Monday, January 13, 2014

Boozy Peppermint Milkshakes

New York City has been feeling a good bit of freezing lately, and Mother Nature does not seem to be letting up anytime soon. But true to its nickname, this city never stops moving.  That's why when we get lucky with a grey or snowy weekend day, we take full advantage of it by curling up in a ball on the couch, sipping hot coffee or tea, and taking a break from the hectic.  We relax, take a deep breath, and start a long day of whipping up our favorite comfort food recipes.

Okay, so I may be among a small handful of people who actually spend the lounge days in the kitchen.  But like so many other New Yorkers, no sun and chilly weather means no guilt for staying inside, and that opens up a large window of time for cooking.  These type of days marathons.  My friend and I baked seven different types of Christmas cookies in one day this past year. And another day we tackled brunch, pickling, and bread, all before dinner time. 
Depending on the season, different food trends tend to surface.  During the summer months, rainy days are filled with creative ways to combine the many things we just bought at the farmers' market.  Fall dreary days yield lots of soups and homemade breads.  Winter brings cold and snowy days, which inevitably call for cocktails and desserts, made with all of the familiar holiday flavors --   cinnamon, citrus, peppermint.

Why is it that peppermint is something we tend to crave in the winter, in the coldest of months, when the very taste of it is so cooling?  Maybe it's the nostalgia of the holidays that drives me to seek out this flavor.  It certainly proves to be the perfect companion for this winter dessert.

(Recipe idea from this blog)

Makes: 2 pint glass servings
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract

1 1/2 shots Peppermint Schnapps liqueur
1 cup ice
crushed candy cane pieces, for garnish

Not boozy enough? - Add another shot of rum or bourbon
Virgin - Add 1/4 tsp. more peppermint extract and 1 Tbsp. more sugar

"It's chocolate, it's peppermint -- it's delicious!" - Add 1 Tbsp. chocolate chips

Add all ingredients to a blender and puree. 

*HINT: You have several options for how to get the crushed candy cane pieces to stick to the rim of a glass.  Many websites suggest dipping the rim in marshmallow fluff.  But if this isn't something you have just lying around, a simple mixture of sugar and water will do the job just fine.  Mix 3 Tbsp. sugar with 2 Tbsp. water.  Dip the rim of the glass in the sugar-water mixture, then into the candy cane pieces.
My disclaimer to the reader:  There's a reason I didn't include the "V" word (Vegan) in the title of this post.  Maybe it was my desperate attempt to trick you into trying something that sounds scary, but is in reality very tasty.  I am in no way a vegan myself, and nor do I intend to be, but I do find excitement in building new concoctions with ingredients I wouldn't normally use.  As with anything, there are so many variations, and I think they all deserve a fair chance.