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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 03/25/13

Monday, March 25, 2013

SWEETS FOR COFFEE LOVERS, PART I!


Vietnamese Coffee Ice Pops Recip


A frozen-pop version of the classic iced coffee!






Vietnamese Coffee Ice Pops


Difficulty: Easy | Total Time:Makes:About 6 (4-ounce) ice pops
Like classic Vietnamese iced coffee, this frozen pop contains strong brewed coffee and sweetened condensed milk. It’s a caffeinated treat that’s not recommended for the kiddies!

Special equipment: You will need freezer pop molds for this recipe. We used these molds, but any kind will work. If yours don’t come with sticks that attach securely, you can buy wooden sticks and insert them about 1 1/2 hours into the freezing time.
This recipe was featured as part of our 7 Ice Pops That Break the Mold.
INGREDIENTS
  • 3/4 cup strong French roast coffee grounds, such as Café Du Monde, Cafe’de Paris, or Trung Nguyen
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream


INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Brew the coffee with the measured water. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of brewed coffee.
  2. Place the hot coffee and condensed milk in a measuring cup or a large heatproof bowl with a spout and whisk until evenly combined. Whisk in the cream, cover, and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
  3. Whisk the mixture again and divide among the pop molds. Freeze until solid, at least 6 hours.



This dense, trufflelike cake is made with Irish whiskey and served with whiskey-flavored whipped cream.



Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: 2 hrs 10 mins | Active Time:Makes:12 servings
Dense and trufflelike in texture, this festive cake has a hint of whiskey that follows on the heels of the chocolate flavor. The fluthered cream (fluthered is Irish slang for drunk) doubles the boozy kick. For an over-the-top Irish experience, enjoy with an Irish Coffee.
This dish was featured as part of our St. Patty’s Day Recipes photo gallery.
INGREDIENTS

For the cake:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Irish whiskey
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee, at room temperature
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature

For the fluthered cream:

  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons Irish whiskey
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

INSTRUCTIONS
For the cake:
  1. Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Using a pastry brush, coat the inside of a 12-cup Bundt pan with all of the melted butter; set aside.
  2. Place the unsweetened chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to break up any lumps and aerate; set aside. Combine the sour cream, whiskey, and coffee in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth; set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, stopping the mixer and scraping down the bowl and paddle after each addition. Add the melted chocolate and beat until just combined, about 30 seconds. Reduce the mixer speed to low and alternate between adding the flour mixture and the sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, until just combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth out the top, and bake until the top of the cake is puffed and cracked and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 60 to 65 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Flip the cake out of the pan and serve warm or at room temperature.
For the fluthered cream:
  1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until medium peaks form, about 1 minute. Serve slices of cake topped with fluthered cream.


If the Dude wanted a shake, he’d totally abide by this one.






Difficulty: Easy | Total Time:Makes:1 shake
If the Dude wanted a shake, he’d totally abide by this one.
This recipe was featured as part of our story on Boozy Cocktail Milk Shakes.
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 (14-ounce) container vanilla ice cream
  • 1 ounce coffee liqueur, such as Kahlúa
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder


INSTRUCTIONS
Place all of the ingredients in a blender. Pulse 8 to 10 times or until mostly smooth. Pour into a chilled glass and serve on a rug that really ties the room together while listening to some Creedence.
An easy chocolate cookie crust filled with coffee ice cream and topped with chocolate ganache and whipped cream.





Difficulty: Medium | Total Time:Makes:1 (9-inch) pie (8 to 10 servings)
Mud pie—not to be confused with Mississippi mud pie, which is a chocolate pie—needs only a chocolate cookie crust, coffee ice cream, and fudge sauce, according to its creator, Joanna Droeger. Here we’ve stayed true to the original with an intense espresso gelato and chocolate ganache, but added a little sweetened whipped cream on top. This easy-to-make pie can be assembled in advance for parties. Note: Unless you want your kids jumping off the walls, we recommend not serving this caffeinated treat to the little ones.
Game plan: Make sure you have enough room in your freezer before you begin. You’ll need a flat area at least 10 by 10 inches to accommodate the pie comfortably.
To slice the frozen pie, warm a sharp knife in hot water for about 30 seconds, then use a kitchen or paper towel to dry the knife. Slice the pie while the knife is still warm, pushing the knife down into the pie and slowly removing it. Clean the knife off and repeat warming, drying, slicing, and cleaning with each cut. If the pie is still too frozen to easily slice, let it sit for another 5 minutes.
This recipe was featured as part of our Make Your Own Ice Cream Treats project.
INGREDIENTS

For the crust:

  • 30 chocolate cookie wafers, such as Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted and cooled

For the ganache:

  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

To assemble:

To serve:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS
For the crust:
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. Place cookies in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and process until the pieces are about the size of peas. Stop the motor, add the melted butter, and continue to process until the crumbs are fine, about the size of coarsely ground coffee (you should have about 1 1/2 cups). Alternatively, place the cookies in a resealable plastic bag, press out the air, and seal. Using a rolling pin, smash into fine crumbs until uniform. Transfer to a medium bowl, add melted butter, and mix until evenly combined.
  3. Pour crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and, using the bottom of a cup or your fingers, press firmly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides. Bake until fragrant, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
For the ganache:
  1. Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl; set aside.
  2. Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Pour over chocolate and let stand until chocolate has softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add butter and stir until smooth. Let cool slightly before using.
To assemble:
  1. Place gelato in the refrigerator until slightly softened, about 30 minutes. Place cookie crust in the freezer until chilled, about 30 minutes.
  2. Remove softened gelato from the container and transfer to a large bowl. Stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until it is spreadable but not liquidy. Working quickly, spread the softened gelato into the crust in an even layer (leaving any melted gelato in the bowl). If the gelato in the pie looks like it’s melting, place the pie in the freezer until solid before proceeding.
  3. Pour the warm ganache over the gelato and tilt the pie plate to evenly coat. Immediately transfer the pie to a flat surface in the freezer until completely frozen, at least 3 hours.
To serve:
  1. Let the pie sit at room temperature until the ganache just begins to soften, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine cream, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk until soft peaks have formed (they should droop over like soft-serve ice cream), about 3 minutes; serve atop pie slices. If not serving immediately, tightly wrap the frozen pie in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to 1 week.


A San Francisco classic made with simply coffee, sugar, Irish whiskey, and cream.






Total Time: Under 5 mins | Active Time:Makes:1 drink
           
The original Irish coffee was a concoction of a bit of whiskey, a generous splash of black coffee, a dollop of whipped cream, and a smattering of genius. Pedigrees for most drinks are dubious at best, but the Irish coffee is well documented. San Francisco Chronicle columnist Stanton Delaplane was served one at Ireland’s Shannon Airport bar in 1952; after returning to San Francisco, he passed the recipe on to barman Jack Koeppler at the Buena Vista and soon to the rest of the country. The story behind this immensely popular beverage is that Irish bartender Joe Sheridan created the rejuvenating brew during World War II to greet weary Yankee travelers arriving by seaplane in the wee hours of the morning. Interestingly, the Irish drank whiskey in tea, but Sheridan apparently knew the American palate and had the wherewithal to substitute coffee.
The best Irish coffee should be treated no differently than the naked brew. Use high-quality, freshly ground and brewed beans, and always whip your heavy cream without sugar right before serving.
This recipe was featured as part of our Hot Boozy Drinks photo gallery.
INGREDIENTS
  • 4 ounces freshly brewed coffee
  • 1 1/2 ounces Irish whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Dollop of freshly whipped cream

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Combine the coffee, whiskey, and sugar in a hot Irish coffee mug; then float whipped cream on top.
Variations:
Italian coffee: Substitute amaretto for the whiskey.
Jamaican coffee: Substitute dark rum for the whiskey.
Mexican coffee: Substitute Kahlúa for the whiskey.



Flavored with milk chocolate, coffee liqueur, and cinnamon.



Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: 3 hrs 40 mins, plus freezing time | Active Time:Makes:8 servings (6 cups)
This ice cream refuses to be classified—it tastes at once like rich gelato and icy sorbet. Milk chocolate flavors eggy custard for a doubly rich ice cream that then gets spiked with canela and coffee-flavored tequila liqueur.
What to buy: Canela can be found in gourmet groceries, at Latin markets, or online. If you have trouble finding it, you can substitute regular cinnamon.
Patrón XO Café is a coffee-flavored tequila liqueur from the makers of Patrón tequila. If you can’t find it, go ahead and substitute another coffee-flavored liqueur such as Kahlúa.
Game plan: The ice cream base (unfrozen ice cream) can be made up to 2 days in advance, though it needs 3 to 4 hours to harden in the freezer after it’s been processed (unless, of course, you want soft-serve). Ice cream will keep in the freezer for 1 week.
This recipe was featured as part of our Chocolate Desserts photo gallery.
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 (4-inch) canela stick
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 8 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped (about 1 heaping cup)
  • 1/3 cup Patrón XO Café (or other coffee-flavored liqueur)

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Prepare an ice water bath by filling a bowl halfway with ice and water; set aside.
  2. Combine milk, cream, half of the sugar, and canela in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together remaining sugar and egg yolks until pale yellow. Once milk mixture is hot, slowly pour half of milk mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour milk and egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until it is as viscous as melted ice cream and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 to 15 minutes. (When you draw your finger across the spoon, it should make a mark through the custard.)
  4. Remove from heat, add chocolate, and whisk until chocolate is melted and custard is smooth. Whisk in coffee liqueur. Strain into a large heatproof bowl and place ice cream base over ice water bath to chill, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Once ice cream base is cold, cover and place in the refrigerator to chill completely, at least 3 hours or overnight. Once chilled, freeze in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions



Two kinds of ice cream float shots: chocolate ice cream drowned in Kahlúa, and vanilla in limoncello.







Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: 5 mins | Active Time:Makes:24 servings
Affogato, Italian for “drown,” is a description normally reserved for ice cream doused in espresso. Here we take that same principle and swap out the espresso for alcohol to create an adult version of ice cream floats where the variations are endless—try butter pecan with amaretto or chocolate chip with Chambord. Serve them in small glasses, demitasses, cordial glasses, or shot glasses.
Game plan: To avoid scooping ice cream while your guests are there, use this catering trick: Scoop the ice cream onto a small, parchment-lined baking sheet, then place in the freezer until it’s time to assemble the affogato.
Try toasting the nuts for a few minutes before adding them to the shots.
INGREDIENTS

For the chocolate shots:

  • 3 cups chocolate ice cream
  • 3/4 cup coffee-flavored liqueur, such as Kahlúa
  • 24 whole hazelnuts

For the vanilla shots:

  • 3 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 3/4 cup lemon-flavored liqueur, such as Caravella Limoncello
  • 24 whole macadamia nuts

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Place a small scoop of ice cream in each glass. Top with 1 tablespoon liqueur and 2 nuts. Serve immediately.



Intensely flavored with both ground whole espresso beans and instant espresso powder.







Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: 30 minutes, plus chilling and churning time | Makes:1 quart
Those critical of weak coffee ice cream—our senior food editor, Jill Santopietro, is one of them—will appreciate this gelato flavored with bits of finely ground espresso beans and a dose of espresso powder. It will have you wired in no time. For a caffeinated double-chocolate dessert, try it in an Espresso Mud Pie.
Game plan: The unfrozen gelato base can be made up to 2 days in advance, but it needs 3 to 4 hours to harden in the freezer after it’s been processed.
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon very finely ground espresso beans
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large heatproof bowl and set aside.
  2. Combine 2 cups of the milk and the cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally (so a skin doesn’t form), until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges, about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a medium heatproof bowl until smooth. Gradually whisk in the sugar until incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk mixture, whisking continuously so that the hot mixture doesn’t scramble the eggs. Return the custard to the saucepan.
  4. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat the spoon. (When you draw your finger across the spoon, it should make a mark through the mixture, which should not run back in on itself.) Do not bring to a boil.
  5. Pour the mixture through the fine-mesh strainer and into the prepared bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring every 5 minutes or so. (To cool the base quickly, make an ice water bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water and placing the bowl of the espresso base in it; stir the base until cooled.) Cover and refrigerate the base until very cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.
  6. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/2 cup milk and 3 tablespoons of the ground espresso beans in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring just to a simmer. Remove from heat and set aside to steep for 20 minutes. Pour the milk mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a small bowl, pressing on the solids to extract all the liquid; discard the solids. Add the instant espresso powder and stir until dissolved. Refrigerate until cold, at least 30 minutes.
  7. Gently whisk the milk-espresso mixture into the gelato base, then whisk in the remaining 1 teaspoon ground espresso beans. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 3 hours before serving. The gelato will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 week.

MUNICH'S STRONG BEER (STARKBIERZEIT) FESTIVAL!








    Can you say Starkbierzeit? It's German for "strong beer festival", an event held every March in Munich. For two weeks, breweries bring out their most potent beverages, and beer halls throw noisy parties with a host of Bavarian entertainment and food. It's Oktoberfest without the tourists.
    The festival's roots go back to the Paulaner monks who, according to legend, began making an extra strength beer to sustain themselves during their Lenten fast. The beer, first brewed in the 17th century, gained a "word of mouth" following. The townspeople called it Salvator.












    Strong beer's popularity took off after Napoleon rode into town and sold the monasteries to local businessmen. Paulaner ended up in the hands of a entrepreneur named Franz Xavier Zacheri, who turned the monastery into a beer hall and mass produced the monks' beer. In an inspired bit of marketing, he promoted Salvator as a cure for the wintertime blues. Munchner's answered the call, descending on Zacheri's beer hall in droves.
    Salvator is classified as a doppelbock, which means an "extra strength" version of the Bock style."Bock", in Bavaria, is a generic term meaning strong beer--pale as well as dark. Just how strong are doppelbocks? They start at 7.5 percent alcohol by volume. Anbd because their strength is masked by a strong malty flavor, they can sneak up on the most experienced of beer drinkers.











    The site of Zackeri's beer hall is still the gathering place for Starkbierzeit--especially on March 19th, St. Joseph's Day. Today, it's called the Paulaner Keller. This sprawling complex can hold 5,000 revelers, and there's room for thousands more outside. It has everything you'd expect in a traditional beer hall: sturdy beermaids; brass bands blaring out drinking songs; and plenty of malty, amber colored Salvator Doppelbock.
It didn't take long for Munich's other breweries to follow Paulaner's lead and come out with their own doppelbocks. But as a tribute to the original Salvator, they've all given their beers names ending in "-ator".
     Paulaner's biggest competitor is Lowenbrau, which brings out its sweetish--and lethal--Triumphator in March. You can find it all over town, but if you want to join the party, the place to go is the brewery's enormous Lowenbraukeller. Show up on the right evening, and the entertainment will include boulder-lifting competitions and other feats of strength.











    Doppelbock isn't the only style of beer served during Starbierzeit. For an interesting change of pace, head for Weisses Brauhaus, a popular destination for those who like to start their evening with a good meal. As the name suggests, it specializes in wheat beers, which Germans often call weiss, or white beers. This time of year, the brewery pours Starkweizenbier, a dark colored beer whose pronounced wheat flavor hides a big alcoholic punch.











    Munich's most intriguing strong beer venue is Forschungbrauerei, which means "research brewery", in English. By tradition, it's allowed to start serving its doppelbock, called St. Jakobus, a week before Starkbierzeit, it is a small, family run establishment whose entire production is consumed on the premises. It's also one of the few remaining places where beer is served in ceramic mugs which do a better job of keeping beer cold.










    Starkbierzeit isn't widely publicized,which is just fine with Munchners. It's their time of year to show pride in Bavarian culture and tradition. But don't let the local color scare you away, that's why millions of people visit every year! Bring a good guidebook, a hearty appetite, and a taste for strong Bavarian beer. That'll be enough to earn you a "Wilkommen" at any beer hall in town.

5 CATEGORIES OF TASTY CHOCOLATE TREATS TO DIE FOR!!








    I know there are thousands, if not millions of chocolate lovers out there. I happen to be one of those people and have tried several different chocolate treats in my lifetime. So what do I consider to be the top chocolate treats? I find that there are several different chocolate treat categories and there are treats in each category that are better than the rest. This article will stick to foods you can buy in almost any grocery store. These chocolate treats are low in price but high in taste.













Candy bars: We've all tried several varieties of this chocolate treat, but which ones are the best? Throughout my life, my tastes have changed and I've had several different favorites. My favorites lean now to either the milky way bar , with it's chocolate and caramel, or a nice big snickers bar, with the chocolate and caramel and a little dose of peanuts to go with it.














Ice Cream: Let's face it, just plain old chocolate ice cream is wonderful. It's right up there with vanilla. Vanilla you say? But I thought this was about things chocolate. You're right, but vanilla is like a canvas of a painting you can add anything to it to make it whatever flavor you're craving at the time. Anything from hot fudge to chocolate chips, a little or a lot, it's up to you to decide. When we talk ice cream it's all about the quality of it and the QUANTITY of it. We can go to the local market and get anything from rocky road to brownie batter ( chocolate ice cream with chunks of brownies. The ice cream world is your oyster, shuck it and eat it all up!!!













Cookies: When most of us think of a cookie, it's probably a nice, chewy, gooy, dunk in your milk, chocolate chip cookies. My family can't even wait for them to go into the oven, they'd rather eat cookie doe instead. You can make up a batch of them and after they come out of the oven, take some chocolate chips, put them in a microwave safe bowl, and when the chocolate has melted, dip half of the chocolate cookies in it for a little bit of a chocolate high!














Snack Cakes: Nothing says comfort food more than a box of individually wrapped ding dongs or ho ho's! A couple of them with a glass of ice cold milk hits the spot. I don't think there's a snack cake made that isn't good.












Candies: When you think of loose chocolate candies, does anything come to mind? Anyone?? Anyone??....You in the back row, with your hand up, what is it?.......I box of See's candy sir! Nuts and chews if you please!!.....Good answer! Good answer!
Anything from truffles to chocolate covered almonds with caramel and everything in between. Like Forrest Gump always says, "Life is like a box a chocolates! You never know what you're gonna get!" So be sure that it's a good quality chocolate, not a box of some unknown companies chocolates that you got at the Dollar Store (that sure doesn't taste like the chocolate I'm used to!).
    While there are several other chocolate treat categories, these are some of the best. I hope this article made you think of all of the different flavors and smells coming this holiday season and make sure you eat it in moderation. So next time when you're having a craving for more of that ding dong or those nuts and chews, there will be some more for you to eat, that little stash you keep for yourself, your family doesn't know about.