Hot Chocolate for the Florida Cold

Sorry for the delay with this week’s post. I’ve had guests back to back for the past two weeks, so I haven’t done much in the way of cooking. I did, however, make peanut butter cups and meatball sliders for two Halloween events. I cheated on the slider recipe by using premade meatballs (I know, I know. I’m a horrible person. But I was in a rush!) but I might post the recipe this week anyway.

The South has had a bit of a drop in temperature this weekend , so to celebrate Florida cold–it was 65 degrees yesterday so boot weather >.>–I made up a batch of hot chocolate. I’ve got a lot of friends who LOVE hot chocolate, so they were quick to toss out much appreciated tips! The orange extract tip comes from Julie and the cinnamon sticks tip comes from Jonathon. So thanks, guys :)!

Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 blocks of 4.5 oz Hershey dark chocolate, crumbled
  • 4 blocks of 4.5 oz Hershey milk chocolate, crumbled
  • 2 blocks of Ghirardelli 60% cocoa baking chocolate, crumbled
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp orange extract
  • 1/4 tsp espresso
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Cinnamon sticks

Directions:

  1. Combine whipping cream, milk, and sugar in medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly and vigorously for 4 to 5 minutes (do NOT bring to a boil. We only want to heat the liquids.)
  2. Stir in vanilla and orange extracts.
  3. Add espresso and salt and stir for 1 to 2 minutes or until dissolved completely.
  4. Add chocolates to mixture and stir over medium heat for 1 to 2  minutes or until completely melted. Remove from heat and continue to stir for 1 additional minute.
  5. Pour hot chocolate into your favorite mug, add a cinnamon stick, and sit down with a good book (I’m reading The Time in Between by Maria Duenas). Enjoy!
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Tomato Soup + Grilled Cheese Sandwich

It was 75 degrees in Orlando this weekend, and that means that fall is officially here. Sure, it was still hot because of all the sunshine (and to be honest, I was tempted to go to the pool), but we can’t ask for much cooler weather in early October.

As mentioned in a previous post, fall is my favorite time of the year, so I spent the weekend decorating for it (I went a little crazy. I’ll repent this weekend?) I put away my airy blue accessories in favor of pumpkins, citrus potpourri, and a touch of black (Halloween’s coming, after all). With the house fully decorated, all that was left was the meal.

Nothing screams “it’s getting colder!” like tomato soup. It’s rich, it’s filling, and it’s a lovely shade of fall. For this particular recipe, I suggest making the soup one day in advance so that the sugar has time to do its thing.

Tomato Soup

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 1/2 cup onions, diced
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 5 basil leaves, chopped
  • 28 oz plum tomatoes
  • 2 vine ripe tomatoes
  • 3 tbsps Swanson Mexican Tortilla Broth
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 tbsp pepper
  • 2 tbsps coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp Tabasco

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, sautee garlic and onions in butter and olive oil over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Reduce to medium heat.
  2. Add both kinds to tomatoes to garlic/onion mixture and let simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add chicken and tortilla broth. Add pepper, salt, basil leaves, and Tabasco. Cook on high heat for 2 to 3 minutes and then reduce to low heat. Cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Remove soup from stovetop. Add soup to a blender, filling blender about 1/2 way. Pulse soup for at least 30 seconds, or until smooth.
  5. Serve warm or refrigerate and serve later :).

 

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of Italian bread
  • 1 slice of cheddar cheese
  • 1 slice of white cheddar cheese (or provolone)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tbsp butter, divided

Directions:

  1. Assemble sandwich.
  2. Add 1/2 of the olive oil and half of the butter to a small skillet. Place skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the sandwich to butter/oil when butter/oil is hot. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. Add remaining butter and olive oil and flip the sandwich.
  5. Repeat step 3.

 

 

On a side note, this paired perfectly with the premiere of The Flash :)!

Peanut Butter Cookies

It’s officially my favorite time of the year–FALL! It’s time the for holidays (here’s looking at you, Halloween and Thanksgiving) and comfort food, so you can bet I’ll be spending the next two months cooking up a storm. Well, four months. Let’s throw winter in there, too, seeing as how fall and winter are a pair.

I’m still on a peanut butter high (yup) and since I really liked the way those peanut butter cups turned out, I decided to make peanut butter cookies. I’ve never been a huge fan of pb cookies, but I thought that adding a bit of powdered sugar–the thing that makes peanut butter cups so delicious–might help with that, and I think I had the right idea. Top these cookies with sugar and chocolate, and all is well.

I think I’ll add orange frosting to the next batch and make them Halloween-themed :)!

Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1/4 cup bread flour
  • 2 tsps sugar, for rolling

Directions:

  1. Cream butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl on low speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract.
  3. Add flours, baking powder, baking salt, and salt to butter/sugar mixture. Beat on low speed until well combined, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.
  5. Shape dough into balls and roll into sugar.
  6. Place dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake on 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until cookies are a light, golden color. If adding Hershey’s kisses, press kiss into the center of the cookie immediately after removing the cookie from the oven.