Author Archives: heatherhokie

Coffee Liqueur

My step siblings and I have started “Homemade Christmas” in order to save money and be more creative with our Christmas presents. Last year was the first year we did it, we agreed on this mid-December so the gifts were last-minute, but overall we impressed each other. This year, we have had months to prepare our homemade Christmas presents. Some of us are using this time wiser than others. Let’s just say when my brother called me last week to ask if I’ve started my presents yet I wasn’t surprised to hear he had just started thinking about it. I meanwhile, started in October. After getting inspired by a visit to Syracuse I ambitiously set out to to make a coffee liqueur that would impress both my friends and family.

After work one day I went to the Container Store. I had never been there before and OHMYGAWD! This was a whole store dedicated to the type A female. How had I never been here before? I walked down each aisle dazed with a giant smile on my face and a cup of coffee in my hand. Our Container Store used to be a Barnes & Noble so it is connected to a Starbucks (as if there was a way to make this an even better store). I unceremoniously bought their entire shelf of Bormioli Rocco swing-top glass bottles not daunted at all by the amount of coffee liqueur I would be making. Silly girl. This recipe was a giant mess. I managed to make our whole kitchen a sticky fly trap during the filtering process. (Bonus: my kitchen has now been thoroughly scrubbed multiple times this year). But the end product couldn’t be more delicious, and impressive!

Ingredients
4 cups brown sugar
4 cups of sugar
8 cups water
4 vanilla beans
1/2 cup espresso powder
3/4 cup of Godiva chocolate liqueur
1 handle of Smirnoff vodka (or approximately 7 cups)
Cheesecloth
Funnel

  1. In a large stockpot bring sugars and water to a boil.
  2. Reduce to a low heat simmer and allow to reduce to a syrup consistency, stirring occasionally. This will take 1-2 hours.
  3. Slice vanilla beans in half long-wise to expose tiny beans.
  4. Remove sugar mixture from heat and add remaining ingredients.
  5. Store in stockpot or large container for 30 days.
  6. Using cheesecloth and funnel filter all coffee liqueur. Note: I filtered mine into the bottles I planned to gift it in, Bormioli Rocco swing-top glass bottles (17 ounces).
  7. Allow to sit for 7-14 days.
  8. Using cheesecloth and funnel filter coffee liqueur a second time. (I was amazed how much espresso grounds still remained in the liqueur after the first filtering).

Coffee Liqueur

This recipe takes a long time, and the filtering is a sticky mess, but it is absolutely worth it! Absolutely  delicious!

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Cinnamon Pecans

I am happy to say I have all my Christmas presents purchased and wrapped! I’ve also loaned my pretty awesome wrapping skills to a few family members and friends this year (feeling a bit like one of Santa’s elves – I know what everyone is getting!) So this weekend was devoted to Christmas baking. I spent all day Saturday baking with Tarah for her to have goodies to bring to work and then all day Sunday with my mom.  I am ready for hibernation! We made mountains of cookies and candies our house looks like the set of the Nutcracker for the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. ‘Tis the Season!

In college Tarah’s mom used to send us giant bags of her Cinnamon Pecans so I begged her to show me how to make them this weekend. I could not believe how easy they were to make! (And just as yummy as I remember!)

Ingredients
2 egg whites
1 lb pecans (whole)
1 cup sugar
1 stick of butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Line a jelly-roll pan with pecans spread evenly.
  3. Melt the butter
  4. Beat egg whites and sugar for about a minute until light and foamy
  5. Add in butter and cinnamon
  6. Pour evenly over pecans
  7. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring pecans and flipping them every 10 minutes
  8. Transfer to a large bowl to allow to cool

 

CinnamonPecans

 

Merry Christmas!

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S’mores Cookies

This weekend was my 5th Annual Cookie Swap Christmas Party. Every year I try a new recipe cookie recipe, my only requirement is that it must include chocolate! I was afraid that this year’s cookie was going to be more of a Pinterest fail than a Pinterest success story. I had my first epic baking fail in a while on Friday night.

Smores3

I misread my notes and confused the amount of cornstarch and baking soda in these cookies. I accidentally put double the amount of baking soda in them. Before I finished freaking out and had a chance to throw away the delicious buttery sugar mixture, I was reminded of Taylor Swift’s wise words:

Baby I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake
Shake it off! Shake it off!

I stood over the trashcan shaking my Kitchen Aid bowl while Spotify blasted Taylor Swift into the kitchen. I was able to shake off a majority of the dry ingredients and start over on incorporating them (with some vague estimation as to how much baking soda and flour remained in the bowl). Naturally I waited until my roommate/test subject had tried my cookies and deemed them edible before trying them myself. To my pleasant surprise they were not only edible but delicious!

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients 
3 sticks of butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cup coarsely chopped graham crackers (one full packet 1/3 a box)
4 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 1/2 cups Marshmallow Bits

      1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
      2. Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
      3. Add in eggs and vanilla extract, cream an additional 2 minutes.
      4. Gently fold in flour, cornstarch and baking soda until just incorporated – do not over mix.
      5. Add in graham crackers, chocolate chips and marshmallows, be sure to keep mixer on low speed for only one minute until just added or hand-mix to avoid crushing graham crackers.

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      1. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheets at least 2 inches apart.
      2. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating cookie sheets halfway through. Note: cookies may look slightly underdone, this is due to the marshmallows.
      3. Allow to cool on cookie sheets for two minutes before moving to cooling racks.
      4. Enjoy!

Smores2

Merry Christmas!

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