Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Delicate Blend of Soft-Spoken & Sweet

This drink is inspired by the very first friend I met in Phoenix: Katie Davis.  We’ve shared many fond memories over the years, from high school outings, to trips to Europe, to good old movie nights.  She just got a job in New York City and moved there in time for New Years.  This toast is dedicated to her.  Best of luck, Katie and Tristan, as you explore an exciting and fresh chapter in your lives!  Happy New Years, everyone!

1 oz. Elderflower liqueur, like St. Germain
Raspberries, to garnish

Pour the Elderflower liqueur into a tall flute and fill the rest of the glass with Champagne.  Add raspberries for color and decoration.  Share with someone special.  

Monday, December 26, 2011

Baking with the Kids

The week before Christmas, Sean and I visited his family in Ohio.  While we were there, we made several batches of cookies with his niece and nephews.  We had such a good time that I couldn’t help but post the pictures here with the recipe we used from Hershey.  I hope you’ve all had a Merry Christmas and that your baking adventures have been as fun as mine. 

48 Hershey’s Kisses
½ C. Shortening
¾ C. Peanut butter
1/3 C. Granulated sugar
1/3 C. Packed light brown sugar
1 Egg
2 T. Milk
1 t. Vanilla
1-1/2 C. All-purpose flour
1 t. Baking soda
½ t. salt
Granulated sugar

Heat oven to 375.  Remove wrappers from chocolates.

Beat shortening and peanut butter in a large bowl until well blended.  Add sugars and beat until fluffy.  Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well.  Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. 

Shape dough into 1-inch balls.  Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet. 

Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Immediately press a chocolate into the center of each cookie.  The cookie will crack around the edges.  Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.  Cool completely. 

Friday, December 16, 2011


These truffles will change your world, knock your socks off twice and convince you that chocolate may indeed be better than sex, just this once.  Need I say more?


7 oz. of your favorite milk chocolate, chopped
6 oz. heavy cream
Pinch of salt
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
Crushed nuts, candy cane pieces, white chocolate, to adorn

In a double boiler, heat the milk chocolate and cream, stirring until smooth and incorporated.  Add the salt and stir to combine.  Allow to cool to room temperature and place the mixture in the refrigerator to set overnight. 

Take the refrigerated mixture and scoop out small spoonfuls, rolling them into balls with your hands.  Place them on a parchment paper-covered cookie sheet that will fit in your freezer.  You will need to work quickly because they will begin to melt.  If the mixture becomes too soft to work with, place it in the refrigerator for several minutes.  Once you have made all of the balls, set the cookie sheet in the freezer so they firm up. 

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, melt the semisweet chocolate chips until smooth and manageable and set aside.  Organize and prepare your toppings. 

Remove the balls from the freezer and carefully dip them into the melted chocolate and place them back on the parchment paper.  The semisweet chocolate will begin to harden and the balls themselves will stay soft on the inside.  Sprinkle them with you’re your favorite toppings and place them back in the fridge until you are ready to serve.  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Salted Caramel Cocoa

My European soul mate, Charlotte, introduced me to this scrumptious cocoa.  On a freezing day in Albi, France, I rode my bike through sleet and rain to get to Charlotte's flat in the city center.  When I arrived, soaked to the bone, she served me this delicious concoction.  I've added salted caramel, but it's just as satiating without it.  C’est vraiment le TOP! 

3.5 oz. milk chocolate bar
Sea salt, ground
Salted Caramel sauce, recipe follows
2 C. Whole milk
Whipping Cream
Espresso (when needed)

In a saucepan, bring the whole milk to a steam.  Do not let it boil.  Add the chocolate bar and melt until the mixture is truly milk chocolate.  Add 1-2 T. of caramel sauce and whisk into the mixture.  Pour into your favorite mug and top with whipped cream.  Drizzle with caramel sauce for show.  Sprinkle sea salt on top to garnish. 

*For the salted caramel sauce, I use the Joy of Cooking recipe and add salt. 

¼ C. Water
1 C. Sugar
½ C. butter, in cubes
½ C. heavy cream
1 t. vanilla
6 pinches of salt (about ½ t.)

Dissolve 1 C. of sugar in ¼ C. water.  Bring to a boil and allow it to cook to dark amber.  Add the butter and stir to combine.  Add the heavy cream and thoroughly combine.  Add vanilla and salt to taste.  The caramel sauce is thin until it sits, so allow it to cool before drizzling over the cocoa.  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Popcorn with Truffle Oil & Parmesan

There once was a brilliant speakeasy-style piano bar in Flagstaff, Arizona.  It was owned by two culinary geniuses that disappeared in the blink of an eye.  This recipe is inspired by them, wherever they may be.  If you're looking for a trendy new snack for movie night, try this delicately flavored popcorn with your favorite cocktail.  Thank you Paola and Brian for all the good memories.

1 packet of microwave popcorn
2 T. white truffle oil
½ C. grated, fresh Parmesan cheese

Pop the corn according to package instructions, being careful not to burn it.  When it is ready, drizzle with truffle oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Toss to incorporate. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Sylaska: Intellectual Introspection

Some time ago, I had the idea to create a “how I see you” drink.  This is the first of several special drink recipes, inspired by my closest friends.  This first one is inspired by my dear friend Kateryna who is witty and well-versed, loyal, loving and accomplished and who probably knows me better than I know myself.  This drink is sweet and tart with an amaretto finish. 

Love you, K.

1 part Disaronno
2 parts Sour Mix
1 t. Vanilla
Raspberry, to garnish

In a small, round glass, mix the Disaronno and Sour Mix over ice.  Float the vanilla on top and garnish with raspberry.