Happy Christmas/Chocolat!

Merry Christmas, Happy Days!

Chocolate bark is popular this year according to my blog perusing as of late. I lived in France for one Christmas season, and this combination of chocolate accompaniments, discovered at a festive chocolate exposition, won my heart: Pistachio, Almond, and Candied Orange Peel. So this was one of my Christmas treats this year!

I melted dark chocolate (70% cacao) in a double boiler, spread it thinly in a pan lined with wax paper, then topped it with those delicious things (I used salted nuts, by the way)–I let it harden in the fridge, then cut it into squares. I also made a batch with milk chocolate. Such scrumptious and perfectly balanced bites of indulgent goodness!
This stuff is special.

Incredible Edible Gifts!

A little parcel of distinctive chocolate, my Cinnamon Marshmallows, and these excellently flavorful chewy molasses ginger cookies found on a blog called SavorySaltySweet made its way to some special friends!

Happy Happy Holidays, go make some love–edible or otherwise!

Mulled Wine (in Ginger Sugar-Rimmed Glasses!)

I dedicate this post to Abby. Abby’s great. Abby’s spunky, warm, and smart. Abby and I mulled over many poems together during college English major days. Now Abby wants my mulled wine recipe.

This mulled wine is like the German favorite, Glühwein, which I found during travels has also become quite popular in wintry France (vin chaud). Mulled wine recipes are forgiving and flexible. I’ve made versions of this with cranberry juice and pineapple juice. I’ve used orange and lemon slices. Sometimes I add sherry, sometimes not. And you can adjust the amount of sugar to your tastes (or leave it out altogether!). In it’s simplest form, mulled wine is warm wine with spices. Start there and create a festive beverage you and your friends will crave each winter!

Here’s the recipe for the mulled wine I’m enjoying tonight (in yoga pants, with knitting needles), but it would be equivalently excellent at your upcoming Holiday party (in fancy velvet dresses and ties or tacky festive sweaters!).

In whatever atmosphere you choose to sip it, this winter drink will make you warm and undeniably fuzzy.

Mulled Wine
serves 5-6

6 cups dry red wine
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sherry
8-10 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)
1 orange, sliced thin

Put everything in a large pot, and heat over medium-low heat for 1-2 hours so the flavors can blend. Don’t let the mixture come to a boil. Serve in mugs or heat-proof glasses, perhaps with a piece of orange slice to garnish. *Don’t forget to fish out those little cloves before serving!

Sugar looks lovely on a dark mug too!

For a Ginger Sugar-Rimmed glass or mug, mix 1/4 cup white sugar with 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger in a bowl. With a slice of orange, carefully moisten the rim of your glass, trying to get an even rim. Dip the rim into the bowl of ginger sugar, then shake off the excess. Now, that’s pretty and sparkly and easy, and just a bit sweeter with every sip!