Valentine's Day is on the horizon. Skip the heart-shaped chocolate boxes, skip the generic bouquets, avoid the lame cards, and make something yourself. Make this Valentine's Day a dark chocolate love fest with dark chocolate cakes and a homemade, spicy, dark sipping chocolate called Atole (ah-toe-lay).
I believe in salvaging old buildings, vintage pieces, rocky relationships and cake, maybe cake above all else. Three sad layers or ricotta cheesecake became a passable layer cake, and I set to smoke and mirrors trickery: dark chocolate drizzles, pomegranate arils, chocolate dipped citrus and even the pomegranate shell, which was too intricate and pretty to meet the compost bin just yet.
A year can hold so much, yet it's easy to overlook the many moments that should fill us with lasting gratitude. That's why, come New Year's Day, I like to nestle in and really look back at the love and care I put into this, my corner of the web. I do this so as to celebrate, rather than denigrate, my efforts. It's all too easy to critique the times when I didn't post frequently, or to compare myself to other bloggers, but when I see all these recipes, adventures and posts together, I find contentment in the nostalgia (and my ever changing hair).
After presents, finishing touches on a dessert and sufficient lazing, we bundled up and joined the family for more festivities including a prime rib that fed everyone for days. It was all so cozy, I'm not quite ready to admit Christmas has passed. What about you? What did you bake/gift/receive? Here's to hiding under the blankets, watching the snowfall and eating cookies for a bit longer!
You could think of this whole grain Gingerbread Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Gingerbread Twigs as too involved, or you could think of it as an excuse to spend a day in the kitchen, mull some wine, sip said wine, light the pine-scented candles and embrace the winter spirit.
I was beginning to think Christmas tree farms were a thing of Hallmark, Hallmark movies or quaint New England towns that feel like Hallmark come to life (or better yet, scenes from "Christmas Vacation"). But thanks to my friend Theresa, I discovered Christmas tree farms do in fact exist, and more importantly, one does in fact exist nearby(ish)!
I like to think of homemade eggnog as winter's milkshake. It's richness naturally makes it a slow slipper, so it's hard to overdo it with this treat, but to kick up the indulgence factor (but teeter on the cusp of reasonable indulgences), try pairing your sips with a Healthyish cake for one.
Don't panic [mostly a note to self], but the calendar is in a last-lap, sprint situation with Christmas. It's time to finalize gift ideas, dot the i's and cross the t's on the menu, and put the shopping list in motion. Here's a Holiday Recipe Roundup of some of my favorite edible gifts and desserts from holidays past!