This cocktail is reminiscent of the flavour of Mexican Hot Chocolate.
Note: The recipe below calls for not too much booze as my homemade coffee liqueur (which is fabulous and so easy to make) is 180 proof. If you’re using commercially prepared Kahlua or Tia Maria, you may want to increase to four ounces per two cocktails.
Gently warm coffee liqueur in a small pot or microwave-safe jug – you want it very warm but not boiling.
Add cinnamon stick and dried chili pepper. Let steep 10 minutes, then strain into two ice-filled glasses.
Add 4 – 6 ounces of milk or cream to each glass; stir gently and serve.
Makes 2 drinks
What’s not to love about coffee liqueur, most famously known as either Kahlua or Tia Maria? I remember my mom making this homemade liqueur when I was younger and thought it very clever of her to do so. I've updated her classic recipe my preparing it with decaf coffee (hers called for instant coffee granules....shudder....) so I don't have to lie awake all night after enjoying a cocktail or two in the evening. You can add this liqueur to your favourite hot beverage, pour it over ice cream or transform it into delicious adult drinks. It’s so easy to make and would be a terrific hostess or teacher gift that’s sure to be enjoyed by the recipient. It will be a lot stronger (180 proof, to be exact), if you can find 94% alcohol (also known as alcool) which is available in some Canadian provinces; in the U.S. you’re more likely to find grain alcohol, also called Everclear. Vodka makes a perfectly acceptable (though far less potent) substitute. Old maple syrup and salad dressing bottles are ideal for packaging the liqueur; I try to gather them throughout the year in preparation for holiday gifting.
Combine brown sugar and coffee in a large saucepan. Heat, stirring, just until sugar has dissolved then set aside to cool to lukewarm.
When mixture has cooled, add in vanilla extract and alcohol. Stir to blend then transfer to bottles. Let sit 24 hours before using.
Makes 8 cups
I am not sure whether it’s the delicate taste or the melt-in-your-mouth texture of shortbread cookies that made me fall in love with them when I was a little kid. They’re a holiday staple in my house; we probably make at least 10 batches every year as they’re great for gifting. This year I decided to shake things up a little and added some chai-inspired spices to my favourite quick shortbread recipe. What a hit! I’ll be making dozens more as the quality control officer (my husband) plowed through most of the first batch in record time.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Put all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Whip together with a stand or hand-held electric mixer until the batter is smooth and fluffy (almost like really stiff whipped cream). This should take no more than 2 minutes.
Drop from a small cookie scoop or two teaspoons onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. You can leave them mounded or gently press them flat with your fingertips.
Bake 8 minutes or just until they are barely beginning to turn golden around the edges.
Makes 3 dozen cookies.