10 Creative Cocoa’s

The weather outside is FRIGHTFUL, but the fire is so DELIGHTFUL…..and since we’ve no place to Go….why not have a cup of Hot Cocoa!!!!

This is truly the most WONDERFUL time of the year!!!! The leaves are falling, Christmas decorations are starting to go up, people are cuddled up around the warm glow of their fireplaces and you may have even just got your first SNOW!!! If that doesn’t lift your spirits I don’t know what will.

It’s on days like these that I like to break out the HOT COCOA. Everyone has their own way of making this perfect mug of chocolaty goodness. Whether it’s with whipped cream, marshmallows, a little pinch of cinnamon, a hint of lavender ….. Whatever it may be why not try something a little CRAZY this winter and mix it up with these 10 AMAZING and CREATIVE recipes.

#1  Nutella Hot Cocoa

By: Martha Stewart

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup Nutella
  • Unsweetened whipped cream, for serving
  • 8 cups water
  • mini marshmallows

Directions

  1. Combine milk and Nutella in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking until smooth. Divide between 2 teacups; serve with dollops of whipped cream.

#2 Lavender Hot Cocoa

By: Seasonally Jane

Ingredients

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon lavender extract
  • Whip cream or marshmallow topping, optional
  • Lavender buds for garnish, optional (recommended for presentation, not necessarily for drinking)

Directions
Warm milk in a small pot over medium heat, stirring as needed, about 4 to 5 minutes. Do not let milk boil.

As it warms, stir in cocoa, sugar, and salt, and whisk to combine well. Taste hot chocolate, add additional cocoa or sugar if you desire a stronger chocolate or sweeter taste.

Once you have perfected your cocoa flavor, add in 1 teaspoon lavender extract and stir to combine.

Ladle hot chocolate into mugs, top with marshmallows or whipped cream, and serve.

#3 Mexican Hot Cocoa

By: Me

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
Directions
  1. Place 1 cup of the milk to a medium saucepan.
  2. Cook over a medium flame until the milk just begins to simmer.
  3. Add cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon and cayenne powder to the milk.
  4. Whisk until cocoa, sugar, spices and milk are thoroughly combined.
  5. Slowly add remaining 3 cups of milk, whisking to combine.
  6. Cook over a low flame until the hot chocolate is warmed through.
  7. Serve immediately.
  8. Optional: Top with whip cream, cinnamon sugar, and use a cinnamon stick as a stir stick.

#4 Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa

By: Sugar Hero

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Recipe ~ Make your own salted caramel hot chocolate at home! Salted caramel is the base for this thick homemade hot chocolate. It’s incredibly rich and indulgent!

Ingredients
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4½ cups room temperature milk (I used 1%—any fat percentage you enjoy drinking should work)
  • 8 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • Big pinch salt
  • Whipped cream and caramel sauce, to garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, rub together the sugar and the lemon juice, until the sugar is damp and fragrant.
  2. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat and let it preheat for several minutes until the pan is hot. Once the saucepan is hot, add the sugar.
  3. Begin stirring immediately and continuously. Because the pan was preheated, the sugar will start cooking very quickly. Soon after it liquefies it will start to take on color. Cook, stirring constantly, until it is a medium amber color.
  4. Continue to stir while you stream in the milk. The caramel may seize and form small chunks of sugar, but continue to stir and heat the mixture, and by the time the milk is piping hot, the caramel will have melted and you will have a smooth liquid.
  5. Once the milk is at a simmer (small bubbles forming along the sides of the pan) remove the pan from the heat. Don’t let the milk come to a boil! Add the chopped chocolates to the pan and whisk until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is melted. Add a pinch of salt, taste the milk, and add more salt if desired.
  6. Serve Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate with whipped cream and caramel sauce. It can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for up to a week. Reheat it in the microwave or on the stove top.

#5 Pumpkin Spice Hot Cocoa

By: Cookies & Cups

Ingredients
  • 2½ cups milk
  • ⅓ cup hot cocoa mix (no marshmallows)
  • ¼ cup canned pumpkin
  • 1½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • whipped cream or marshmallows optional
Instructions
  1. In a medium sauce pan over medium low heat whisk together your milk and hot cocoa mix.
  2. Add your canned pumpkin, vanilla, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Heat until desired temperature is reached.
  4. Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream and/or marshmallows and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

#6 White Hot Cocoa

By: The Linley House

Ingredients
  • 1 Gallon of either 2% or Vitamin D milk
  • 1 large carton heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Bags of white chocolate chips.
  • 1 tablespoon of peppermint extract (clear)
  • Whipped Topping
  • Holiday Sprinkles

Directions

In a large stock pot or soup pot, over medium heat combine your milk and cream to the point where it is just beginning to steam. You do not want to boil the milk! This is not a recipe to put on the stove and walk away from!
After your milk begins to warm add in your white chocolate chips
Tip: White Chocolate isn’t really chocolate. It’s all pretty much sugar and while brown chocolate has quite a bit of fat in it (the “milk” in milk chocolate) white chocolate does not (Neither does dark chocolate) Because of this your white chocolate with more easily seize (or basically, burn) if you get it too hot too quickly. After you ad the chips to the milk, you will want to stir the chips (or even use a wisk) to melt them into the milk. While you don’t have to stir constantly, make sure not to let the mixture sit too long with out stirring before the chips are dissolved or they will sink to the bottom of the pot (where all the heat is…and seize)
It will probably take 15-20 minutes until all of the chips are dissolved.
Add peppermint extract.
At this point turn the mixture down to “warm” and it can sit on the stove until you are ready to serve.
Serve warm with a dollop of whipped topping and your favorite Holiday Sprinkles for garnish.

#7 Peppermint Hot Cocoa

By: Deliciously Sprinkled

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups milk*
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Sweet’N Low
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • mini marshmallows, for topping

Directions:

In a saucepan, heat the milk, heavy cream, salt and Sweet’N Low on medium heat until it begins to simmer.

Remove from heat and stir in chopped chocolate and peppermint extract. Continue stirring until the chocolate melts.

Serve and top with mini marshmallows or a peppermint stick. Enjoy!

#8 Cookies N’ Cream Hot Cocoa

By: Chef in Training

INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Warm up milk on stove until it becomes hot, but do not let it boil.
  2. Add in hot cocoa powder, finely ground/processed Oreo cookies and Marshmallow flavoring. Stir to combine well.
  3. Pour into two mugs. Top with whipping cream and drizzle with Marshmallow Ice Cream Topping. Sprinkle on some extra Oreo crumbs for garnish.

#9 Coconut Hot Cocoa

By: The Crafting Chick

Ingredients:
– 2 Cups 2% Milk
– 1 Can Coconut Milk
– 2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
– 3 Tablespoons Sugar
– 7 oz. Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips {about 3/4 of the bag}
– 1 Tsp. Mexican Vanilla Extract {use regular vanilla extract if you don’t have Mexican Vanilla}
– Shredded Coconut {optional}
– Whipped Cream {optional}
– Sugar Free Coconut Flavored Syrup {optional if you want more coconut flavor}
Directions
1.  Begin by toasting your shredded coconut.  Sprinkle it evenly on a baking sheet and place in a pre-heated 350* oven.  Be careful and watch it and toss occasionally so it doesn’t burn.  This should only take a few minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.
2.  In a large sauce pan over medium-high heat add the following ingredients:  milk, coconut milk, semi-sweet chocolate chips, Mexican vanilla, cocoa powder, & sugar.  Using a wire whisk to mix, keep a close eye on it for a few minutes so your chocolate chips don’t burn to the bottom of the pan.  Whisk occasionally until thoroughly heated through.  {I added 2 pumps from my sugar free coconut flavored syrup to give my hot chocolate a little more coconut flavor, this is up to you and not necessary.}
3.  Pour in to your favorite mugs and top with whipped cream & toasted coconut.

#10 Mint White Hot Cocoa

By: Me

2 cups milk

2 cups half & half cream
8 oz. white chocolate, chopped
1 tsp. peppermint extract
a few drops of green food coloring
marshmallows (optional)

In a heavy- bottomed pot, heat the milk and cream over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the white chocolate, remove from heat and set aside for a few minutes. Add the peppermint extract and food coloring and whisk until smooth.

Serve immediately. Serves 4

Homestyle Potato Salad

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Happy Monday Everyone!!!!

Yesterday we hosted Sunday Dinner, a family tradition for us, and being the meat lover that he is, my husband requested that we BBQ Ribs. Naturally, potato salad made it to the menu.

This is one of my favorite Potato Salad recipes. Probably because first it is really simple and secondly it is absolutely delicious. Being German I’ve always loved German potato salad but I find that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. So when serving large groups I tend to stick with a homestyle recipe, plus honestly I think that traditional potato salad pairs better with ribs, just my opinion.

I found this recipe on “Favorite Family Recipes” by Erica, Echo & Emily. I’ve made it multiple times and it always turns out great and is a real crowd pleaser. ENJOY!!!

Ingredients
  • 5 medium potatoes (red potatoes taste the best)
  • 8 eggs, hard-boiled (save 2 eggs to use for garnish on salad)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ½ c. Mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip)
  • ½ c. sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • mustard, to taste
  • ½ c. sweet pickle relish (or 5 to 6 diced baby dill pickles, if you don’t like it sweet)
  • Dill weed or paprika (optional, but I always use both!!!)VSCOCam$2014-11-17 11.01.37 1
Instructions
  1. Boil potatoes (do not peel) for about 40 minutes until potatoes are tender, but still firm (if you are using red potatoes do it for less time.. 15-20 minutes or so).
  2. Peel and dice potatoes AND 6 eggs. Add salt and pepper and toss. Mix remaining ingredients separately and fold into potato mixture. 2014-11-17_11.06.32_12014-11-17_11.04.38_12014-11-17_11.13.00_1
  3. Slice remaining 2 eggs and layer on top of salad. Sprinkle top of salad with dill weed or paprika. Or do like I do and mix the paprika and dill weed into the salad for extra flavor. Then garnish with a little more for color.
  4. Refrigerate overnight (or at least 6-8 hours).IMG_20141116_142212

French Toast Cupcakes with Maple Bacon Buttercream. Yum!

 So I’m a sucker for anything bacon….I’ve had candied bacon, chocolate bacon, bacon flavored soda, my husband has even used Bacon Mustache Wax, yep that’s a thing. So naturally when I found this recipe on The Ginger Snap! I was super excited. First off French Toast is like my favorite breakfast carb EVER! That combined with bacon and maple syrup = HEAVEN.  So a cupcake combo of the three had me drooling just thinking about it.
 I followed this recipe step for step and was very pleased to find it fairly simple and overwhelmingly delicious.
*Makes: 18 cupcakes

Ingredients

For cupcakes:

  • 3 cups (400g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (400g)  granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 230g) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (240g) sour cream
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

For streusel:

  • 1/4 cup (60g) dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup (60g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (70g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks

For maple bacon buttercream:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 230g) butter, softened
  • 4 cups (500g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup (100g) maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 6 slices of bacon, cut into small pieces


Directions

Step 1: Fry up the bacon first. When the bacon is done, let is cool on paper towel or chopping block until hard and all the grease has dried. Save the grease for the buttercream.

Step 2: Make the streusel next. In a large bowl, combine the both brown sugars, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Mix the cold butter into the mixture by hand, squeezing the pieces in to mix it. Place in the fridge until you are ready to use. It should look something like this:

Step 3: Make the cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.

Step 4: In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the softened butter,eggs, vanilla, and sour cream and mix well, until the mixture is smooth. Get rid of any remaining flour by stirring with a spatula.

Step 5: Place three tablespoons of batter in each prepared baking cup (you can use water or cooking spray to make the process easier and the batter doesn’t keep sticking to your spoon). Divide the streusel evenly among the cupcakes, covering each surface area with the cinnamon mixture. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (mine took about 27 minutes).

Step 6: Make your buttercream. Beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy (about a minute or 2). Beat in the sugar, a cup at a time, until combined. Stir in the vanilla, salt, and syrup. Add the heavy cream last and beat for another few minutes until completely incorporated. Keep in the fridge until you are ready to pipe onto your cupcakes.

Step 7: When cupcakes are done, take out of the oven and place them on a wire rack to cool completely, at least 30 minutes or so (make sure they aren’t still warm when you feel them or the icing will just melt right off).

Step 8: When they are ready, pipe your icing on in swirl, or however you would like, and then add your bacon bits on top. Enjoy whenever you please!