RECIPE: FESTIVE HOLIDAY HOT CHOCOLATE

MAKE HOT CHOCOLATE LIKE THEY DO IN SPAIN! 

In the cafes of Barcelona, the hot chocolate is legendary. It’s served thick, dark, and rich, flavored with espresso and a hint of orange. The chocolate there is so thick, you almost need a spoon. This is my version of the hot chocolate I came to love while traveling in Spain. The taste is the same, but it is not quite as thick. For an extra kick, add a liqueur. This one is delicious with a shot of vanilla vodka and a little Grand Marnier, but would be very good with peppermint liqueur, Godiva white chocolate or a shot of lovely, dark rum. YUM!

Martie's Holiday Hot Chocolate .jpg

Why not set up a HOT CHOCOLATE BAR for your next party. Mix up a huge pot of hot chocolate. Display whipped cream, toppings, liqueurs, shavings, coffee flavorings, etc so guests can mix up their own concoction.

HOLIDAY HOT CHOCOLATE

Yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

2/3 cup  heavy cream

2 ounces  good-quality dark or bittersweet (60 to 70 percent cocoa) chocolate, finely chopped

1 1/3  cups  whole milk

1 cup Espresso or strong coffee left over from the morning (okay to cheat and use Nescafe)

1/4  cup  unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4  cup  sugar

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1  2-inch piece orange rind

Pinch salt

1/4  cup  fresh whipped cream* (optional)

Cocoa powder or chocolate shavings (optional)

DIRECTIONS: 

Combine heavy cream, chopped chocolate, cocoa, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir well to incorporate, then place over low heat, whisking constantly until chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Gradually add the salt, vanilla, orange rind, milk and coffee. Cook over medium-low heat, continuing to stir with a whisk. Heat 5 minutes or until tiny bubbles form around edge of pan, stirring frequently (do not boil). Discard the rind.

Adult version: Add one shot vanilla vodka and 1 teaspoon orange liqueur to each mug.

Pour 1 cup mixture into each of 4 mugs. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon whipped cream over each serving. Dust with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings, if desired.

COCKTAIL RECIPE: JUICY WATERMELON ECLIPSE

Weird that Facebook would send me a reminder about this cocktail today- originally published on this day in 2009- since today is the day the US will experience a full solar eclipse. Since many are celebrating the eclipse with viewing parties... here's the perfect cocktail!

I always have watermelon left over after a BBQ and this is a great way to use it. Made with Mount Gay Eclipse Rum but you can substitute another rum if you don't have it- but a golden rum tastes best. Since the fresh watermelon is the star of the show; use a big wedge or slice for garnish to make the presentation extra special. If your watermelon is super sweet, you can omit the simple syrup... or if you're without a heat source to make the simple syrup, add a bit of powdered sugar in lieu of simple syrup. It will dissolve faster than granulated sugar.

Fresh Watermelon Cocktail recipe

JUICY WATERMELON ECLIPSE

INGREDIENTS

1 ½ ounces Mount Gay Eclipse Gold Rum

Splash Grand Marnier

3-4 chunks fresh watermelon

1 ounce fresh lime juice

1 ounce fresh lemon juice

½ ounce simple syrup (recipe below)

Splash orange juice

DIRECTIONS:

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the watermelon well, making sure there are no seeds. Add the remaining ingredients and ice. Shake well and strain into chilled martini glasses.

Simple syrup: Bring equal parts water and sugar to a boil, allowing sugar to dissolve. Cool completely before adding to drinks.

WHERE TO BUY MAGIC CITY CRAVINGS COOKBOOK!

IT IS FINALLY HERE! MAGIC CITY CRAVINGS: THE MOST REQUESTED RECIPES FROM BIRMINGHAM RESTAURANTS THEN & NOW

All the recipes you asked us to find plus a few we could not resist sharing!

My new book with co-writer Chanda Temple hit stores and is already flying off store shelves. The book features an extensive history of Birmingham food, a "where to eat what" dining guide, neighborhood map, and recipes most requested by Birmingham food fans. Many thanks to Alagasco for sponsoring the book and helping us bring greater attention to Birmingham's restaurants and rapidly growing food scene.

Magic City Cravings Cookbook

The photography is again contributed by my good friends Arden Ward Upton and Mo Davis along with Frank Couch.  (I even have a few photos in this one.)

In addition to seeking out favorite recipes from popular local restaurants, food fans asked us to reach back and find "lost" recipes from restaurants which have closed which are still fondly remembered. We uncovered recipes from Birmingham standards like Joy Young, Cobb Lane, Pioneer Cafeteria, Marsh Bakery, Rossi's and more. If you had the Marsh Bakery coconut cake for your birthday each year, you can now make it yourself!

We would like to thank all of the chefs, restaurant owners and families for their generosity. By  providing their recipes and sharing stories, they made Magic City Cravings possible.

Magic City Cravings can be found in stores around Birmingham but please call first as copies have sold out in some stores and we are re-stocking as quickly as possible.

BARNES & NOBLE (The Summit)

BOOKS-A-MILLION (Inverness, Brookwood, Trussville)

BROMBERG'S (Mountain Brook Village)

LAMB'S EAR (Cahaba Heights)

GUS MAYER (The Summit)

OLEXA'S CAFE, CAKES & CATERING (Mountain Brook Village)

ROCKY RIDGE DRUG COMPANY (Rocky Ridge)

LITTLE PROFESSOR BOOKS (Homewood)

NORTON'S FLORIST (Southside)

ALABAMA GOODS (Homewood)

Magic City Cravings is $27.95 and benefits Children's of Alabama. Message us to purchase a personalized copy.