For some believers, Christmas only begins December 25. I’m one of those or rather, I work at it. The world often conspires against me, I think. Still, the tree stays up until the Wise People arrive on January 6 (Epiphany) and you can bet there are still Christmas movies for husband Dave and me to watch until then. (We still have “Christmas with the Kranks,” “Christmas in Connecticut,” and “Fred Claus” — at least — to go.) So while other folks have frozen their hambones and relegated the Christmas lights to the dusty garage attic, there is still a (no longer quite so fresh) plate of cookies on the counter, holiday candles lit nightly, and we are committed to enjoying it all for a few more days. As one of my favorite cook-writers Dorie Greenspan said in yesterday’s NYTimes Magazine, introducing her recipe for Mulling-Spice Cake with Cream-Cheese Frosting, “Like most people, I’m sad this year.” I get it. Me, too. I was so glad for Christmas to come along in the midst of all the angst and division and fear — even if it arrived without all the regular bells and whistles. I guess I want it to last as long as it can. For there to be candy canes, inflatable Santas, cheese spread with crackers, and carols booming for just a bit more time. To look out on my deck and still see the colored lights if I wander up in the middle of the night…
That said, you could guess I’m still cooking up holiday foods (well, a few things at least–what about you?) and thinking of new ways to celebrate welcoming the birth of goodness and light once more. My good friend and neighbor Ann Campbell –above– often gifts us a big bottle of homemade Bailey’s Irish Liqueur over the holidays and, thank God, this year was no different. Scroll down to see Ann’s recipe. Many thanks, Ann!! In fact, it arrived in the nick of time — Thanksgiving! I had boo koo time to think about what I wanted to do with it besides stir it into a big cup of strong coffee late at night. I kept dreaming of some Frappuccino-type drink, but more like a dessert cocktail. (I don’t think I’ve ever had a Starbucks Frappuccino, though; I’m mostly a drink my coffee at home sort of person.) I grew up just outside Chicago with Brandy Alexanders served every Christmas Eve and yes, the northern mid-west is famous for its creamy-boozy drinks! In other words, I knew what I wanted, but just had to get the ingredients together, work through a little trial and error, and whirr it all in my overly-complicated, hard to put together, easily-dumped KRUPS blender.
By the way, would you like that blender?
I still have my 1973 Osterizer (above–a gift from good friends Lee and Ruthie Wiggins) which is a lot easier to use and still is in fine shape. Why do I do these things to myself? (Buy new appliances, I mean.) Anyway… Not being a frou-frou coffee drinker or much of a cocktail maker and only rarely an imbiber, this was a bit of an unusual happening in my kitchen. I’ll admit it was fun (and don’t we need fun?!) and maybe there are other after-dinner (afternoon??) cocktail concoctions upcoming? Stay tuned.
So here’s the lovely, frozen, not-too-sweet frothy chocolate and coffee libation that came out of it all. It tastes like an ice cream drink if you remember those, but there’s not a scoop of vanilla or chocolate in the recipe. Milk, cocoa, instant coffee, sugar, Bailey’s, vanilla extract, and lots of ice are about it. It’s easy, beautifully layered, and you can definitely treat yourself and a friend (or you can drink both servings!) when you try this:
frozen bailey’s mochaccino
- 8 oz (1 cup) milk
- 2 teaspoons each: cocoa, granulated sugar, instant coffee granules, water (might need a little more water)
- Tiny pinch salt
- 4 oz (1/2 cup) Bailey’s liqueur, store bought or homemade (Ann Campbell’s homemade recipe below)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups crushed ice (cubes will work, pulse them first if possible)
- Whipped cream for garnish
- Grated dark chocolate for garnish
- Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium flame until very warm; don’t boil.
- Meanwhile, in a large measuring cup, whisk or stir together the cocoa, sugar, instant coffee, water, and salt until smooth. Add a bit more water if needed to make mixture a smooth paste.
- When milk is warm, pour over the cocoa mixture and whisk or stir together until smooth. Taste and adjust mixture to suit your taste if needed. You might like it sweeter or with more coffee, for instance. Pour the Bailey’s into the warm mocha and let cool to room temperature – or refrigerate for an hour or so. Stir in vanilla extract.
- Add the ice and the cooled Bailey’s-cocoa mixture to the carafe of a blender. Blend until smoothly puréed. Divide between two wine glasses; garnish each with whipped cream. Grate a little chocolate over the top.
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ANN CAMPBELL’S HOMEMADE IRISH CREME LIQUEUR
- Electric Blender
- 14 oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 3 Large eggs
- 1/8 teaspoon chocolate extract
- 1 teaspoon Hershey's Chocolate Syrup
- 1 cup bourbon
- Blend all ingredients together on high in an electric blender for 5 minutes. Pour out into bottles or jars and secure with tightly fitting lids. Store in the refrigerator for up to one month. (No blender? You can whisk these ingredients slowly together in a large bowl, adding just one thing at a time, until smooth.)
CHANGE IT UP: No coffee for you (even decaf?)–use twice as much cocoa for a really chocolatey concoction. Have no instant coffee? Try extra strong brewed or espresso coffee in place of the water when you mix together the cocoa (use a little extra) and sugar. Like nutty? Add 1/4 teaspoon almond extract to the cold mixture.
MORE INFO THAN YOU WANTED:
LIFE GOES ON:
Thanks for keeping me company in my kitchen; it’s good to be together however it happens.
I wish you health, wealth, and happiness in 2021 — all of which you’ll have if you cook good things for yourself!!