Fancy kick-ass hot chocolate drink

Good bye hot summer Hello sexy Fall

It was hot. very hot. Foggy. Hotter on some days. Foggy again. But mostly hot. You got the idea.

That’s why I love Fall. Autumn. But I prefer to call this festive season Fall. It literally illustrates falling leafs and a whole new world of colors is unfold right in front of our eyes. Absolutely magnificent.

Beautiful Fall Autumn in Paris.Don’t you love Fall in Paris?

Along with the celebration it became a habit here to indulge on hot chocolate drinks flavored with whatever comes to mind. It’s the coziest of cozy drink and the more I make it the fanciest it gets.

My younger daughter is my fancy hot chocolate drink number one fan (child version of course). Let me remind myself for a moment that she still drinks hot chocolate every morning since she was two years old. She is almost 13 now. You do the math.

So if it’s cool where you live and you feel like having a fancy kick-ass hot chocolate drink click the link here, where I posted my recipe for this frothy and cozy hot chocolate.

kick-ass hot chocolate drink

It’s made of real chocolate not powder and that’s what makes the difference. Simple, easy with a little bit of preparation – it never hurts anyone.

kick-ass hot chocolate drink

Here’s a tip about my fancy hot chocolate drink: you can omit the liquor in the recipe if you don’t feel like having it. But  remember, the liquor makes it not only a fancy kick-ass hot chocolate drink for adults, but also give it that nice kick your taste buds will thank you for it. Try it with and without if you like and let me know what you think.

Last but not least, this month god only knows how much chocolate in almost any version I’ve had and it’s only the beginning of October – that includes my birthday, anniversary, my daughters birthdays and our holidays. Now that’s a lot of chocolate. I’m going through a chocolate phase.

And it gets even better, drinking it with Mr sense of hummus makes me feel I’m on a date.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Poached pears in spicy Moscato and silky chocolate ganache

What matters to you most when having dinner with others –  great food or a great company?

I’ve been asked that a lot, so the situation is usually something like this: When I’m invited to dinner I always bring something I cooked or baked. My mother has taught me to never visit friends or family empty-handed.

delicious poached pears with chocolate glaze

So good friends of ours invited us for Thanksgiving dinner and here is the problem:  I usually eat at home before I go. I am not being rude, I simply do not eat the food that’s been served because…well…some of my friends, as hilarious as they are, simply don’t know how to cook. I’ll nibble here and there sure and I will also admit, that while I’m very social and love to meet people, I find myself hard to impress when it comes to food. Wow! I think I just became my mother.

delicious poached pears with chocolate glaze

Listen, cooking is not everyone’s cup of tea I get that (my oldest daughter knows how to boil water really well), but if I had to switch great company with so-so food I rather keep the company. We have hilarious friends we can laugh with on anything, sometimes I wish the food was just as funny. And this Thanksgiving has been filled with reminders that we have dear friends who care enough to remember our own holiday celebration, Hanukkah, when they decorated the dinner table with chocolate money and Hanukkah gifts just for us. I am more grateful today then I was yesterday.

Back to the million chocolate money question: great food or great company? I choose the last two. Great company compensates on a lot of so-so’s…great company makes me forget I’m hungry…great company makes a so so food and life – awesome.

delicious poached pears in chocolate ganache

The poached pears dessert I made for Thanksgiving dinner was an absolute treat and my mouth thanked me when I had one at the time of the photo shoot. Yours will too. A treat I tell you.

poached pears in moscato wine

Easy, delicious and guess what? low in fat. The big deal here is Moscato wine. I use it for its unique fragrance, light-body and low in alcohol. Moscato is refreshing and crisp and makes any dessert feel good.

delicious poached pears

So…shall we:

ingredients:

5 medium firm pears, peeled, halved while stem still attached and cored
1 cinnamon sticks
3 c. Moscato wine
1/2 c. water
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 c. white sugar
5 cloves

chocolate ganache:

2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla

garnish:
sprinkles “cookies and cream”

*     *     *

In a heavy pan combine pears, liquid and spices. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer on low, occasionally turning them over, until pears are fork tender. Let pears cool in the syrup.
At this point, you can refrigerate the pears in the syrup for a day or 24 hours. The pears will become darker and much richer in flavor.

Meanwhile, on low heat bring heavy cream to a gentle simmer. Remove from heat and add the vanilla and chocolate chips, let sit for 3 minutes then stir to combine until the chocolate melts. Whisk to smooth. Pour sprinkles on a plate. While chocolate is still warm, gently deep each pear in the ganache, then in “cookies and cream” sprinkles and arrange on a serving dish. Serve warm or chilled.

Do not discard the pears’ syrup just yet. Add hot water and you got a new hot beverage for those cool long nights. Take a sip……Ahhhhhhhh…….

Shockingly simple, fluffy and delicious cinnamon rolls

Imagine this:

It’s Saturday morning, or Sunday (why not), you’re waking up slowly to something that smells…well…you’re not sure but it’s good. You’re stretching…looking outside the soft sun rays are peaking through…no rush today. Your nose tickles…you make a “sniffing” face…you smell something. Is someone in the kitchen? You’re getting out of bed…wild big bed-head is sitting on your shoulders (happens to me every time). You’re dragging your feet and follow the tantalizing aroma. The closer you get to the kitchen the stronger it is. It’s warm, it’s fragrant, it’s a smell you wanna hug.

You’re in the kitchen now and you see this:

baked crunchy cinnamon rollsNow the world looks so much…sweeter. Isn’t it?

These cinnamon buns are so fluffy and light they literally disappear in your mouth. The frosting adds a beautiful gentle touch because it’s so light and airy and it wont make you feel guilty. Well…maybe a little bit.

My mother bakes this gorgeous challah bread every Jewish new year and fills it up with nuts and goodies. I took her recipe and twisted it a bit: I used ready-made bread dough but divided it into little “bread” rolls, reduced the amount of sugar usually found in traditional rolls and for the frosting I used low-fat yogurt with a touch of sugar. My frosting recipe is so light and fluffy you can eat it on its own or spread it on a toasted bread. But here – it’s the cinnamon rolls’ best friend. And it can be yours too.

shall we:

The images below shows how easy, simple and fun it was to make:

spicy roasted nuts I made a simple mixture of roasted hazelnuts and spices

baked cinnamon rolls

I then unrolled the thawed bread dough to a rectangle and sprinkled on the nut mix.

baked cinnamon rolls with nutsI rolled dough and with a sharp knife I divided the roll into 2″ thick pieces.

baked cinnamon rolls

I then placed the mini rolls in a 9″ oven proof baking pan and sprinkled brown sugar on top.

home made cinnamon rollsWith the yogurt frosting drizzled I just couldn’t wait.

I like just a hint of cinnamon so only a bit was used. It’s lightly sweetened and spiced (I mean it) so it’s not overpowering. This recipe feels just right but it’s flexible and you can adjust quantities if you wish.

ingredients:
store-bought frozen bread dough, thawed
3/4 cup of chopped hazelnuts
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar (for garnish)
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp melted butter
for the icing:
1/2 a cup of low-fat Greek yogurt
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

preparation:

Heat oven to 350º. With a rolling-pin roll the dough into a rectangular shape, about 9″x14″. No science here just roll even to a square, about 1/4″ thick. I happened to get a rectangular. Brush with melted butter. In a medium bowl combine nuts, sugar, salt and spices. Mix with a fork. Spread mixture on rolled dough. Begin rolling the dough from top to bottom creating a log. Seal edges by pressing log gently and leave it seal side down. With a sharp knife slice dough to pieces about 2″ thick (see photo above).

In a greased 9″, or larger if you like, oven proof pan place rolls cut side down (see picture above), close to each other. Be gentle – nuts get a little naughty and may slide out. Stuff them back in. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Cover with a clean towel and let it rise for 40 minutes. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until rolls turn dark golden color or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out dry.

Frosting: combine all ingredients and whisk for about a min. Refrigerate to thicken and until use.

Let rolls cool in pan until warm then with a spoon pour yogurt frosting on top in a swirling motion. Show it off and eat.

Bon apetite.