Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday ~A Taste of the Tropics

So maybe my post title is a little deceiving..but bear with me til the end and you might get a little inkling of truth. We are experiencing very frosty temps here in the Pacific Northwest. The thermometer registered a whopping 10°F when I left the house for work this morning. Luckily (from a commuting perspective) we have been precipitation free, so snow or icy roads to contend with. There has been some pretty frost though.

Now I know some of you that grew up in or live in areas that get tons of snow and very cold weather every year are saying whats the big deal!

But there is something magical to me to see all of the icy sparkles

The crystal formations are pretty cool too

The green beneath the frost seems so unlikely

And the contrast with red is stunning

The most amazing are the signs of summer trying to hang on

Just barely......

So are you shivering yet??? How about that taste of the tropics I promised to warm you up...or at least a taste of a really good candy bar (coconut lovers turn away). This hot chocolate featured in this months Food Network Magazine is like a Mounds in a rich and coconutty. A little of this stuff goes a LONG beware and look for your tiny cups.

Cocoa Colada

1 14 oz can coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
4 oz chopped milk chocolate
1/4 cup toasted coconut

Bring milk and water to a simmer over low heat. Add sugar and chocolate and whisk to melt. Spike with coconut rum if desired (I didn't have any but did add a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla) Top with toasted coconut.

These were great with a few shortbread cookies! I used a recipe shared by my friend Susan at Savoring Time in the Kitchen. Its utterly amazing what 3 simple ingredients can be transformed into. Don't skip the sugar sprinkling step...I think it makes the cookie!!

Shortbread Recipe

1 cup soft salted butter
1/2 cup Baker’s Sugar (superfine)
2 cups all purpose white flour (you can substitute ½ cup of rice flour and 1-1/2 cups AP flour for a different texture)

Cream the butter until very light and fluffy. Cream in the sugar a little at a time until the sugar dissolves (this takes a while).

Mix in about 1-1/2 cups flour gently by hand. Turn out on a lightly floured board and knead in only as much flour as is needed to make soft shape-able dough that holds together well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out about 1/3 inch thick and cut into shapes with a knife or cookie cutters, or pat into a 1/3 inch thick round (or rectangle) pan by hand (I use a 9x9x2 pan), prick with a fork every 1-2".

Bake on ungreased cookie sheets at 300 degrees for 30 to 50 minutes, (depending on the size you are making...cut-outs will take less time, pan shortbread will take more time) until pale golden brown all over. I like to sift more superfine sugar over the top when they come out of the oven. Let sit for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack. If you are making pan shortbread, cut into small squares with a very sharp knife right away, then allow to cool.

Check out all of the other Outdoor Wednesday posts over at A Southern Daydreamer


Jeanette said...

I am always looking for a new shortbread recipe. I love the look of different plants with ice crystals on them. Your photos are beautiful.

Kate said...

It may be cold but if you are serving that chocolate and shortbread, I am available! Yum!

Foley said...

That does look good - love toasted coconut!!! Would be nice sipping on it in front of the fireplace after the 8 INCHES of snow we had last we are in blizzard conditions with 50 mph winds!!! I would take the little frost you did make your photos great! Good job!!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Beautiful frosty pictures, Suzy! I love the texture on some of the leaves. Nature is an amazing artist!

Glad you liked the shortbread cookies! I was going to make some this morning but our power was out for 4 hours!

That Cocoa Colada looks deliciously decadent!

Cynthia said...

Suzy, what a pretty post ... and the cocoa sounds delicious and well worth the wait.

Love every picture of the frosty plants and flowers ... I clicked on each one and you camera did a remarkable job capturing the various ice crystals. LOVELY :)

Lucky Girl said...

that cocoa recipe sounds intriguing. might give it a try! thanks! also - your photos are beautiful, you've got me inspired.

Dishesdone said...

The ice crystals look so pretty!

and perfect timing with the Hot Chocolate, it's getting cold here in New York! That hot cocoa is over the top, looks fantastic!

Henrique Abrantes said...

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Na verdade seria uma troca você colocaria um abnner no meu blog e vice versa entre em contato comigo:

Cathy said...

Your photos are beautiful, Suzy. I like the frosty mornings. It's the 40 degrees and driving rain that I don't much care for. I like your suggestion to add a bit of rice flour to the shortbread dough. I'm going to try that next time.

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