Now Serving – Ho Ho Ho-Cho!

By The Lady

Ho Ho Ho Cho7

As I am sure you are all aware, Thursday was Christmas Day. Accordingly, at the end of a very long day, The Gentleman and I collapsed on the couch in a food induced comma after driving cross country! While we were completely stuffed, we still had a hankering for something festive, decadent,  and a little bit naughty. Therefore, we introduce to you, the Ho Ho Ho-Cho!

Ho Ho Ho Cho4

During the week, my housemate kindly gifted us a jar of The Food Curators’ Healthy Nutella. From the outset of receiving this tasty spread, we knew it was destined to be incorporated into one of our drinks. Considering that a hot chocolate would be the perfect drink to satisfy our festive urges, the Healthy Nutella was the perfect addition to our Christmas nightcap. Also, after our first visit to Bank Street Social on International Rum Day, we fell in love with Stolen Spiced Rum (I think we possibly may have drank their entire supply that night!). We finally got around to acquiring a bottle of our own to demolish, so this too was to be an essential ingredient in our festive ho-cho.

Ho Ho Ho Cho3

Ho Ho Ho-Cho!

1 cup of milk

3 tablespoons of The Food Curators Healthy Nutella

1 tablespoons of Mörk Original Dark Hot Chocolate Powder

60mL of Stolen Spiced Rum

Ho Ho Ho Cho1

Add the Healthy Nutella, Mörk Hot Chocolate powder, and the milk into a saucepan on a low heat. Stir until the chocolate powder has dissolved completely. Turn off the heat and add the spiced rum. And ta-da! Have yourself a Ho Ho Ho-Cho!

Ho Ho Ho Cho6

The Ho Ho Ho-Cho was the perfect end to the day, really. The Healthy Nutella, made by the lovely ladies at The Food Curators, had a lovely nutty texture which really added a unique textural element to our naughty ho-cho. The spiced rum had a deliciously warm and festive flavour that really packed a punch. Overall, we think we may have to make the Ho Ho Ho-Cho a yearly occurrance!

We hope you all had a great a Christmas filled with cocktails and delicious things. Now onwards to the New Year!

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Boozefood – Triple Choc Double Nut Beer Brownies

By The Gentleman

Beer Brownie

It’s been a while but we’re back with some more Boozefood and we think you’re going to like love this one. There’s not a lot of things that can compare to the sheer delight of biting into a gooey, chocolatey, crispy brownie. Try and fine one, it’s going to be difficult. I’ll wait…Back? Good. Anyway, anyone on a diet may want to look away now because these Triple Choc Double Nut Beer Brownies have enough sugar and chocolate to put you in a coma.

Beer Brownie

Triple Choc Double Nut Beer Brownies adapted from Kitchy Kitchen

Ingredients

100 g semi sweet chocolate

115 g of butter, browned

4 eggs, at room temp

2 cups brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder – I used Mörk’s 65% with River Salt

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I didn’t use any extra as the Mörk was already salted)

1 cup all purpose flour

2 teaspoons Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters

1/2 cup Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar

25 g Lindt Dark Almond Chocolate

3/4 cup mixed chopped nuts (I used almonds and pecans)

Beer Brownie

Directions

Preheat oven to 175C

Sift together the flour and cocoa powder. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate. I just do it in the microwave because I’m lazy, but you may want to go the whole hog and do it in a bowl over boiling water. In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter until it just turns golden brown (about 5 minutes). Combine the butter and melted chocolate, you may want to do this over a low heat but make sure you scrape it real good so none of the chocolate burns, then add your beer (and take a swig for yourself, you’ve earned it).  In a separate bowl beat together the eggs and sugar until thick and shiny (2 minutes). Continue beating on low while adding flour mixture and wet ingredients alternatively. Finish with the bitters, nuts and your broken up almond chocolate, folding in. Do not over mix. Pour into a buttered and lined 9 x 13 pan. The baking time will really depend on your oven. It could take up to 40-45 minutes, but in my Fan Forced oven it only took 25 minutes. I recommend putting it on for 20 minutes and then checking the middle with a skewer to see how it is going. You want them to be just set and not too dry.

Beer Brownie

Waiting for these things to cool down was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to endure in my life. Yes that’s right, MY LIFE! The smell was just heavenly, chocolate and nuts, and people were wondering in off the street thinking we were having an open inspection (yes real estate humour!). The flavour didn’t disappoint either. I explained to The Lady that they were a dense, gooey chocolate overload with a crispy, cracked top and she replied calmly, “It’s not just a brownie, it’s a way of life”. I knew there was a reason I liked her because it’s true. You’re either one of two people, those that like cakey brownies or those that like gooey, cracked brownies. This one is for all the gooey people out there (a statement that would be so wrong, but it’s brownies so it’s so right). It’s set just enough to hold its shape and not crumble when you take a bite out of it. As soon as you bite into it you’re mouth is filled with chocolate, but it’s not overly sweet thanks to the use of good quality bittersweet dark chocolate. The nuts provide some crunch and a nice change of texture to the gooey chocolate. The beer and the bitters provide a malty, spicy aftertaste that sits pleasantly on your tongue. I really can’t say too much more about these brownies because it’s just making me want to eat even more of them.

Beer Brownie

So do yourself a favour and make yourself these brownies. It may not change your life (it’s more likely to shorten it), but damn you’ll get lost in a moment of chocolatey heaven you’ll never want to end and that’s something we can all do with every now and then.

Beer Brownie

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Now Serving – Sir Mörkalot’s Naughty Hot Chocolate

By The Gentleman

Hot Chocolate

After what felt like one of the coldest and wettest winters down under we are finally on our way to Spring. Just to spite everyone though, the weather has decided to remind us that it can still be damn cold and wet in September. While it may be rather miserable outside, The Lady and I realised it’s also the perfect opportunity to indulge in some boozy hot chocolate to celebrate the last of the wintery weather. We also really wanted to make something a little naughty with our recently acquired Mörk hot chocolate powder. So, without further ado we present to you Sir Mörkalot’s Naughty Hot Chocolate (I have no idea why it is called this, but The Lady was rather adamant this would be the name).

 

Sir Mörkalot’s Naughty Hot Chocolate

Naughty Whipped Cream

300ml Thickened Cream
1 teaspoon Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters
1 teaspoon Mörk Dark Chocolate and River Salt Cacao Powder

 

Make your cream first. In a jug beat your cream with an electric mixer. When it is almost whipped, add your chocolate bitters and cacao powder. Give it another quick whip so everything is mixed together. Put in the fridge until you’re ready. You’ll have some left over for more delicious treats the next day. You can now start making your ho cho!

Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate

2 tbs Mörk 65% Dark Chocolate and River Salt Powder

200 ml milk

1/2 tbs maple syrup

1/4 tbs brown sugar

Pinch of salt

60 ml Bulleit Bourbon

Marshmallows

Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters

 

In a small saucepan over a medium heat whisk together your chocolate powder, maple syrup, brown sugar, pinch of salt and 50ml of milk. When it becomes smooth and oh so velvety, add the rest of your milk. Whisk again and leave for about 4-5 minutes to heat through. The hot chocolate isn’t going to get scalding hot and nor do you want it to be. After your hot chocolate mix heats up add your bourbon. You only want to leave it on the heat for about a minute so everything gets nice and warm but the alcohol doesn’t cook out of the bourbon. Grab a mug and drizzle a few drops of chocolate bitters in the glass. Pour in your hot chocolate then top it with a good dollop of whipped cream. Top it off with a marshmallow that has been rolled in chocolate bitters. Marvel at your chocolatey creation and enjoy immediately!

Hot Chocolate

Sir Mörkalot’s Naughty Hot Chocolate has a whole lot flavour going on. The Lady and I have already indulged in quite a few Mörk hot chocolates on their own and they have a lovely rich chocolatey flavour. It’s not overly sweet or sickly compared to some other powders. This is perfect for this boozy hot chocolate as it means the brown sugar and maple syrup aren’t going to send you into some kind of sugar induced coma. Mörk’s gorgeous, deep dark chocolate flavour also means it can stand up to the two shots of bourbon. The Lady isn’t a fan of solo dark spirits and reckons some people may want to dial the booze back a bit as it can be quite strong but I found it to be a suitable amount. Sure, the first sip was a bit potent but for the majority of the drink it was a delightful blend of chocolate and bourbon with the bourbon giving the drink a subtle spiciness and warmth. The extra chocolatey whipped cream just heightens the chocolate and spicy flavours. We are definitely a fan of adding chocolate bitters to whipped cream and it gives an added creaminess and richness to the drink without diluting the chocolatey goodness. Seriously, this is definitely a chocolate lovers drink as it’s chocolate on chocolate. The marshmallow is a nice little presentation touch and the whole drink has a real dessert feel to it. Something indulgent and special to cap off a cold night out or a snuggled night in.

Hot Chocolate

Sir Mörkalot’s Naughty Hot Chocolate is our way of sending off winter and the last of the cold weather in boozy style. Spring is upon us and that means fresh, fruity and refreshing cocktails are the go but goddamn we’re going to miss the indulgent mug of chocolatey goodness that is the Sir Mörkalot’s Naughty Hot Chocolate. Till next time winter.

 

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Boozefood – Red Wine Chocolate Cake

By The Gentleman

Last weekend The Lady went on a trip to Melbourne to visit a friend of ours. Her weekend was filled with cake, coffee, and cocktails. All the essentials in life. Upon returning, I was fearful that she may be in cocktail/coffee/cake withdrawal so I baked her a welcome home present. May I present to you – The Red Wine Chocolate Cake!

Wine Cake

Props go to the very talented people at Smitten Kitchen for providing the inspiration for this recipe, which I made a little extra boozy and indulgent because that’s what we do at The Cocktail Challenge.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (145 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) white granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 cup + a good splash extra, I used Innocent Bystander Syrah
2 teaspoon Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters
1 cup + 1 tablespoon (133 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Wine Cake

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease and line a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment. This is a one bowl recipe so grab a large bowl and on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy. Add the egg and yolk and beat well with the electric mixer, then add the red wine and the chocolate bitters. The batter takes on a lovely purple colour at this stage and may look a little uneven, but that’s alright. Next you’re going to sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together, right over your wet ingredients. On a low setting mix the mixture until it is 3/4 combined, then grab a spatula and fold the rest together. At this stage I tasted it and decided to add a splash of extra wine. The mixture isn’t too wet so it can take the extra liquid.  Transfer the batter to your prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The top of the cake should be shiny and smooth when it’s done. Cool in the pan on a rack for about 10 minutes, then flip out of pan and cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack.

Wine Cake

Chocolate Cream

300ml Thickened Cream
1 teaspoon Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters
1 teaspoon Mörk Dark Chocolate and River Salt Cacao Powder

Whip your cream. I showed off and did it in a mason jar. No going to the gym for me. Once your cream is pretty whipped, add in the bitters and cacao powder, and whip a little bit more to incorporate. You could maybe add a little bit more of either, but I think the cream was delicious as it was. It had a fantastic flavour, which wasn’t too sweet so it paired well with the cake and didn’t make things too intense. The bitters give it a spice flavour that has a bit of a kick and the cacao powder provides that chocolate flavour, but with the bitterness again making it very tasty without being sickly. You can definitely dollop a big spoonful of this cream on your cake and not worry too much (well maybe you should worry about your waistline, but ain’t nobody got time for that when cream and cake are around). The leftover cream is also amazing added to a Mörk hot chocolate or to flavour your coffee.

Wine Cake

The cake doesn’t really rise and it ends up being a low cake, which feels very much like a dessert cake. Really you can eat cake anytime, and you should, but some cakes just gravitate towards a certain time of day. The mix of wine and bitters also lend it to being an after dinner cake, a fine way to finish off an enjoyable evening. Adding the bitters was a last minute but rather amazing move. We had run out of vanilla essence and I was going to add some brandy or the like instead but then I remembered the bitters I had got from a friend. Chocolate bitters for a chocolate cake, perfect. The bitters just enhanced the flavour and smell so much. Instead of just being chocolate there was a depth to the aroma, a whole host of spices coming out to play. That depth carried over to the flavour, which was so nice. A wonderful blend of spices and chocolate that wasn’t too sweet and really invited you to eat more. In the Smitten Kitchen article they said the wine doesn’t completely cook out. I couldn’t taste booze per se, but some of the fruity flavour of the red wine was there. The red wine also helped make the cake very moist, and deliciously dense. Next time I’d like to really use my Mörk cacao powder in the cake as well. They may scold me for not using it for hot chocolate, which is devine by the way, but the Mörk powder has such a wonderfully deep, dark, and bitter flavour that I think would really add to this already amazing cake.

Wine Cake Wine Cake

Slathered with the chocolate cream this is one fine dessert that is perfect for impressing that special someone. The Lady was certainly happy to see it on the counter when she got home and for a moment she forgot all about her wonderful time in Melbourne and was glad to be home. Good cake will do that to you.

Wine Cake

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