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How-To

Best Caesar Salad

Dinner

The Best Caesar Salad consists of a thick dressing made up of egg yolks, anchovy fillets, olive oil, parmesan and lemon juice. These ingredients create a delicious savory dressing that is delicious when tossed with garlic croutons and crisp romaine leaves.

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Perfect Homemade Hot Chocolate

Drinks, The Holidays, Winter

How to Make Hot Chocolate

I don’t think anyone would argue that hot chocolate is the coziest of cozy drinks. And since this is lil’ blog is called A Cozy Kitchen I think I’ve gone way too long without sharing a proper recipe for it. So, let’s talk about this Perfect Homemade Hot Chocolate.

How to Make Fancy-Ass Hot Chocolate // www.acozykitchen.com

Hot Cocoa vs. Hot Chocolate!

Let’s talk about the difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate. Hot cocoa is exactly that – cocoa powder dissolved into milk or (God forbid) water. I have good memories of hot cocoa, actually. When I was a kid, I used to sit in my way-too-long PJ t-shirt and watch cartoons, sipping on Swiss Miss cocoa mix. I also loooved dipping whole wheat bread into my hot cocoa. (I was a weird child.)

But during the holidays, it was always hot chocolate. My mom would tell us stories about how in Peru, on Christmas Eve, right before midnight mass, a big pot of hot chocolate was made. They’d take big blocks of chocolate, melt it and then mix it into warm milk until it dissolved. Real, thick hot chocolate is a game changer.

There’s like two or three steps–this ain’t rocket science.

How to Make Hot Chocolate!

  • Step 1: Get your hands on some good chocolate. I had some Scharffenberger chocolate in my pantry. Other brands I love: Green & Black or Ghiradelli. I love using chopped chocolate for my hot chocolate; you could even use good quality chocolate chips. I like to use a dark chocolate (70%) or semi-sweet chocolate for my hot chocolate.  I think it adds a nice depth and lends a lot of richness to this hot chocolate, but feel free to go sweeter if you like.
  • Step 2: Don’t be shy to add some other stuff like a cinnamon stick, 1/4 of a vanilla bean or a splash of vanilla extract, some Ancho chile powder and salt. I looove steeping the milk or almond milk with a cinnamon stick and vanilla bean–it smells like heaven.

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Last Minute Hostess Gift: Winter Herb Potted Plants

DIY

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

Wasn’t Pie Week fun?! I kinda miss it already. I’m already scheming for a possible Cookie Week in December? And maybe more pie. Always more pie.

On Wednesday I’m headed up to the Bay Area for a very short trip for Thanksgiving, so I figured some of you might actually be heading to other people’s homes, too. I love hostess gifts that have a nice personal touch, and since this time of year is so crazy, they need to be quick and easy. I looove having winter herbs in my kitchen for cooking and making cocktails. These herbs will all survive a cold winter – they’re considered “aggressive” herbs, or so they say.

Supplies you’ll need to make this lil’ quick and easy DIY:

– 3 small terra cotta pots
– Assorted colors of acrylic paints
– Scissors
– Painter’s Tape
– Acrylic Top Coat Spray
– Winter Herbs: Rosemary, English Thyme, Mint, Cilantro or Sage
– Paint brushs

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

Step 1: Brush each pot with two to three coats of paint. Allow ’em to dry completely.

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

Step 2: You can do any sort of patterns that you like. I figured it’d be nice to do all an assortment of patterns that all sort of compliment one another. For the first one, I cut out triangles from the painter’s tape and placed them on the perimeter of the pot.

I gave it two coats of metallic light gray paint, allowed it to dry and then removed the tape.

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

Step 3: Continue with a different pattern. I chose little hand painted dots.

For the third and final patter, I used a spouncer – which is my favorite tool and word – dipped in paint to make a larger polka dot pattern.

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

Step 4: I allowed the pots to dry completely, about 30 minutes, and then sprayed each pot with a clear top coat, which will help protect the terra cotta pots against moisture, weathering and overall handling.

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

Step 5: Divide the herbs between the pots and fill with potting soil.

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

And that’s it! Super easy and quick. Tomorrow I’ll show you a cocktail recipe to use with one of these herbs. You know, so you can give your host the gift and then use it to make something. Super classy!

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

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How to Bake Flat Cake Layers

DIY, How-To

How To Bake A Flat Cake

I’m not sure there will ever come a day when baking isn’t magical to me. I still get giddy when I turn on the oven light, peek through the glass to see biscuits doubling in size. Or when a waif of baking banana bread skips through the house and under my little nose. Baking is my magic.

I love the trust and faith we must have in a recipe, in the ratio and in the ingredients. We trust that those ingredients will interact, react and transform into something so beautifully delicious.

Having just whispered all those sweet words of nothing, I’ll admit I’m not really a cake-maker-type girl. I’m not sure if a single layered-cake even lives on this blog. I’m pretty sure it has everything to do with me being an impatient person and thinking cake decorating is a little tedious. But when I want cake inspo, I turn to Sara from Matchbox Kitchen. She makes some insanely pretty cakes. One thing I LOVE about her cakes is how they’re all perfectly cylinder. The tops are completely flat. Flat cake tops are all the rage in the cake world.

Cake layers usually dome on us, rising right in the center and then cracking. I think doming on a quick bread is beautiful. I love it. My friend and baker, Hourie, wouldn’t think to serve a quick bread that didn’t dome. Cakes are different, though. But not to worry because baking flat cake layers couldn’t be easier!

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