12 Holiday Food Comas: Minty Hot Chocolate

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Oh, Chocolate. I love you so. If I end my life drowned in your goodness, I will die a happy woman.

A short post today, friends, because the beauty of cocoa speaks for itself.

If you’re not a fan of mint (which you should be), simply remove the candy canes from the equation.

Drink up, me hearties!

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Minty Hot Chocolate

2 c half and half
2 c milk
4 mini candy canes
1 c chocolate chips
Kahlua to taste1/2 c whipped cream

In a large pot combine the half and half, milk, and chocolate chips and heat over low, stirring frequently. When hot and the chocolate has melted, remove from heat and add kahlua to taste. Divide into 4 mugs and place a candy cane in each. Topped with whipped cream and serve immediately.

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12 Holiday Food Comas: Spinach Dip

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While the rest of the country has been suffering through a truly heinous winter with -50 degree winds, never-ending snow, and icy roads covered in car-degrading salt, Californians across the state have been horrified to hear their own fate: a low of 35 degrees. Heavens! When will our afflictions be over? Is there no god above to protect us from this hell?

Thankfully, we powered through and are back to just “chilly” (that’s what 60 degrees feels like to our delicate bodies). It’s a Christmas miracle that we came out alive and can appreciate the little things in life once more. Like food.

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I’ve always had a bit of a love-hate thing going on with spinach dip. Oh sure, it’s a wonderland of creamy, spinachy goodness, but you’ll always encounter a mega mayo fan who puts the ratio at 10:1 and ruins it. There’s nothing like a palate full of mayonnaise to remind you of how life was so good without it.

Obviously, it’s all based on personal preference, so my attempt is to go for more spinach, a touch of brie, and a kick with some spice. This isn’t a gooey recipe, so if you want more creaminess I would increase the sour cream by another half cup and maybe add some cream cheese chunks for a festivus flair.

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Spinach Dip

1 can artichoke hearts, rinsed and chopped
2 lbs frozen, chopped spinach, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 c sour cream
2 green onions, sliced finely
2 triangles of brie
1/4 c shredded parmigiano cheese
1 t dry mustard
1 t paprika
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 t salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9″x 13″ baking pan. Press the spinach in a dish towel to get out as much moisture as possible. In a large bowl, mix the spinach, artichokes, parmigiano, sour cream, green onions, mustard, paprika, red pepper flakes, and salt. Cut the brie triangles into 1/2″ — 1″ chunks and layer half onto the bottom of the baking pan. Spread the spinach on top and layer the rest of the brie on top of that. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until brown on top. Serve hot with sliced baguette, crackers, etc.

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12 Holiday Food Comas: Jelly Doughnuts

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I know what you’re thinking: you’ve never had a jelly doughnut around Christmas, so what on earth am I talking about? Well, according to my in-the-know Jewish sister, jelly doughnuts are a traditional treat for Hanukkah. Since doughnuts are one of my favorite foods, there was no way I could turn down such a golden opportunity. Signed, sealed, delivered to my gullet.

Pinterest has been hopping with doughnuts made from Grands Biscuits and I was feeling extra curious, so I went the lazy route and bought the roll of Buttermilk for this adventure. For a quick, delicious treat, this was perfect. The doughnuts cooked in about 2 minutes, tasted like the “real” thing, and were very easy to fill. I went with standard jelly filling dusted with cinnamon-sugar for half, then the rest got a coffee-whipped cream filling with chocolate glaze. Served up with a pot of Earl Gray’s finest brew, this was a lovely breakfast (don’t worry, I did share some of them).

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Hanukkah may be over for this year, but you can still enjoy a plateful of doughnuts to get into the holiday spirit!

Jelly Doughnuts

1 can refrigerated biscuits
oil for frying
1 t cinnamon
3 T white sugar
jelly of choice
1/2 c whipped cream
1 t instant coffee
1 t vanilla
1-2 T milk
1/2 c powdered sugar
2 T cocoa powder

In 3 small bowls: 1) Combine the white sugar and cinnamon; 2) combine the instant coffee and vanilla, then stir to dissolve; then mix in the whipped cream; 3) whisk together the milk, powdered sugar, and cocoa (this mixture should be the consistency of room temperature honey). Place the coffee whipped cream in a piping bag with a small circle tip on the end. Refrigerate until ready to use. Place the jelly in a separate piping bag with a similar tip.

Open the can of biscuits and cut into quarters. Roll the bits in your hands to form small balls. In a frying pan place about 1.5″ of oil and heat on medium-high. When the oil starts to shimmer, test the temperature by placing one doughnut and, if it starts to sizzle, you’re ready to go. Place the doughnuts in the pan with about 1″ between them. Fry until golden brown, about 60 seconds. Turn and brown the other side, about another 60 seconds. Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon onto a cooling rack with paper towel underneath.

When cooled (a minute or so, it doesn’t take long) you can start filling with the jelly or cream. Shove the piping tip firmly into the doughnut and squeeze until you feel the doughnut “puff” out a bit. The jelly-filled ones should then be rolled in the cinnamon-sugar, and the cream-filled joys should be dipped in the chocolate glaze. Feel free to experiment with other kinds of glazes and fillings– the options are endless (marmalade filling with almond glaze? Marzipan filling with raspberry glaze? This could go on for days.). Serve warm with a big glass of milk!

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