Winter Warmers

   Is the chill of winter starting to reach your bones? Try these winter treats to warm you and your family up.

 

   Mexican Spiced Chocolate:

  These are one of my favorites. It's basically your regular hot chocolate, but with a twist. Put one to two tablespoons of hot cocoa powder in a mug. Add a dash of your favorite creamer, half a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, and chili powder (not the mild kind). Pour your hot water in, mix well, and enjoy.

  If you prefer your chocolate richer, use melted semi sweet chocolate chips instead of cocoa powder and creamer. If you prefer it cold for a summer sweet, use chocolate syrup, and put it in the fridge for an hour or two.

Mulled Cider:

 I absolutely love this drink. It's  great for fall or winter to sit around a fire, and catch up with friends and family, sipping this warm and cozy refreshment.

Pour plain apple cider (you can find on the shelf in  juice isle) in a soup pot. Add allspice berries, or allspice, pumpkin spice, and orange peel sliced thinly. You can even squeeze a little bit of fresh orange juice into it for added flavor. Let simmer for 30 minutes, and serve. If you prefer it iced, let it cool down, and then put it in the fridge for a few hours.

Chocolate Gift Truffles:

Truffles are nice gifts for family and friends but they are also nice to eat when you need to answer to your sweet tooth. Just don't eat too many.

Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Pour 1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips into into a glass mixing bowl. Fill a sauce pan with 2" of water, and put the bowl of semi sweet chocolates in the pan. Just to make sure you understand what I'm saying, you don't put the chocolate in the pan with the water. You put the bowl in the pan with the chocolate in the bowl. Heat it up, constantly mixing it until it's melted. Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of melted butter, stir in 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes. Stir it every so often until it's thick enough to hold a shape. Shape mixture into small balls about the size of a quarter. You can even wrap the mixture around nuts if you please. Freeze for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat another cup of semi sweet or white chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon of shortening. Stir slowly until mixture is smooth and remove from heat. Dip the truffles one at a time into the mixture and them roll them in finely chopped nuts, or cocoa powder. Put them in little boxes, wrap them up, and send them off, or if you really can't help yourself, eat them right there.

Lemon Curd:

You can put lemon curd on cakes, toast, cookies, and more. If you don't know already, here are the directions to make it. 

Zest a few lemons (5) , how many depends on how much you plan to make it. (I usually make a lot just because my family loves it so much. ) Then juice the lemons. Cut two sticks of butter (again depends how much you plan to make) into little squares, or smallish pieces. Crack your eggs (about 8) into a heat proof bowl. Whisk the egg yolks until they are frothy, add about a cup of sugar more or less depending (it's quite intense, so if you don't like things to sour, you can add a bit more sugar). Whisk for another minute or so. Add the lemon zest and juice, and mix well. Then put the bowl in a sauce pan that has about 2" of water in it. Heat up, stirring constantly until it's thick , almost like a soft jam. This can take almost 20 minutes if not more. Add the butter, one piece at a time, stirring constantly but slowly. If you want, you can run the curd through a strainer to get the zest and other lumps out. Let cool and refrigerate. Enjoy! 

                                           -AquaBeach