Welcome to Imbibe Magazine's between-issues look at liquid culture with drink recipes, news and more. From coffee to cocktails, Imbibe celebrates your world in a glass.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Countdown: 10 Days to Go!

With Christmas less than two weeks away, the holiday hustle and bustle is ramping up, and all of the shopping, entertaining and festivities can put even the most laid-back revelers into a tailspin. So we’re here to help. From now until Christmas Eve, we’ll be offering up daily recipes, gift ideas and entertaining tips on our blog that will guide you through the next couple of weeks. First up in our countdown is a book that will inspire you with plenty of deliciously crafty gifts ideas. Gifts Cooks Love: Recipes for Giving by Diane Morgan offers easy how-tos for everything from Blackberry-Merlot Jellies to Côtes du Rhône-Rhubarb Compote. There’s even a chapter dedicated to drink gifts, like homemade limoncello and this swoon-worthy Mexican drinking chocolate.

Mexican Drinking Chocolate
1 1/4 lb. bittersweet chocolate (61 to 66% cacao), finely chopped
2 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
2 soft, plump whole vanilla beans, split and scraped
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground chipotle chile powder
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Tools: 4 1/2-pint glass jars with tight-fitting lids, large heatproof bowl, measuring cups and spoons, paring knife, medium saucepan, silicone spatula

Wash the jars, including the lids, in hot, soapy water and dry thoroughly. Alternatively, run the jars through the regular cycle of your dishwasher; wash the lids by hand.

Place the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, bring the cream, vanilla beans (seeds and pods), cinnamon, and chipotle chile to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Using a silicone spatula, press the vanilla pods against the side of the pan to remove any remaining seeds and cream. Discard the pods.

Immediately pour the cream mixture over the chocolate, stirring constantly until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Add the corn syrup and almond extract, stirring until incorporated.

Pour the ganache into the prepared jars, dividing it evenly and leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe the rims clean and secure the lids. Label and refrigerate. Will keep refrigerated for up to two weeks.

To serve: Use a warmed spoon to measure 1/4 cup of the chocolate into a preheated mug. Stir in 4 oz. of hot or steamed milk and continue stirring until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle a little cocoa powder over the top. Serve immediately.

From Gifts Cooks Love: Recipes for Giving (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2010) by Diane Morgan