size bottles to use just a little bit.
If you use pure unsweetened cocoa and not a hot chocolate mix, his recipe is naturally gluten-free, no adjustment necessary!!
Minty Triple Chocolate Hot Cocoa
Modified recipe from Emily Luchetti
Yield: about 6 (1-cup) servings
1-1/3 cups heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 cups whole milk
11 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
5 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
Pinch of salt
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
3/4 oz (half a jigger) Peppermint Schnapps, optional
Lightly sweetened whipped cream
Crushed peppermint candies or coarse red sugar, for garnish
Candy Canes, for garnish
In a medium saucepan, heat the cream and milk over medium heat, stirring frequently, until hot and bubbling around the edges, but not boiling. This is called scalding the milk.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the white and milk chocolates, salt, and cocoa powder. Let sit for 15 minutes to melt the chocolate, and then whisk until smooth. Stir in the peppermint extract. If you really love the minty flavor, you can add as much as you want!
Pour into coffee cups and top with a dollop of whipped cream. Sprinkle with crushed peppermints or red sugar and hook a candy cane on the edge of the mug for stirring. Serve immediately.
You can make the chocolate mixture up to several days in advance. Refrigerate until ready to serve, and then reheat over indirect heat in a double boiler, or in the microwave. Stir until smooth, top with whipped cream and garnishes, and serve.
Check out these other amazing recipes sure to make your holidays bright and happy!