Cardamom-Orange Hot Chocolate with Cardamom Whipped Cream

hot-chocolate

I wish I could call it my secret ingredient, but I've never been able to keep my own secrets. I put ground cardamom in most things I bake. Pumpkin chocolate chip cake, oatmeal cookies, carrot cake, granola…

Then I found a recipe where the cardamom would be far from hidden.

I saw something called chocolate con leche y naraja y nata al cardamomo in a book about chocolate in a Buenos Aires bookstore. I didn't buy the book, nor could I full understand the Spanish, but I got the gist of the drink and decided to improvise my own at home.

Orange and chocolate isn't typically a combination I love, but in this drink with cardamom and cream, it's very welcome. I've made this a few times already for dessert. If there's anything more comforting than hot chocolate, it's this version.

(Which was difficult to photograph, by the way. Here I let the cocoa cool first so it wouldn't melt the whipped cream, but then the cream didn't all stay at the top of the drink, and some got covered in chocolate. A whipped cream dispenser would have helped, but it's not a gadget I would ever actually need.)

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Ginger-ade

I have a growing obsession with ginger. It’s a strong flavor, but I love it. Ginger ale is the only soda I still drink. Reed’s Ginger Brew or Bundaberg’s Ginger Beer are even better.

I tried making my own ginger ale after finding a recipe at An Hour in the Kitchen and I had whey leftover from making cheese. Then I tried a ginger beer recipe from a Caribbean cookbook I found at the library. Waiting for the proper chemical reactions to take place wasn’t my favorite, so I started experimenting.

I came up with something I call ginger-ade. It’s not ginger ale, ginger beer or ginger juice, but a very flavorful ginger drink. It’s ginger-infused water, mixed with honey and other fruit juices. And you don’t have to wait a few days for the mixture to ferment. (If you want bubbles though, add soda water.)

The recipe can be tweaked depending on your tastes and what you have on hand. I’ve made versions with orange juice, limeade and pineapple juice. However you do it, the result is a tangy, refreshing drink that’s a mix of citrus, spice and ginger. And it makes your stomach feel amazing.

Also see: Ginger Berry Ice Cream

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Jicama, Broccoli and Orange Slaw

You might not think the taste of an apple crossed with a raw potato sounds very appetizing unless you’ve tried jicama and realized that’s actually a good thing.

And if that description doesn’t have you running out to buy jicama now…

But seriously, when summer hits, and you’ve banished the thought of rutabaga and turnips, jicama jumps in and offers its crisp, refreshing bite. I turned Kat on to jicama a few weeks ago with this slaw, and she later made her mom fall in love with the veggie by pairing it with grapefruit. It’s just so light and fresh, it’s perfect for summer.

You can shred the jicama with a grater or mandoline, but I loved the knife practice of slicing the whole thing by hand. Ditto for the broccoli. You can easily buy precut broccoli slaw at the grocery store, but besides being cheaper, there was something satisfying about making all those green matchstick slivers.


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Belgian White Beer Cookies with Orange Glaze

I don’t even like beer most of the time, but this cookie recipe is a keeper.

You start with two bottles of beer then boil it down with honey until you only have 1/3 cup of liquid. Then mix it with standard cookie ingredients, plus ground coriander and orange zest.

If you enjoy the subtleties of a good brew, as Michael does, you’ll appreciate how the orange and coriander work with the flavors in the Belgian white.

Otherwise, you’ll just be thinking, “Huh, beer cookies? These are better than I imagined. I want another.”

The cookie itself is very cakey, and it stays incredibly soft even after a few days. I mean melt in your mouth soft. The glaze gives it just enough sweetness. To me, it finishes a little bitter, but as I said, I’m not usually a beer fan. Even still, I love these. Perfect for someone who doesn’t like their desserts overly sweet.

Michael and I made these in the winter when I saw the recipe on Cookie Madness. When we made them again last weekend, they were better than I remembered. I’ll definitely be making these in the future. Continue reading “Belgian White Beer Cookies with Orange Glaze”