Holiday Cookies and Hot Beverages
“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary, is that little something extra” ~WG
Nothing warms the heart or helps you get into the holiday spirit more than giving or receiving a little something extra. During this season of celebrations, treat yourself, family and friends while you decorate, wrap gifts, or warm yourself after ice skating.
Here are a few “little something extras “that are easy to make and fun to drink.
Hot chocolate smell good, tastes great and warms your body. Add 3.5 ounces of Bailey’s Irish cream to a warmed mug and blend in your favorite hot chocolate and top with fresh whipped cream. Garnish with a shake of nutmeg or cinnamon.
For the nutty just a “little something extra”, add 3.5 ounces of frangelico (a hazelnut liquor) in a warmed mug and blend in your favorite hot chocolate and top with fresh whipped cream, and garnish with crushed or shaved hazelnuts.
For a minty “little something extra”, add 2 to 3 ounces of peppermint schnapps to a warmed mug and blend in your favorite hot chocolate. Top with fresh whipped cream and garnish with a peppermint candy cane and or a fresh sprig of mint.
Creamy rich and savory eggnog can be elevated to an enticing elixir showing sweeter notes and more caramel when blended with rum. Bourbon brings a note of oak and lifts the aromas and flavors of vanilla when blended with eggnog. Brandy and cognac offer contrast to the sweet creamy aromas and flavors of eggnog and elevate the spiciness just a touch. Add 1.5 to 2 to ounces of rum, bourbon, or brandy to youra shaker with 4/6 ice cubes add 6 ounces of your favorite eggnog shake and strain in to a festive glass, and garnish with a pinch of fresh nutmeg and or cinnamon stick.
Hot chocolate, eggnog and cookies are a decadent pairing that are perfect for each other. Its only once a year, so go for it. Here is a simple sugar cookie recipe that you can make and decorate while you enjoy your “little something extras”.
What you will need:
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
powdered sugar (for rolling out dough)
How to make it:
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl.
Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If the dough has warmed during rolling, place a cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill.
Cut into desired shape, (most grocery stores sell holiday shaped cutters) place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time.
Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Colored icings and bright add on can be purchased at most grocery stores and easily applied. Makes about 3 dozen 2.5 inch cookies. Adapted from the food network and Alton Brown
Merry Christmas, the Cork Staff.