Almond Chocolat Chaud with Homemade Almond Marshmallows

In France the hot chocolate is extra thick and rich.  This can be achieved by either using more cream, or more high quality chocolate, but this recipe does both.  It’s especially delicious when you add homemade marshmallows, which it turns out originated in Egypt and were invented around 2000 B.C.!  Who knew?!  I flavored mine with almond extract, but next time I will replace it with peppermint in both the hot chocolate and the marshmallows.

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Serves 4 moderate chocolate lovers or 2 chocoholics

Almond Chocolat Chaud

  • 3/4 C Chopped dark chocolate
  • 2 C milk
  • 1 C half & half
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 T. sugar
  1. Heat milk and half & half in saucepan until just before boiling
  2. Pour hot milk mixture over chocolate in blender and let chocolate melt
  3. Add almond extract and sugar and blend until chocolate is completely blended into milk
  4. Top with almond marshmallows

Homemade Almond Marshmallows

I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen for my marshmallows, and substituted the vanilla with almond extract.  I sprinkled mine with crushed almonds before I let them set and cut them out with a heart shaped cookie cutter.

 

 

Dark Chocolate Torte with Sparkling Sugared Cranberries

The twinkling red cranberries on this torte make it perfect for a holiday spread!  I’d never eaten a raw cranberry before I made this torte and I was a little nervous that they would be too bitter, and I’ll admit I was mostly making it because the sparkling berries just matched my table layout so well! But I was very pleasantly surprised and excited to find that the rich sweetness of the torte was perfectly offset with the little pops of tart, fruity flavor from the cranberries and I ended up having a hard time keeping “helpers” from eating them all before they made it onto the cake.  I wanted to make another as soon as this cake was gone and I think I will make this cake a regular Christmas time treat.

 

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Dark Chocolate Torte
Recipe adapted slightly from Desserts for Breakfast

10 Tbs coconut oil or 9 Tbs butter
12 oz dark chocolate (chopped)
1/3 c + 1/4 c granulated sugar
6 large eggs (separated)
1 1/2 tspn ground cinnamon
1/2 tspn salt

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch round springform pan and line bottom with parchment paper.
2. Put the butter, chocolate and 1/3 c sugar In a bain-maie (or a bowl suspended over simmering water) and stir until everything is melted and mixed well. Remove from heat and let cool to warm temperature.
3. Whisk egg yolks until well mixed.  Gradually pour the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture, whisking continuously.  Stir in ground cinnamon and salt.
4. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 1/4 c sugar and continue to whip just until stiff peaks start to form, not more.
5. Stir a third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Then, fold in the remainder of the egg whites just until there are no more visible streaks. Be careful not to overmix.
6. Immediately pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the top of the cake is dry, but do not let the cake crack. Remove the cake from the oven. The middle should still be a bit jiggly, but the cake will continue to set as it cools. Place the cake on a wire cooling rack and let cool completely before unmolding.
7. Once the cake is cooled and removed from springform pan, coat with ganache by pouring it over the edges of the torte and fill sunken center with sugared cranberries. (recipes below)

 

Dark Chocolate Ganache
1/2 c dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 c heavy cream

Heat cream on stove until right before it starts to boil.  Pour the cream over the chocolate in a bowl and let sit for about 30 seconds.  Stir together until mixture is shiny and smooth.  Let cool.

 

Sugared Cranberries
Recipe found here
*Tip- these cranberries take longer than you might think, as you need to let them cool and dry, so plan accordingly

 

Holiday Dinner Party

The Best things about the Holidays to me are family, friends and food, and dinner parties are one of my favorite ways to enjoy all of those things at once.  This dinner party setup was inspired by a gold and cranberry color scheme and uses gold painted natural elements like acorns and leaves for a glammed up earthy aesthetic.  I’m excited for all of the dinners and celebrations to come!  What are your favorite holiday traditions?

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Gold leaves and acorns hung from branches over the table make a great centerpiece that won’t get in the way of food and faces.

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This Dark Chocolate Torte with sparkling sugared cranberries is a perfect combination of sweet and tart.

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Hand printed pomegranate napkins

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Frozen cranberries make are a great way to keep your drink cold, and pretty at the same time.

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Autumn Tea Party

It’s time to embrace Autumn and all of the cozy sweaters and pumpkin-spiced-everythings that come with it!  This is my favorite season, so we celebrated with an Autumn tea party picnic.  We spread out large pieces of lace to lounge on and sipped Caramel Apple Cider (because I like it 100 times better than any tea actually) and ate delicious Golden Squash Soup with chive and cheddar biscuits and finished it all off with Pumpkin Spice and Tiramisu macarons (Recipes to come).  It was the perfect fall afternoon, the sun was out but the air was perfectly crisp and just a bit cool, just the excuse I’ve been waiting for to finally bring out my favorite sweaters.

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 Photography done by: Michael Bunn Photography

 

Nepalese Necklace and Pleated Skirt

This is my favorite necklace ever in the entire world.  I found it at a flea market when I was in Santa Fe for one of my dad’s art shows.  I like it so much because A) It’s from Nepal, and I love mixing pieces from different cultures in with more classic pieces, B)  I love big necklaces as a statement piece, this one has it’s own place to hang when I’m not wearing it, because it’s really a work of art, and C) Any time you can find something you like in a really unexpected place (like anywhere with the word “flea” in it), it feels like you found hidden treasure!

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Necklace: Flea Market, Shirt: Natalie Wynn, Skirt: Natalie Wynn

Photography by: Jenine Perez

Midsummer Night

My family likes to find any excuse to have a party, and for this one it was Midsummer night.  Of course this is one you need to celebrate outdoors and luckily, my parents have a beautiful backyard!  Getting everything ready is just as fun as the party is in my family, and it was a wonderful day spent with my mom and sisters putting everything together.  There were peonies from my mom’s garden, her delicious strawberry rhubarb lemonade, and twinkling lights hanging in the trees.  The boys were all very nice about us making them dress up and there were even some bow ties involved!

 

 

 

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Photography by: Michael Bunn Photography

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