Hot cocoa is a wintertime staple. Nothing beats a decadant cup of hot cocoa on a frigid day, especially those with a special twist. Here are five delicious and creamy homemade hot chocolate recipes to help warm you up during this remaining weeks of winter.
In a saucepan, add the sugar and cocoa and whisk in the water until smooth, then whisk in the milk over medium-high heat. Heat until steaming. Remove the pan from the heat and add the peanut butter and chocolate chips. Let sit for a few seconds, then blend with a hand-held immersion blender or whisk until frothy. Finish with a touch of sea salt and some toasted marshmallows. (Don’t skip this part, because you’ll really be missing out!)
In a heavy bottomed sauce pot, combine milk and cream. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate and stir to combine. Continue to stir to until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. Divide hot chocolate among serving mugs and top with homemade marshmallows. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies.
Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows
Spray a 9×13 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line baking sheet with parchment paper like photo above. Take one piece of parchment paper and allow a little overhang over the side of the pan. Take a larger piece of parchment paper and lay it across the pan in the opposite direction to form a cross. Light coat parchment paper with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a sauce pot, combine 1/2 cup water, sugar, and corn syrup. Set over high heat and cook until mixture registers 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer (or food safe thermometer). Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Let mixture cool to 210 degrees F.
While sugar is cooking, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water. Stir to combine and allow to sit for 5 minutes to allow gelatin to bloom and absorb moisture. Heat gelatin mixture in the microwave for 20 seconds to dissolve and melt gelatin.
Pour liquid gelatin mixture into bowl with sugar mixture. Whisk on medium to medium-high speed. Once mixture starts to thicken and become white in color, add vanilla extract. Whisk to sift peaks.
Transfer mixture to prepared baking sheet. Spread mixture into an even layer using an offset spatula. Place in freezer for 30 minutes.
Remove from freezer and sprinkle powdered sugar over the surface of the marshmallow. Invert marshmallow onto a cutting board. Gently peel off parchment paper and dust exposed surfaces of marshmallow with powdered sugar.
Use a sharp knife or a sharp pair of scissors to cut marshmallow into desired shapes and sizes. Coat freshly cut marshmallows with powdered sugar.
Heat all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer whisking constantly. Simmer and whisk for 3 to 4 minutes. Strain liquid through a mesh strainer into a mug. Add any sweetener of your choice and enjoy.
Pour 1 cup of milk in medium saucepan. Cook over a medium flame until the milk just begins to simmer. Add cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon and cayenne powder to the milk. Whisk until cocoa, sugar, spices and milk are thoroughly combined. Slowly add remaining 3 cups of milk, whisking to combine. Cook over a low flame until the hot chocolate is warmed through. Serve immediately.
Are you a fan of Kent Walker Artisan Cheese? Who isn't!
Have to chance to help make one of his delicious homemade cheeses in the cheesemaker's new volunteer program.
As a small company, there is always a ton of work to do, now cheese lovers can help out in trade for free cheese.
All you have to do is sign up and they will let you know when opportunities come up to help with cheesemaking, cheese aging, packaging and more. It's a great way to get to know the cheesemakers as well as learn about how cheese is made.
Sign up here!
The new year has brought a restaurant closing to Argenta. After being in business more than 10 years, Cornerstone Pub & Grill, 314 Main St., North Little Rock, has closed.
The two-story music venue/restaurant/bar served up American grub like burgers, sandwiches, chicken plates and salads, in addition to Mexican dishes, pizza and more, and featured live music throughout the week, along with karaoke. It closed at the start of the year.
Here is the announcement posted on the pub's Facebook page on Jan. 2:
"FARE THEE WELL
After ten years, we, the management of the Cornerstone Pub and Grill, have decided to close business operations in pursuit of alternative ventures. We would like to thank the Argenta Community, the City of North Little Rock, and all of our patrons over the years for their loyalty and support. We wish you nothing but continued success in the New Year and beyond. Cheers!
Please private message us if you have any questions about leasing the property."
Rocket Twenty One restaurant is on the move.
This weekend, the eatery is officially moving from its Hillcrest location in Little Rock to its new home in front of Benihana in North Little Rock. While relocating to a brand new building, owner Frank Fletcher says the famous pieces of Blue Dog art, chefs and menu will remain the same.
As for the Hillcrest spot, Fletcher says there are plans to open an “exciting new business’ with a “new concept” but details of this new venture aren’t being disclosed yet.
To stay up-to-date on the move and on what’s coming to the previous Hillcrest location, visit http://www.twentyonerestaurant.com/
We are excited to say that Little Rock's food scene is making waves.
This week, the Forbes Travel Guide Blog named Little Rock as one of its "Five Secret Foodie Cities," a list of unexpected cities that have joined foodie meccas like San Francisco, New York City and Los Angeles.
The guide highlights how Little Rock has changed from "a land dominated by chain restaurants and barbeque joints" to a place with a more defined palate, showcasing hot spots like Ashley's at the Capital Hotel, Zaza's Fine Salad + Wood-Oven Pizza, Ciao Baci and Whole Hog Cafe.
Check out Little Rock's listing and the full list of cities here.
The newest Tex-Mex restaurant in town, Chuy’s, is celebrating The King’s birthday in style.
The eatery, 16001 Chenal Pkwy., Little Rock, will pay tribute to rock’n’roll legend, Elvis Presley, with their annual Elvis Birthday Bash to kick off 2014 on today (Jan. 8).
In honor of Elvis’ 79th Birthday Chuy's will feature all-day special pricing on menu items fit for The King, including the Elvis Green Chile Fried Chicken and the Elvis Presley Memorial Combo. Guests are invited to come dressed as the King (or his better half, Priscilla) to get a free entrée.
And you can’t have a birthday party without cake and some goodies! Chuy’s will serve free birthday cake (while supplies last), and give away Elvis-themed temporary tattoos and a special souvenir cup, available with purchase of a margarita or Blue Hawaiian. Limited-edition Elvis and Priscilla T-shirts will be available for purchase to commemorate the big day.
When Chuy’s first opened in 1982 on Barton Springs Road there was little money for restaurant décor. Chuy’s founders hit the streets with $20 in search of something to put on the walls. The over-sized velvet painting of Elvis they returned with changed the course of Chuy’s history forever. Soon, customers were donating their memorabilia and Elvis was officially named the Patron Saint of Chuy’s. They have been constructing shrines in his honor and celebrating his birthday ever since.
Get more information by calling (501) 821-2489.
Wanting to master your cooking skills in the new year?
Join Tomas Bohm, food evangelist and owner of The Pantry, 11401 Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock, as he discusses the versatility of romesco sauce with different proteins on Tuesday, Jan. 21 at Eggshells Kitchen Co., 5501 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock.
You'll be welcomed upon arrival with a glass of wine or beer, learn a ton about the delicious sauce and leave with a head full of knowledge and a satisfied tummy. Truffled popcorn will be provided as a snack!
You are welcome to bring your own choice of beverage for the meal.
Reservations are required and seats are extremely limited. Cost is $50. Contact Eggshells Kitchen Co. to reserve your spot today here or by calling (501) 664-6900.
It looks like everyone's favorite German/Czech restaurant in west Little Rock will be opening up a second location in Hillcrest at the former home of The House, located at Palm and Kavanaugh streets.
Here is the announcement made on The Pantry's Facebook page Monday (Jan. 6):
I would like to set the rumor straight. It is true indeed. We are very excited to let you know that we are adding another baby to our family. I didn't want to make my life harder but you know that feeling when something comes to you naturally. Well, The House Restaurant building in Hillcrest did just that. We are proud owners and we will open as THE PANTRY CREST same concept as our older baby. We got a lot of work ahead of us as we are rebuilding it from ground up. This 100-year old house deserves it. We will keep you updated with the progress. I hope April/ May I hope. Thank you for your support. I couldn't do this without you and my great staff . Let 2014 begin Cheers Tomas Bohm
Stay up-to-date with The Pantry and the new location by following them on Facebook here.