Does anybody have any resolutions they want to share? I used to be super gung-ho about very specific goals and resolutions, but now I'm just trying to have broader "intentions" instead. And so far, they're pretty simple: eat well (I am turning The Big Three Zero this year and my metabolism and skin elasticity is not what it once was), save money for this SUPERTOPSECRETBIGDEALWHYAMIEVENTALKINGABOUTTHISAGAIN long-term kindasortamaybe blog-related project (and no, it's not a book, sorry guys), explore New York as much as I can, and travel to all the places that's closer to the East Coast than the West Coast. I realize those last two are in direct opposition to the first one, but whatever. Intentions, NOT goals. Or resolutions. Whatever.
I know that the New Year is all about forward thinking (especially January), but for me, the end of the year really came up fast. I'm still recovering and reeling from it. There were so many things that seemed to spring out of nowhere and hit all of us (or maybe just me?) by surprise. For starters, there was Hillary's devastating election loss and Carrie Fisher and her mom's death. On the lighter side of things, there were also rumors of Drake and Jennifer Lopez's conscious coupling, the extremely bizarre-o and straight-outta-nowhere ending of The OA, and the New York Times's sudden and weird interest in red wine hot chocolate.
Yes, red wine hot chocolate. Apparently it's a thing. It sounds gross, but after trying a homemade red wine and Coca-Cola cocktail* in England several years ago and finding it to be tolerable, if actually tasty once you get over the initial shock factor of the flavor combos, I was up for giving red wine and hot chocolate a shot together. YOLO.
*My British friends had imported the recipe from Spain, where they claimed it was called Jesus Juice by the Spaniards and consumed with much enthusiasm. I don't think it's actually called Jesus Juice. A quick Google search reveals that it's actually called kalimotxo. I don't know where Jesus Juice came from; pretty sure my friends were just drunk.
The trick is to use mulling spices like cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and ginger in addition to the red wine. The spices make the chocolate taste like winter, but with an added richness and unique silkiness from the red wine. Inspired by New York restaurant Black Tap and their now infamous crazy milkshakes (see: this, this, this, and this), we went a little crazy with toppings and added New York style cookies (specifically, Italian Rainbow and black-and-white deli cookies) and a salted caramel donut from Dough to the standard marshmallow and whipped cream hot chocolate toppings. Enjoy!
This post was done in partnership with Schoolhouse Electric, one of my favorite Portland-based companies who graciously provided some of the beautiful housewares you see in this post to help decorate my New York apartment. Although Schoolhouse Electric is primarily known for their beautiful, vintage-inspired lighting fixtures, they also sell other housewares for the office, kitchen, and more. Their stuff reminds me of my home in Portland, and their pieces really make New York feel like home too. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own, and thank you for supporting Hummingbird High and all my sponsors!
- For this recipe, I used cheap red wine — you don't want to use the good stuff here, save that for the chocolate (see next bullet point!). Personally, I used Two Buck Chuck Merlot from Trader Joe's, which has a peppery and almost slightly bitter edge that is reminiscent of cocoa and coffee. You can also aim for a slightly acidic variety, like a Cabernet Sauvignon, which will compliment the spices in the rest of the recipe pretty well. But in general, aim for a dryer and less sweet wine, otherwise it just gets to be too much.
- The secret to a good hot chocolate is to use good quality melted chocolate and mix it with cream and/or milk. You're already using bad wine; balance it out with the good stuff! Don't use chocolate chips — chocolate chips have an edible paraffin wax that helps them retain their shape after being baked. You definitely want to use pure unadulterated chocolate here.
- To mix the red wine and hot chocolate together, I combined the two in a mason jar and gave it a good shake. It is a literal milkshake. In a pinch, you can use a handheld immersion blender or simply just whisk it together in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
- 1 medium orange
- 2 cups (16 fluid ounces) dry red wine (see baker's notes)
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 cardamom pods, split lengthwise and crushed slightly with the flat of a knife
- 1 cinnamon stick
- a pinch of allspice
- a pinch of black pepper
- a pinch of ground nutmeg
- 12 ounces dark chocolate (at least 60% cacao), finely chopped
- 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) heavy cream
- 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) whole milk
- canned frosting
- mini chocolate chips
- whipped cream
- chocolate syrup
- Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from 1 medium orange in wide strips, avoiding the white pith. Place the zest in a medium saucepan. Add 2 cups dry red wine, 2 whole cloves, 2 cardamom pods, 1 cinnamon stick, a pinch of all spice, a pinch of black pepper, and a pinch of ground nutmeg, giving the ingredients a good whisk to combine. Place the stovetop's lowest heat setting for about 20 minutes, just enough to infuse the red wine with all the spices' flavor. Stir every so often.
- About halfway through the red wine's mulling time, make the hot chocolate component. Place 12 ounces finely chopped chocolate in a large mason jar, and set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup whole milk. Place on medium-high heat and warm until just about ready to boil, and immediately remove from heat and pour over the chopped chocolate in the mason jar. Let sit for at least 5 to 10 minutes, before whisking to dissolve the chocolate completely. Seal the lid tightly on the mason jar, and give the mixture a good shake if that helps!
- Return to the red wine mixture. Remove from heat and use a fine-mesh sieve to strain the spices out from the mixture and into a liquid measuring cup, discarding the solids in the sieve. Pour 1 cup of the strained red wine mixture into the mason jar containing the chocolate mixture. Seal the lid tightly on the mason jar, and give the mixture a good shake to combine the red wine and chocolate mixtures together. Taste the drink as you go — if you want more booze in the mixture, add 2 tablespoons of the red wine mixture and shake again. Continue adding small portions of the red wine mixture and shaking to incorporate it until you've achieved your ideal level of red wine hot chocolate goodness.