Kicking Off Cookies & Cocktails Season

Molasses_Spice__Lemon_CookiesThanksgiving is over, #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday have come and gone and it’s time to dive into the annual baking of the holiday cookies.  The parade of visits, people visiting, and parties where you’ll need to bring something has arrived, but who want to bring the expected holiday cookies? Not me. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Last year Wine Enthusiast published a recipe for molasses cookies that paired perfectly with a cocktail that isn’t my usual glass of red wine, bourbon on the rocks, or old fashioned, the Palmetto.  Not hard to make, no fancy ingredients, and something different. Perfect!

Molasses Cookies With Lemon and Spice

  • 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 12 TBLS unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup Sugar in the Raw
  • ¼ cup bootstrap molasses
  • 1 large egg

For Filling

  • 3 TBLS unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 TBLS lemon juice

Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, salt and ground cloves together in bowl. In second bowl, melt and cool ¾ cup butter, and mix with ½ cup sugar, molasses and egg, until combined. Stir flour mixture into molasses mixture. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Spread ½ cup granulated Sugar in the Raw in shallow dish.

Heat oven to 375˚F. Roll dough into ¾-inch balls, then roll in Sugar in the Raw. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, and press flat. Bake until tops just begin to crack, 8–10 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough. Let cookies cool completely.

Make filling and assemble sandwiches

Whisk butter, powdered sugar and lemon juice in bowl until smooth. Spread 1 heaping teaspoon filling over half of cookies, then top with remaining cookies, pressing lightly to adhere. Let filling set for 1 hour before serving. Makes about 42 sandwich cookies.

Palmetto Cocktailpalmetto

In a mixing glass, combine:

  • 1½ ounces aged rum
  • 1½ ounces sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • ice

Stir until chilled and strain into a coupe (saucer champagne) glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

Start Your Meal Off Right

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When you’re relaxing before you’re ready to have dinner, but don’t want to sip on your wine without a little something to take the edge off of your hunger, these decidedly Southern, half moon shaped cheese biscuits are just the thing!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Southern Cheese Moons (Wine4Food)

  • 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Cream together softened butter and finely shredded cheese, using the paddle on a stand mixer or a hand mixer.

Combine flour, salt, red pepper flakes, garlic, mustard, and sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk together well.

Slowly incorporate flour mixture and cheddar butter. Don’t over mix, just combine.

Transfer dough to parchment paper. Gently press into one ½-inch oval shape.

Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, press cutter in dough. Then, slice in half.

For any remaining dough, shape into ½-inch ovals.

Place the cut half moons onto a parchment paper or Silpat-lined baking sheet. The cheese biscuits should be a minimum of 2 inches apart.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Transfer to cooling rack.

Enjoy these biscuits with a bold Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz/Syrah, Petite Syrah or Sangiovese. #GirlsGoneWine

Boozy Dole Whips

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As much as I love bourbon and wine, sometimes it is just too hot to consider anything except something cool, fruity & boozy from the blender.  This timely little find from the team at Delish fits the bill perfectly!

Boozy Dole Whip

  • 5 Cups frozen pineapple
  • 3/4 Cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 Cup coconut rum (Mailbu)
  • 1/4 Cup sweetened condensed milk
  • Pineapple slices & Maraschino cherries for garnish

  1. Blend frozen pineapple, coconut milk, rum, and sweetened condensed milk in a blender.
  2. Pour into glasses and garnish each with pineapple and a maraschino cherry.

Homemade Amaretto

amarettoI have a recipe on my all things wine website, californiagirlsgonewine.com that calls for Amaretto in it.  I know that you can make homemade Coffee and Irish Creme liqueur, and a little internet sleuthing led to the discovery that you can easily make homemade Amaretto too!

Amaretto

  • 1 Cup Distilled Water
  • 1 Cup Superfine (I use C & H Baker’s) Sugar
  • 1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar (packed)
  • 2 Cups Vodka (Any Vodka is fine)
  • 2 TBLS Almond Extract
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  1. Combine water and sugars in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Heat until the mixture is boiling, and all of the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Cook at a low boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir vodka, almond extract and vanilla extract into the mixture.
  6. Store in a well sealed bottle.

Perfect for mixing or sipping straight as an apéritif.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Frozen Margarita Pie

This dreamy pie comes from the magicians at Bon Appétit.  It’s easy and boozy!  My favorite dessert combination. 😉  It’s not a pie you can make at the last minute though.  You need to allow for at least 8 hours freezing time so the consistency is right, so plan ahead if you’re making this.

The Tequila you use matters – don’t just pour any old tequila in or you could ruin this pie.  Food & Wine Magazine recently published a list of 10 Top Blanco Tequilas and any of these would be great in this pie:

  • Espolon Blanco $26  100% agave tequilas, with a silky texture and a spicy kick
  • Tapatio Blanco $36  Smoky & complex, w/anise and classic herbaceous agave notes
  • Astral $39  Potent, floral tequila, agave juice ferments w/the pulp—a long-abandoned traditional approach
  • Casa Noble Crystal $40C  Certified Organic; Vegetal and funky (in a good way)
  • Siempra Valles Blanco $40  Earthy Agave from the Jalisco lowlands
  • Pasote Blanco $45  This subtle tequila from master distiller Felipe Camarena heads toward the lighter, greener side of agave, with grass and mint
  • Fortaleza Blanco $50  Guillermo Sauza started Fortaleza almost 30 years after his family sold its namesake brand. All of his tequilas—including this minty, unaged version—are superb
  • Expresiones del Corazóne Artisianal Edition Blanco $60  Agave at two different sugar levels is distilled and blended for this flavorful blanco—think eucalyptus, black pepper and plantain
  • Roca Patrón Silver $69  Emphatically agave-scented, this is made with the traditional tahona method, using a two-ton volcanic rock to crush the roasted piñas
  • Casa Dragones Blanco $75  This one is smooth w/lime peel and pine needle notes

 

frozen-margarita-pie-2

Frozen Margarita Pie

  • 6 TBSP Unsalted Butter
  • 10 graham crackers
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt. divided
  • ¾ cup chilled heavy cream
  • 5 limes, divided
  • 1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 Tbsp. tequila blanco

Melt 6 Tbsp. butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let cool slightly.

Crumble 10 graham crackers into the bowl of a food processor. Add 3 Tbsp. sugar¼ tsp. salt, and melted butter to bowl and process until mixture resembles wet sand.

Transfer graham cracker mixture to a shallow 9″ pie pan. Using a measuring cup, press firmly into bottom and up sides of dish. Freeze 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk ¾ cup heavy cream in a medium bowl until cream begins to thicken to the point you see ripples and stiff peaks begin to form, 3–5 minutes.

Cut 4 limes in half and juice into a fine-mesh sieve set over a glass measuring cup (you should have about ½ cup juice). Pour lime juice into another medium bowl and whisk in 14 oz. condensed milk3 Tbsp. tequila, and remaining ¼ tsp. salt until smooth.

Fold half of whipped cream into lime juice mixture, carefully folding under and over while turning the bowl. Add remaining whipped cream and continue to fold until no streaks remain.

Remove pie pan from freezer and pour in filling. Using the back of a spoon, gently spread filling to edge of crust.

Using a microplane, zest half of the remaining lime over pie.

Freeze pie at least 8 hours, or preferably overnight.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Boozy Hot Cocoa

Last year the weather reports for California promised the El Niño was coming which was supposed to mean many many opportunities to stay in, warm and dry, and sip on hot drinks.  The weather reports couldn’t have been more wrong!  Instead of rain filling up our reservoirs, lakes, and packing our mountains with snow, it was one of the hottest years on record!  I barely had to wear more than a sweatshirt and my Uggs stayed clean and dry, unworn, in my closet.  Hardly the kind of weather for enjoying hot drinks.

This year the weather reports predicted a La Niña, an unusually dry winter.  Thankfully, once again, the forecasters have been completely wrong.  We are just 3 weeks past the official start of winter and already we’ve had more cold days & nights, more rain than we’ve seen in years, and there’s more to come.  Instead of bone dry reservoirs, we are seeing them refilling to levels of 75-80% of capacity.  Thank you #PineappleExpress!

That also means that I can finally whip out the recipes I have been sitting on for boozy hot cocoa.  Yes!

Mint Cocoa Hot Toddy

  • 1 oz Kahlua
  • 1 oz Peppermint Schnappsmintchocolatetoddy
  • 1 envelope hot cocoa mix
  • 6 oz hot water (or milk, if that’s what pkg calls for)
  • Miniature Marshmallows
  • Chocolate Shavings
  • Cinnamon Stick
  1. Make 6 oz. of hot cocoa in a 10 oz mug.
  2. Add the Kahlua and the Schnapps.
  3. Place 8 or so miniature marshmallows on top.
  4. Grate some chocolate over the marshmallows, and stir with a cinnamon stick.

Toasted Bailey’s Hot Cocoa

  • 3 cups Milk
  • 1/3 cup Half and Halfbroiledbaileyshotchocolate
  • 1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • Marshmallows
  1. In a small saucepan, add milk and half and half. Turn on medium heat and let mixture warm up. Add chocolate chips.
  2. Let chocolate chips melt in milk mixture, whisking frequently. Once the chocolate has fully combined, add Bailey’s. Stir to combine and transfer to mugs.
  3. Place marshmallows on top of hot chocolate and toast the tops of your marshmallows with your mini-torch. Once your marshmallows are browned and melty it’s time to enjoy!

Chocolate-Orange Hot Chocolate

  • 2/3 cups Milk
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Creamchocolate-orange-hot-chocolate
  • Zest of 1/2 and Orange
  • 2 oz Dark Chocolate chopped
  • 1 oz +/- Warmed Grand Marnier
  1. Heat the milk, cream and orange zest together in a saucepan until simmering then remove from the heat and pour through a sieve into a jug to remove the orange zest. Pour the infused milk mixture back into the pan and add the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate has melted and is really smooth.
  2. Put the pan back on the heat to warm through then add the orange liqueur. Pour into a mug and serve.

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too:https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

NYE Drinks With a Twist

champagneAre you tired of serving the same champagne cocktails every New Year’s Eve?  I’ll let you in on a secret. I’m tired of drinking them!

Let’s face it, 2016 wasn’t a year that many of us would like to relive.  Between the circus of a Presidential election that has called the United States’ brand of democracy into question, the staggering number of terrorist acts perpetrated worldwide, and the deaths of some of the most beloved entertainers of our time, I think a few unique drinks are exactly what is called for to help give the boot to a year that’s left a rotten taste in most of our mouths.

vodkamartiniA simple and classy option is to stick with a straight forward cocktail served “on-the-rocks” or “up” like a Martini, James Bond style.   If your party is going to be one with low music and quiet conversation this is the type of drink to take it there.

My “Go-To” Martini Recipe

  • Fill cocktail shaker up halfway with ice cubes
  • Skewer 3 Martini Olives and Place in Chilled Martini Glass
  • Using a mister filled with dry Vermouth, give one short spritz over the olives
  • Add 1 + 1/2 to 2 Shots of Quality Vodka (I prefer Grey Goose L’Orange) to the cocktail shaker and give a couple of quick shakes
  • Strain vodka into glass over the skewered olives  enjoy

**Tip – If you like your martini dirty, add a cap of olive juice to the vodka in the cocktail shaker.  You can add (or substitute) pearl onions to your olive skewer if you prefer.

bluemooncosmoIf you want to shake up your boring martini affair and add some life to your party, change your music to something a bit more upbeat and consider serving one (or more) of the following variations:

Blue Moon Cosmo Martini

  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 ½ ounces Grey Goose L’Orange vodka, well chilled
  • 1 ounce blue curacao
  • 1 ounce white cranberry juice
  • sugar (optional)
  • Place all in a shaker with ice and shake well.
  • Pour into chilled glass and garnish with a lime slice

**TipDip rim into cranberry juice then sugar.

Pomegranate Cosmo

pom-cosmo

  • 5 strips lemon zest
  • 5 strips orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (I use Superfine Bakers Sugar)
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 2-ounces pomegranate juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3-ounces Grey Goose L’Orange Vodka
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds, divided

 

  • Place 3 lemon and 3 orange zest strips in a cocktail shaker
  • Sprinkle with sugar and muddle
  • Add crushed ice, pomegranate juice, fresh lemon juice, and vodka
  • Shake well and strain into 2 chilled cocktail glasses
  • Garnish with pomegranate seeds, remaining 2 strips each of lemon and orange zest
  • Serve

**TipDip rim into pomegranate juice then sugar.

If you were the lucky recipient of an Echo Dot or other Alexa voiced Amazon assistant, for a holiday gift, you can source the tunes for your party using Spotify.  You can also stream music from Spotify.com thru your network connected devices, like your home theater or stereo.  My son turned me on to this music source and for a limited time you can subscribe to their premium “Unlimited Streaming” option for .99 for 3 months.

Hopefully these libations and tunes will help us all usher in a more festive 2017!

If you’re on Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: my favorite recipes, drinks, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a page on Facebook you can visit too:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood