Midday Fix: Holiday entertaining ideas

Marc Sievers

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Cointreau Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients (makes 2½ cups)

  • Dark Chocolate – 1 pound, finely chopped
  • Heavy Cream – 1 cup
  • Honey – 4 tablespoons
  • Sea Salt – ¼ teaspoon
  • Vanilla – ¾ teaspoon, pure extract
  • Orange Zest – 1 ½ teaspoons, finely zested
  • Cognac – 2 tablespoons (Remy Martin 1738 recommended)
  • Orange Liqueur – 3 tablespoons (Cointreau recommended)
  • Shortbread Cookies – store-bought (Walkers brand recommended)

 

Directions

  1. In a heat-proof bowl set over barely simmering water, heat the dark chocolate, heavy cream, honey, and salt until just melted, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla, orange zest, Cognac, and Cointreau.  Stir to combine.
  3. Drizzle ½ of each shortbread cookie with just enough chocolate to coat it.  Set each coated cookie onto a paper baking cup that has been flattened.  Garnish with more orange zest if desired.  Allow the ganache to set at room temperature for a few minutes before serving.

Tip: Stirring the ganache as it cooks with help make it shiny when it is used as a glaze, making for a professional and dramatic presentation.  The ganache will stay fresh in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Idea: Once the shortbread cookies set, do not refrigerate.  Store them tightly wrapped at room temperature.

 

Holiday Mulled Cider

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • Apple Cider – 32 ounces
  • Fresh Lime Juice – 6 ounces, freshly squeezed
  • Cinnamon Sticks – 2, plus more for garnish if desired
  • Star Anises – 2, whole
  • Cloves – 2, whole
  • Oranges – 2, thinly sliced
  • Granny Smith Apple – 1, thinly sliced
  • Cointreau – 12 ounces

 

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan set over medium heat, add all of the ingredients except for the Cointreau.
  2. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat, add the Cointreau, cover and steep for 20 minutes.
  3. Fill heat-proof glasses or mugs with hot cider, garnish with extra cinnamon sticks, and serve.

Tip: If you would like to make this in advance, after the cider is finished steeping, remove the fruit and spices, and store the finished cider in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.  When you are ready to serve, gently re-heat the cider in a medium sauce pan over medium heat and serve warm.