*Valentine’s Week* Chocolate Martini / Peppermint Hot Cocoa

Happy Valentine’s Day to all! As a finish to my Valentine’s Day themed week, here’s two fabulous sweet, chocolatey drinks that are sure to be a fabulous cap to any romantic evening. (How convenient that Valentine’s Day fell on a Friday so I could finish off with my weekly Friday drink post!)

Of course, if these sound like too much effort, a shared bottle of wine wouldn’t hurt either. 😉

First up is the strong one, for you dessert drink lovers. I really like this blended, but it’s easy to make as a shaken cocktail, also!

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If you want to be really fancy with it, rim your glasses with a mix of cocoa powder and powdered sugar. (A teaspoon of each should do.) Mix those up in a shallow dish wide enough for your martini glasses and use a spoon to make a ring of it that’s about the same size as the rims of your glasses. Dip the glasses in a shallow dish of water (only a fraction of an inch in), shake off the excess, and then dip the glasses in the cocoa mixture.

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Turn them right side up and set them aside while you make your drink.

Rimming 2

In a blender, combine 1 scoop of chocolate ice cream, 1/2 cup chocolate milk, 2 ounces RumChata, 2 ounces Creme de Cacao, and 2 ounces Kahlua. (You could also replace the RumChata with Bailey’s, which I think might be a more popular liquor in most households.) Blend for a few minutes or until it’s well combined and there’s no chunks of the ice cream. Pour into 2 martini glasses and serve with whipped cream and a sprinkle of the cocoa mix you used to rim the glasses!

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If you’d rather have a shaken drink, replace the ice cream with an additional 1/2 cup of chocolate milk and shake everything together in a cocktail shaker instead.

Next up is the hot chocolate mix!

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This is a recipe for a dry mix that can be stored for up to three months and makes about 6-7 servings or so. I typically make a bunch of it starting around Thanksgiving and always keep some on hand throughout the whole winter! If you don’t have any candy canes left over from Christmas you can always leave them out, or buy some generic peppermint candies at the grocery store.

In a food processor, add 1 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, and 2 candy canes (or 10 round peppermint candies) that are crushed into small pieces. Pulse it together until everything is combined and the white chocolate chips and peppermint candy pieces have been ground up finely.

When you’re ready to serve, put 1/3 cup of the mix into a mug and heat 6 ounces of milk in a separate cup. Pour the hot milk overtop of the mix, stir, and serve! Top with whipped cream and a candy cane, if desired. You could also add an ounce or two of Baileys, which I have found tastes fabulous in peppermint drinks. (A peppermint latte with Baileys – heaven!)

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Full Recipes:

Blended Chocolate Martini

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

1 tsp powdered sugar
1 tsp cocoa powder

1 scoop chocolate ice cream
1/2 cup chocolate milk
2 ounces RumChata (or Bailey’s)
2 ounces Creme de Cacao
2 ounces Kahlua

Process:

1) Combine powdered sugar and cocoa powder in a shallow dish, making a circle with the mixture about the size of the rim of your chosen glasses.

2) Dip the rim of a glass in the water about 1/4 inch, shake off the excess, and then dip it in the cocoa mixture. Repeat with second glass, then set aside.

3) In a blender, add ice cream, chocolate milk, RumChata, Creme de Cacao, and Kahlua. Blend 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Pour into prepared glasses and garnish with whipped cream and leftover cocoa mixture!

Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mix

Yield: About 6-7 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
2 candy canes (or 10 peppermint candies), crushed

Process:

1) Combine all ingredients in a food processor.

2) Pulse until combined and chocolate chips and candy pieces are finely ground.

3) Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

To serve: put 1/3 cup of the mix into a mug. Heat 6 ounces of milk in a separate container. Pour the hot milk over the mix, stir well, and garnish with whipped cream and a candy cane.

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*Valentine’s Week* Chocolate Mousse

Okay, so I’m breaking the Valentine’s rules here a little and doing a recipe that isn’t for exactly two servings, but this mousse is so good you might just eat it all between the two of you anyway!

There aren’t many more decadent, Valentine-y desserts than the sweet, dark, rich concoction that is chocolate mousse. And sure, you could buy one of those little boxes from the store where you just add milk and whip it up, but this is sooooo much better, and doesn’t require all that much work!

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Start by putting your mixing bowl and beater(s) into the freezer to chill them. (This is important, trust me!)

What makes this mousse so chocolatey is the fact that it uses real melted chocolate for the bulk of its flavor – NOT cocoa powder! So, start by melting 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate in the microwave. (30 seconds, stir, 30 more sections, stir. If it still isn’t all melting together after that, do another 15 seconds, but remember that the heat from the melted chocolate will help to melt any remaining chunks as you stir it!)

Melted Chocolate

MAKE OR BREAK TIP: The better the chocolate, the better your mousse. Nestle semi-sweet chips are great and work fine, but if you really want to kick it up, use a brand like Ghirardelli or Godiva.

Once your chocolate is melted, stir in 2 tbsp instant coffee and 2 ounces of RumChata (or a dark spiced rum). Set this aside so it cools a bit.

Take 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream in a glass measuring cup and add 1 teaspoon of raspberry gelatin powder to it. (You could use unflavored gelatin as well, or orange flavored, but I really feel like the slight hint of raspberry gives great depth to the finished mousse!) Let this stand for about 10 minutes on the counter, and then microwave it for a minute or so to heat it up. (Make sure the cream doesn’t boil!)

Gelatin

Stir the cream & gelatin together to combine, and then fold this mixture into your melted chocolate and transfer the new chocolate mixture to a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Take your bowl & beaters out of the freezer and add 1 cup of chilled heavy cream. (If you’re using a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment.) To the cream, add 2 tbsp of cocoa powder and 2 tbsp powdered sugar. Put the mixer on a medium to high speed and whip for about 2 minutes or until the cream has solidified to stiff peaks.

Whipped cream

**Fun fact, this by itself is simply a chocolate whipped cream and is fabulous on top of a myriad of desserts, from hot chocolate to ice cream to cake!**

Once the cream is done, carefully fold it into your melted chocolate mixture in 3 batches.

MAKE OR BREAK TIP: “Folding” is done by using a spatula; you move it down into the chocolate, across the bottom of the bowl, and then back up out the top. This allows the mousse to remain airy and fluffy. You might still have a few streaks of the cream visible, but that’s okay – you don’t want to over-work it!

Once you have everything folded together, spoon it into 6 dessert dishes and refrigerate for an hour before serving.

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Between the coffee, rum, and raspberry gelatin, this mousse goes from good to fabulous! It has so much depth, so even though it takes a little bit of work, it’s very, very worth it!

Full Recipe:

Chocolate Mousse

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp instant coffee powder
2 ounces RumChata or dark spiced rum

1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp raspberry gelatin powder

1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder

Process:

1) Put a mixing bowl and mixer beater(s) in the freezer to chill. (If using a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment.) In a microwave safe bowl, melt 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir. Then for another 30 seconds, and stir again.

2) To the melted chocolate, add 2 tbsp instant coffee powder and 2 ounces of RumChata or dark spiced rum. Set aside to cool.

3) To a glass measuring cup, add 1/4 cup heavy cream and raspberry gelatin powder. Let stand for 10 minutes, then microwave for about 1 minute. (Don’t allow the cream to boil.) Stir to combine.

4) Fold in the cream-gelatin mixture to the melted chocolate.

5) Remove your chilled bowl and beaters from the freezer and attach to stand mixer. To the bowl, add 1 cup chilled heavy cream, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar. Beat on high for 2 minutes or until stiff peaks form.

6) Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture in 3 doses. (Don’t overwork it.) Spoon the mousse into 6 dessert glasses and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

*Valentine’s Week* Chocolate Parfait with Rum Whipped Cream

Happy Valentine’s Week! This week is dedicated to decadence and romance, since Valentine’s Day is this Friday! These recipes are of course good the rest of the year, too – but for a day that practically worships chocolate, I’m focusing on that delightful sweet dessert ingredient all week!

I’m kicking things off with a recipe that can actually prove to be very versatile, as the two components of the recipe (the chocolate cake and the whipped cream) can be used by themselves elsewhere, or together in other combinations than what I’ve given here.

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I truly feel like I’ve stumbled onto a gold mine with this mini chocolate cake recipe. It’s just enough batter for two light, fluffy, and moist cupcakes – and it’s decadently dark and rich!

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and putting two cupcake liners in a cupcake pan. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave for 30 seconds and set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup flour, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together 1 egg, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/4 cup milk. Slowly pour in melted butter, whisking steadily while you’re pouring. Once this is combined, switch to a wooden spoon or spatula and stir in your flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Once it’s combined, pour into the two cupcake liners.

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If you’re like me and can’t resist having a bit of the batter while you’re mixing, it should fit nicely into two cups. If you do have a little extra, then just bake three cupcakes instead of two!

Bake them for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Once they have cooled, take a serrated knife (a steak knife works great) and slice each cupcake into 3 even layers.

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Place the layers on a dish lined with parchment paper and pop them in the freezer, along with your stand-mixer mixing bowl and whisk attachment, for ten minutes or so.

Once your bowl and whisk are chilled, attach them to your stand mixer and a 1/2 cup of chilled heavy cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and one tablespoon of RumChata (or another favorite rum). Beat this on a high speed for a minute or so, then add 1/3 cup powdered sugar and continue to beat on high until stiff peaks form.

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Once the whipped cream is done, you’re ready to assemble! Make sure your glasses are wide enough to accommodate the width of your sliced cupcakes. Start with the whipped cream, add a layer of cake, and then topped with whipped cream. Continue until both glasses have 3 cake layers with whipped cream at the bottom and the top. Serve immediately, or keep refrigerated until you’re ready to serve!

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If you don’t wan’t to be so fancy, you could also just make the cupcakes and frost them with the whipped cream, or even pipe the whipped cream inside them!

*You could also make chocolate whipped cream by swapping out the rum for chocolate liqueur and adding 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the powdered sugar!

Full Recipe:

Chocolate Parfait with Rum Whipped Cream

Yield: Two parfaits

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cupcakes:
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Whipped Cream:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp RumChata
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Process:

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with two cupcake paper liners.

2) Melt butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. Set aside to cool.

3) In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

4) In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together egg, sugar, milk, and vanilla. Slowly pour in butter, while whisking continuously.

5) Once wet ingredients are combined, switch to a wooden spoon or spatula and stir in flour mixture to wet ingredients.

6) Pour finished batter into prepared baking pan and bake for 12-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

7) Cool in pan for 5 minutes and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

8) Once the cupcakes are cooled, cut them with a serrated knife into 3 layers each and place them on a parchment paper lined dish in the freezer, along with your stand mixer’s bowl and whisk attachment, for 10 minutes.

9) After the 10 minutes has passed, attach the bowl and whisk to the stand mixer and beat heavy cream, RumChata, and vanilla on high for about a minute, then add powdered sugar and continue to beat on high until stiff peaks form.

10) Layer whipped cream and cake layers in parfait glasses, so there is whipped cream on the bottom, top, and between each cake layer. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve.