Drinks

Day 3 of A Week of Holiday Cocktails – Mint Chocolate Martinis

Mint Chocolate Martinis

Is it a dessert?

Is it a cocktail?

Who the heck cares because it’s ridiculously amazing!

Mint Chocolate Martinis

These decadent martinis are the TRUTH as they combine the rich flavors of chocolate and mint — one of my favorite flavor combos. And with 5 different spirits in it, you know the Holiday spirit will be flowing should you serve these at your upcoming festivities.

Since these martinis are on the sweeter side, you can also opt to serve them as a dessert to avoid any baking or fussy pastries–not a bad idea if you’re trying to avoid unnecessary stress during holiday entertaining.

Mint Chocolate Martinis

We’ve got a bunch of little munchkins in my family so I’m often mixing up cocktails for the adults and mocktails for the kiddos. To make a non-alcoholic spin on these Mint Chocolate Martinis, fill a shaker with chocolate syrup, milk, a splash of heavy cream, dash of vanilla extract and a drop of mint extract. Shake it all up and strain into glasses–but don’t forget the candy cane rims!

Cheers to all!

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Mint Chocolate Martinis

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 candy canes
ice
3 ounces vanilla vodka
2 ounces Bailey’s® Mint Chocolate Irish cream
2 ounces
Kahlúa
1 ounce creme de cacao
splash of peppermint schnapps
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup

In a food processor, grind the candy canes until it becomes the texture of sand. Pour the candy on to a small plate. Wet the rim of each glass with water and roll the edge into the candy canes.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in the vodka, Bailey’s®, Kahlúa, creme de cacao and peppermint schnapps. Shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Swirl the inside of 2 glasses with the chocolate syrup and strain the contents of the cocktail shaker between the two. Enjoy!

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Desserts/Pastries

Peppermint Kissed Brownies

Peppermint Kissed Brownies

 

My last peppermint related post of the year—I promise!

But with half a bag of Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses left from our Candy Cane “Kissed” Nutella Cookies, I needed an excuse to use them all up. And of course, Brownies seemed like the perfect answer.

Quick, easy, fudgy, and minty.

Not a bad way to use up holiday candy. 🙂

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Peppermint Kissed Brownies

Ingredients:

½ Cup Unsalted Butter
1½ Cups Chocolate, chopped
¾ Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
½ Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
2 Large Eggs
¾ Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
¼ Teaspoon Salt
¼ Teaspoon Baking Powder
½ Cup Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper for easy removal. Cover parchment paper with cooking spray.

In a heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate in the microwave until smooth. Do this in 20 second intervals, stirring in between to ensure that you do not scorch the chocolate. Cool the chocolate mixture until room temperature. Stir in brown sugar and vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, until mixture is glossy and smooth.

Whisk together remaining ingredients and combine with chocolate mixture. Spread batter evenly in pan.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and quickly sprinkle the Candy Cane Kisses all over the top. Lightly press the Kisses into the brownies and return to the oven. Bake for an additional 3 minutes. Cool brownies in pan for about 20 minutes, then lift brownies in the paper out of the pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Desserts/Pastries

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

 

Need an easy and delicious treat for the holidays? This is it—seriously.

Every Holiday season I make batches of this White Chocolate Peppermint Bark–not only because how quick it comes together but it’s darn delicious! Creamy, minty and lightly crunchy from the peppermint bits. Package them in festive holiday tins with colorful ribbons and BADA-BING, BADA-BOOM….Fabulously Yummy Gifts.

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White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Ingredients:

12 Ounces Quality White Chocolate, chopped
½ Cup Peppermint Candy, crushed
½ Teaspoon Peppermint Extract

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or use a silicon mat. Place peppermint candy in a plastic bag. With a kitchen mallet, break up the candy into small pieces.

Using a double boiler method, melt the white chocolate stirring slowly until smooth. Remove from heat and quickly mix in the candy and extract. Pour melted chocolate onto the cookie sheet. Using a rubber spatula, spread out the chocolate evenly across the parchment paper until it is approximately ¼ inch thick. Holding each side of the cookie sheet, lightly rap on the counter to remove any possible air bubbles. Set aside the cookie sheet in a cool area and allow 2-3 hours to harden. Once firm, break the bark into large pieces and serve. Bark should be stored in airtight containers to maintain freshness.

 


Desserts/Pastries

Peppermint Crisps = Confidence Boost

Peppermint Crisps

 

Today was one of those days in the kitchen. You know what I’m talking about….those days where everything you attempt seems to go to heck in a handbag. It started at about 7:30am and after 4 failed desserts/pastries, I finally had to throw in the towel at about 1:00pm. I won’t get into the details of every misadventure but it was bad. Really bad.

Yes, I was the epitome of a Hot Mess.

But then I took a look at my nieces who I had promised a full day of baking to and decided to put on my big girl panties and get back into the kitchen. Their Cô Nam (auntie) is no quitter!

Since I was nursing a little bruised spirit, I opted for a sweet treat that required no “baking” and few ingredients. Hey—I was trying to increase my odds for success to end the day off in a good note. 🙂

Luckily, The Galley Gourmet recently posted a recipe for “Peppermint Crisps” and they looked delectable. A few hours later and HALLELUJAH–we did it! A bright treat after a tumultuous morning.

These little guys are perfect for a “late afternoon pick-me-up” or as a small goodie to end off a meal. Wonderfully minty with the delicious finish of chocolate. Pair it with a hot cup of tea or glass of dry red wine and you’ll be a happy camper.

PHEW!!! Victory at last!

Life lesson of the day….Humility is best served alongside a piece of chocolate 🙂

Note: A tin full of these minty bites would make a wonderful gift for the holidays!

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Peppermint Crisps
From The Galley Gourmet
Makes about 2 dozen 1 1/2-inch crisps

Ingredients:

½ Cup Granulated Sugar
½ Cup Water
1½ Teaspoons Peppermint Extract, divided
4 Ounces Dark Chocolate, chopped
4 Ounces Milk Chocolate, chopped
¼ Cup Shredded Unsweetened Coconut

Line a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper.

Place sugar and water in a medium saucepan and stir to combine.  Over medium heat dissolve the sugar.  Increase the heat to medium-high and cook without stirring until the mixture turns a light caramel color, about 7-9 minutes.  Halfway through wipe the sides of the pan down with a damp pastry brush to remove and crystallization.  Remove from the heat and add 1 teaspoon of the peppermint extract.  Swirl the pan to distribute the extract.

Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and set aside for 15 minutes or until completely hardened and cooled.  Break the hardened peppermint sugar into shards and place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.  Pulse to break up the large pieces, then process until it resembles fine sand.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the chocolates in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute.  Remove from the microwave and stir.  If not melted, return to the microwave and cook for an additional 30 seconds.  Stir and repeat if necessary until the chocolate is completely melted.  Once melted, stir in the coconut, remaining peppermint extract and the processed peppermint sugar.  Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.  Using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate into a 10×8-inch rectangle, about 1/4-inch thick.  Holding the parchment to the baking sheet, gently rap the baking sheet on the counter to even the surface.  Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to harden the chocolate, about 1 hour.

Remove from the refrigerator and let rest for 5 minutes.  Gently transfer the parchment to a cutting surface. Using a 1 1/2-inch circle cutter, cut out as many rounds as you can.  Reserve the scraps for nibbling or fold into your favorite ice cream.  Store in an airtight container in a cool location or in the refrigerator for a cool peppermint taste.  Enjoy!