Friday, December 7, 2012

FROSTED: Skip The Heat...With These Hot Chocolate Treats


This past weekend I was driving around Knoxville, TN on my way to do some Christmas shopping.  I was enjoying the sound of Christmas Carols coming through my car speakers while feeling the nice warm breeze blowing in the open windows of my Ford Edge. It hardly felt like December!!

This unseasonably warm weather is being felt in many areas of the world, and while it is nice to be able to not have to scrape snow off your car every morning, wear mittens and hats when going outside, and dread that gas bill when it comes in the mail, there are also downfalls of not having cold weather. Without the chilly temperatures, you and your children will not be able to build those Frosty white snowmen, go sled riding at your local park, or warm up with a sweet cup of hot chocolate.

So this week, I am sharing with you some delicious goodies that still have that memorable hot cocoa taste, yet can be enjoyed during this warm weather...without breaking a sweat.

Hot Chocolate Toasted Pecans
(Courtesy of Simply Scratch)


Ingredients:
  • 16 ounces of pecans
  • 1 egg white
  • 2/3 cup of white sugar
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch of ground allspice

 Directions:

1.  Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with a silpat mat, or you could also grease with butter or coconut oil.

2.  Mix the sugar, cocoa powder and all the spices in a medium bowl and set aside. Whisk the egg white until it is thick and frothy {small peaks} and add in the pecans. Stir to coat. Next, add the cocoa mixture and combine until the nuts are evenly coated.

3.  Scoop the nuts with a slotted spoon onto the prepared pan and place in your preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove, toss and place back in the oven for twenty more minutes. After the first 40 minutes, check the pecans to see if the cocoa/sugar doesn't crumble off of the nuts. If it does, place it back in the oven for 20 more minutes, otherwise let cool slightly and serve!


Hot Chocolate and Toasted Marshmallow Pudding
(Via Mis-Cakes Oven Adventures)


Ingredients:
  •  1 1/2 cups of half and half
  • 1 cup of milk (either 1% or 2%)
  • 1/4 cup of cornstarch
  • 5 individual packages of hot chocolate mix
  • 1 ounce of dark chocolate, chopped
  • 10 large/regular sized marshmallows, cut in half

 Directions:

1.  In a medium sauce pan whisk together half and half, milk, chopped chocolate and hot chocolate mix. While whisking constantly add in your cornstarch. Turn on heat to medium and whisk often until it begins to thicken.

2.  Once it starts to thicken do not stop whisking, making sure to get into the corners, whisk until it becomes thick enough that you can see the whisk marks in pudding and will coat the back of a spoon.

3.  If you are serving warm, place in your serving container of choice. If you are serving cold place in a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the pudding and refrigerate for 4 hours or longer.

4.  To toast marshmallows turn on broiler. Place over rack in the middle position in your oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray parchment paper with non stick spray. Place marshmallows in a single layer. Place in the oven and watch carefully until browned. It will only take a minute or two. Gently remove marshmallows and place on top of pudding. Note: You can also serve pudding in ramekins and toast marshmallows directly on top.


Hot Chocolate Popcorn
(Recipe from Cookies and Cups)


Ingredients:
(Makes approximately 18 cups)
  • 1/2 cup of un-popped popcorn (about 16 cups popped)
  • 14 ounce of white candy melting disks or vanilla almond bark
  • 2 cups of mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup of Hot Chocolate (powder) mix
  • 4 ounce of milk chocolate
  • wax paper
Directions:

1.  Make your popcorn using an air popper. (If you don’t have an air-popper and use microwave popcorn, use plain or lightly buttered/salted.)

2.   In a large bowl combine your popcorn and marshmallows. Melt you white candy melts according to package directions and drizzle on top of popcorn/marshmallow mix. Stir to coat evenly.

3.  Spread your popcorn on a wax paper lined counter. Immediately sprinkle your hot chocolate mix on top of wet popcorn. Melt your milk chocolate in the double boiler or microwave and drizzle on top of popcorn. Let chocolate set. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
 

Hot Chocolate Cookies
(Recipe by Pip and Ebby)


Ingredients:
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 7 bars of semi-sweet chocolate (12 ounces chopped, 7.5 ounces cut, and 5 ounces grated)
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/4 cups of light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract 
  • 1 bag of marshmallows

Directions:

1.  In a medium saucepan melt together butter and chopped semi-sweet chocolate.  Stir frequently over medium heat until smooth. Let cool for 15 minutes.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3.  Using an electric mixer, beat together the light brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed until smooth for two minutes. Mix in the cooled chocolate mixer just until blended. Add the flour mixture in two batches, mixing on low speed until just combined. Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour.

4.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a tablespoon, scoop the dough and roll between your palms to form 1-inch balls. Arrange about 16 balls two inches apart on each cookie sheet, flattening slightly. Bake until the tops of the cookies crack, about 12 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, cut 7.5 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate bars into 1 inch squares. Snip 8 marshmallows in half crosswise and stick 1 square of chocolate on each of the cut sides.

6.  Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and gently press a marshmallow half, chocolate side down, into each cookie. Bake until the marshmallows are just softened, about four minutes. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for five minutes.

7.  Grate 5 ounces of semi sweet chocolate over the hot cookies. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies to the racks and let cool. Repeat the process with the remaining dough, marshmallows, and chocolate. Bake each batch on a clean sheet of parchment paper.



Bailey's Hot Chocolate Tiramisu
(Courtesy of A Bitter Sweet Wife)


Ingredients:
(Makes around 4 servings)
  • 1/4 cup of hot water 
  • 1/4 cup hot chocolate powder
  • 1/4 cup of Bailey's Original
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 Tablespoon of white sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 cups of mascarpone
  • 18 lady fingers 
  • Whipped Cream
  • Mini marshmallows (optional)
  • Wafer Straws (optional) 

Directions:

1.  Start by adding 2 teaspoons of hot chocolate mix to hot water, and stir till dissolved. Then add in the Baileys.

2. In a double boiler, whisk (by hand) very quickly and continuously 2 egg yolks and sugar till combined and the mixture lightens and becomes the texture of runny pudding. (Try not to over cook the eggs. If you do they will look more like scrambled eggs.)  Remove from heat and set aside.

3. In a separate bowl whisk (with your hand held electric beaters or electric whisk) 2 egg whites till they form stiff peaks. Once done, set aside.

4. Fold the mascarpone into the egg yolk mixture. When it is well combined and creamy, fold it into the egg white mixture.

5. Using two mugs, place 3 ladyfingers at the bottom of the cup. Generously brush with the hot cocoa Bailey’s liquid. Next spoon the mascarpone mixture on top of the ladyfingers. Then sprinkle with hot chocolate powder. Repeat process two times. On the last round end with the ladyfingers and place on top of them whipped cream. Top with mini marshmallows, a dusting of hot chocolate mix, and a wafer straw. 

Hot Chocolate Donuts With Marshmallow Frosting and Chocolate Glaze


Donut Ingredients:
(Makes 28 donuts)
  • 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of hot chocolate mix
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup of buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • Donut pan or Donut maker
Donut Coating:
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons of milk or water
 Marshmallow Frosting:
  •  1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of margarine or butter, softened
  • 7 ounces (1 jar) of marshmallow creme
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces (1 package) powdered sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of milk, divided
 Chocolate Glaze Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup of cream
  • 2 Tablespoons of corn syrup
  • 4 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped 
Topping Ingredients:
  • Mini marshmallows or marshmallow bits

 Donut Directions:

1.  Stir dry ingredients together in mixing bowl. Add egg, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Using a mixer on medium speed, blend until smooth.

2.  Using a donut pan or maker, fill each cooking reservoir with about 2 tablespoons of batter. Bake about 4 to 5 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into donut comes out clean.

Donut Coating Directions:

1.  Mix powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk or water by hand or with a mixer. Mixture should be a runny consistency.

2.  While donuts are still warm, drop donuts into mixture and flip them over with a fork. Transfer to a wire rack covered wax paper or foil and let them sit for a few hours.


Marshmallow Frosting Directions:

1.  In a small bowl beat the margarine, marshmallow creme, and vanilla on medium speed until well blended.  Gradually add sugar, beating after each addition until well blended.

2.  Blend in 1 Tablespoon of the milk. Add remaining 1 Tablespoon of milk (if necessary) for desired consistency in order to spread easily.

3.  Top each donut with a layer of frosting. Note: This can be very messy, so frost the donuts on a wire rack with something underneath it to catch the drips.

Chocolate Glaze Directions:

1.  In a small sauce pan ass the cream and let simmer. Then add in the corn syrup. Then remove from heat. Whisk in the chocolate until it is melted and you have a smooth and shiny chocolate glaze.

2.  Dip each donut quickly into the glaze and then add the mini marshmallows or bits.


Hot Chocolate Layer Cake With Homemade Marshmallows
(Recipe from The Gallery Gourmet)


Cake Ingredients:
(Makes around 16 servings)
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) of unsalted butter
  • 3 cups (13 1/2 ounces) of unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of canola oil
  • 4 1/2 ounces of semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of espresso powder
  • 3 cups of granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (2 1/4 ounces) of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 extra large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup of buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons of pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
Frosting Ingredients: 
  • 2 1/2 cups of heavy cream
  • 6 Tablespoons (3 ounces) of unsalted butter
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out
  • 6 ounces of semi sweet chocolate
  • 2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (6 ounces) of unsweetened cocoa powder (plus more for dusting)
  • 1/2 cup of Lyle's Golden Syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon of espresso powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
Topping Ingredients:


Cake Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350º F.  Line three 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and lightly spray with non-stick baking spray. In a 3-quart saucepan, combine the butter, oil, chopped chocolate, and water over medium heat until melted.  Whisk in the espresso powder.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and cocoa powder.  Pour the hot chocolate mixture into the sugar mixture and whisk until combined.  Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, then whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla, baking soda, and salt.  Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans.  

3.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes.  Cool on the rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto the racks, remove parchment and cool completely.  (Cakes can be made one day ahead wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature, or freeze for up to one month).

Frosting Directions:

1.  In a 4-quart saucepan over low heat, combine the cream, butter, vanilla bean, and seeds.  Stir until the butter is melted.  Remove the vanilla bean and whisk in the chopped chocolate.  Whisk in the sugar, cocoa powder, syrup, espresso powder, and salt; making sure the cocoa powder is dissolved. 

2.  Strain the frosting through a fine-mesh sieve set over a 9x13-inch pan.  Freeze until firm, about 2 hours, or refrigerate overnight. (Frosting can be refrigerated for up to three days)

Assembly Directions:

1.  Remove the frosting from the refrigerator or freezer and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes to soften. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  

2.  On a flat serving platter or cake stand (edges lined with strips of waxed or parchment paper to keep it clean while icing), place one cake layer. Using an off-set spatula, spread 1 1/2 cups of frosting evenly to the edges.  Repeat with another cake layer and another 1 1/2 cups frosting.  Top with the last cake layer. Spread a thin layer (or crumb coat) of frosting over the top and sides of the cake; refrigerate until the frosting is firm enough to seal in the crumbs, about 30 minutes.  Spread the remaining frosting in a smooth layer over the entire cake.  Carefully remove the paper strips to make a clean bottom edge.

3.  Mound the marshmallow on top of the cake and dust the top of the marshmallow with cocoa powder.

 
Who knew hot cocoa could taste so good, even without a cup? Can you imagine how delightful these chocolatey sweets would be on a buffet at a winter snowflake themed bridal shower,  as a compliment to the hot chocolate bar at your next holiday party, or as a unique dessert to serve to guests when they come back to your home after your city's Christmas parade?

So, even though the weather may be nice and sunny, your friends and family can still enjoy those yummy winter treats this December without the heat!  Open those screen doors, turn on your Christmas tree lights, and enjoy every savory bite of the holiday season! Have a wonderful weekend!


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