Spicy Orange-Bourbon Hot Chocolate

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How was your Thanksgiving weekend? Ours was good. It was easy and fun. I made this Chocolate Mousse Pie with Phyllo Crust and it was SO GOOD and much simpler to make than I anticipated. I’m obsessed with it and plan to make it for Christmas, since my brother loves chocolate pie and this version is my new favorite. I also mades these dinner rolls and the mashed potatoes–which I kept warm in the slow cooker and it’s totally my new favorite trick. I also learned that I find rice-ing potatoes super satisfying. It’s on par with melon-balling. I’m a weirdo. Casper snatched a handful of stuffing from Sean’s plate, but luckily he couldn’t figure out how to put it in his mouth (since he’s not on solids yet) and ended up just sucking on the back of his hand instead.  It was pretty funny.

In lieu of Black Friday shopping, I stayed at home in my jams all day, did a bit of online shopping, and decked the dang halls because I LOVE CHRISTMAS. I love it, guys. A lot.

I also made this spicy, boozey, hot chocolate. Sean and his brother had some after kicking the soccer ball around at the park and I’m pretty sure it was the perfect warm-up since it was super cold and windy out there. It’s made with chopped chocolate, so it’s super-rich and creamy. There’s also orange zest in there, which cuts the richness a bit and adds a ton of flavor. The cayenne is spicy and brings on another level of heat, while the bourbon warms everything up in the way only bourbon can.

It’s seriously so good. This may be the winter of hot chocolate. I hope you don’t mind.

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Spicy Orange-Bourbon Hot Chocolate

Makes 2-3 servings

2 cups whole milk

2-3 large pieces of orange peel

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

2 ounces bourbon

whipped cream, additional chopped chocolate, and cayenne for topping

In a saucepan combine the milk with the orange peel and cayenne. Warm the milk over medium heat in a saucepan until small bubbles begin to appear around the edges and the milk begins to steam. Try to avoid boiling it. Turn off the heat and add the chopped chocolate, then cover with a lid and let it sit for a minute or two before whisking to combine. Whisk in the bourbon and pour into 2 or 3 mugs, top generously with whipped cream and a sprinkle of chopped chocolate and cayenne.

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Ginger Bourbon Cider

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I’ve never been a big drinker, especially post-baby, but I do enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine every so often. This cocktail has been my jam this season! I made it for the first time when we had some friends over for an impromptu game night and it was a hit. It combines some of my favorite autumnal flavors–apple and ginger–in an easy-drinking libation.

The ingredients are pretty familiar, for the most part. The only semi-exotic thing being the Calvados–which is simply French apple brandy. It’s warm and caramel-y with lots of apple flavor without being a neon-green-sour-apple situation. It’s one of my favorite fall liquors to cook with (use it to deglaze a pan of pork chops!), but also makes a great addition to this fall-time cocktail. Besides the Calvados, we have warming bourbon, fresh apple cider, fizzy-spicy ginger beer, a little bitters, and a pinch of cinnamon. The combination makes for a cocktail that’s reminiscent of hot apple cider, but packs a refreshingly fizzy, tipsy punch.

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Ginger Bourbon Cider

Makes 1 stiff drink.

Calvados can be found at any well-stocked liquor store. It’s a bit of an investment for your bar, but makes a great addition for fall cocktailing–it’d be great in a hot toddy! and like I mentioned, it’s awesome for deglazing for an excellent pan sauce. There are a few different brands, so choose the one that best fits your bar-budget. That said, this cocktail doesn’t suffer much without it, just add more bourbon!

1 ounce bourbon

1 ounce Calvados

2-3 ounces apple cider

a few shakes of orange, or classic, bitters

ginger beer

pinch of ground cinnamon

Fill a cocktail glass with ice (I like crushed, but cubes work just fine). Combine the bourbon, Calvados, apple cider, and bitters. Top the drink with ginger beer–more or less depending on how strong of a drink you’d like–stir and sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon.

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All the Pumpkin!

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I have some pumpkin plans for the blog this month but, until I get that stuff baked up, here’s a round-up of ALL THE PUMPKIN things on the blog.

Get yo’ pumpkin on!

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Buns

Soft Pumpkin Sandwich Buns

Malted Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Brown Butter Malt Donuts

Maple Pumpkin Granola

Pumpkin Cinnamon Bun Ice Cream

Pumpkin Semifreddo

Pumpkin Beer Waffles

Pumpkin Bread with Bourbon Icing

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins