Melissa’s Story: Harris’ Hot Chocolate

One year, when my husband & I were visiting The Dads for the holidays, Harris made me the most delicious Hot Chocolate! My husband & I were sitting outside near The Dads’ koi pond with our dog, Princess who was happily playing in the fresh fallen snow. Sure, it was cold outside, but I wanted to bask in the sun while I wrote my Christmas cards.

Now, I’m not the type of girl that just signs her name with a “Happy Holidays” on my cards. If I’m going to give you a card with a present, I always add a little bit of sappy, mushy reflections of my thoughts and feelings of you to go along with it. Sure, it makes some people cringe, but it comes from my honest heart, and I know The Dads eat it up and will probably save it forever. So needless to say, these take me a while to write!

Well apparently, Harris had spotted me writing my Christmas cards outside in the 30 degree weather. So, he wanted to do something special for me. He quickly whisked up his own version of Hot Chocolate and put it in a holiday cup! It was delicious and the perfect holiday treat to keep my sappy inspiration going!

Leah & I have convinced him to give up his special Hot Chocolate recipe, but you will have to wait patiently for him to post it later this week! All I know is, that he actually melts a couple of chocolate bars (probably Ghirardelli, since he’s boasted about their chocolate so much in his past recipes) and tops it off with whipped cream and love!

With all of your loved ones getting together this season, what are you doing or serving up to warm their hearts?  As a special food for thought from me to you (and trust me, I definitely get my sentimental side from my dad), don’t dismiss the opportunity that Holiday Cards give you. I’m sure your loved ones know how you feel, but the hand-written word is something that they can keep and read in the future. To me, that’s one of the greatest gifts of all!

Happy Holidays!

~Dave’s Daughter, Melissa

Image 

(Yes, that’s me, wearing goofy reindeer “antlers”. I’m a kid at heart, what can I say?)

Recipe: Spiced Nuts

Spiced Nuts are a good snack to keep on hand around the holidays. Just put them in a candy dish when company comes by or wrap them in up with a bow as a gift. Check out Dave’s recipe for this sweet and smoky nuts.

Image

Ingredients

  • ½ t ground cumin
  • ½ t cayenne pepper
  • ½ t ground cinnamon
  • 4 C unsalted mixed nuts, such as walnuts,      pecans, hazelnuts, and almonds
  • 4 T unsalted butter  (substitute Earth Balance buttery spread      for Vegan version)
  • 6 T brown sugar
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1 T water

Directions

Heat the nuts in a dry large skillet over medium to medium high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to toast, about 4 minutes. 

Add the butter and cook, stirring, until the nuts begin to darken, about 1 minute. 

Add the spices, stirring to incorporate and coat the nuts. 

Add the sugar, again stirring to coat and combine with the spices. 

Add the kosher salt and water and cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens and the nuts are glazed, about 5 minutes. 

Remove the nuts from the heat and transfer to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, separating them with a fork. 

Let the nuts stand until cooled and the sugar has hardened, about 10 minutes.  If there is still butter on the foil under the nuts when cooling, use a paper towel to absorb.

Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

The Dads’ Jewish Apple Cake

Jewish Apple Cake is a recipe which we absolutely love. It’s the perfect holiday dessert which works not only for the evening, but also for the next morning. It’s also great to bring to parties, and when sliced, has beautiful rings of apple and cinnamon between the layers of cake. We will be serving it at our Thanksgiving feast! We hope you will give it a try for your next holiday party or brunch. What are your favorite comfort desserts?

Image

Ingredients

  • 5-6 Granny Smith Apples, thinly sliced
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 5 teaspoons white granulated sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder

Directions

Mix cinnamon and 5 teaspoons of sugar.

Place sliced apples in a bowl, sprinkling each slice with the cinnamon and sugar.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In another separate bowl, beat together on medium-high speed, the vegetable oil, butter, and remaining sugar until light and creamy. If you wish, you can use all butter, all oil, or a combination, so long as you have a half cup of oil, butter, or a combination of both.

Add one egg at a time to the wet mixture with a mixer on low speed.

Add the vanilla to the wet mixture.

While still on a low speed, alternate between adding the dry ingredients and the orange juice, until well blended.

Grease your pan. We prefer to use a bundt pan for this recipe.

Pour a short layer of batter in bottom of pan, just enough to cover the bottom.

Line the pan with apples.

Continue to alternate between layers of batter and apples, ending with apples on top.

Bake 350 degrees for 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Test with a toothpick, but you will know your cake is ready when it looks like this:

Image

Simply flip your cake and enjoy. This cake is delightful warm, but is just as good for breakfast/brunch the next day. Enjoy!

Image