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Maximus Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Eggnog Glaze

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Oh! Sweet Christmas, It is that time of the year where you want to enjoy yourself in the kitchen, to give and to allow the time to go by with no remorse while indulging the guiltless pleasure of a Holiday morning…. Waaahw Wahhw Wahhw Wahhw… Rewind that… you wake up and your children are screaming “Can we open the presents?” Dog barking, Phone ringing, hubby half sleep, you are feeling cranky because you stayed up late making these rolls for breakfast… this is more like it right?, But where is the Christmas spirit?… No worries, it’s coming out of the oven in a few minutes. Make coffee, place the tray of Apple Cinnamon Rolls in the oven to warm up while you open a few presents. Twenty minutes later your house will start to smell like the north pole kitchen. Cinnamon is in the air! Drizzle the glaze, and scream “Breakfast is ready!”

I know this recipe is not the 1,2, 3 mix and done cinnamon rolls. But, why settle for less?, let’s make it AWESOME, It’s Christmas! I promise you it’s all worth it.

One bite of these rolls and you will feel how the world is merry, joyful, and your efforts so worth it when making these rolls. Time to sit, relax and enjoy!

Undoubtedly, these Maximus Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Eggnog glaze will ungrinch-ify the grinchiest Grinch.

Merry Christmas, Happy holidays, Joy and Hugs!

Ian & Mariana

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Ponche de Frutas – Warm Fruit Punch

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It is freezing and wet cold here in Austin, I really needed  a warm drink, so last night I geared up and made this warm fruit punch recipe, it is divine and it works like a charm!. This Punch is traditionally from Mexico and is served, on the cold weather months November, December, January, “Ponche de Frutas” Warm Fruit Punch is a delicious warm drink made with fall and winter stone fruits like apples, pears, crabapples, hawthorns, oranges, mandarines, guavas, prunes, plums, raw sugar cane sticks, tamarind, hibiscus tea, cloves, cinnamon well everything but the kitchen zinc!

Imagine all this ingredients gather in a stock pot slowly simmering to magically work and  deliver  fantastic warm aromas and wintery flavors with one mission: warm you up!

There are no rules when making the punch, the only ingredient that is a must is the cinnamon. For the rest, you can make it with your favorite fruit combinations, but I will encourage you to use at least 2 kind of stone fruits, 1 citrus and either hibiscus or tamarind they add the acidity background note needed to balance the sweetness.

This drink is not meant to be overly sweet. In fact most of the sweetness comes mainly from the fruits so adding a small amount of sugar is just what you need to balance the flavors.

You can use brown sugar, turbinado sugar, honey, dark agave nectar, monk-fruit sweetener or piloncillo* which its my favorite option in small amounts. Piloncillo is raw-pure unrefined sugar compressed into a cone that resembles in flavor to molasses; some times you can find it with cinnamon, anise and a little vanilla added. It is used to sweeten desserts, drinks and bake goods. So a little goes along way.

Can you imagine the aromas that this concoction will bring to your kitchen? spices, apples, cinnamon, oranges, warming up the house!…**sigh**

This punch is served in mugs and with a little spoon so you can eat the fruits from the bottom as you drink along. It is great for parties and family gatherings kids love it!
For the grownups you can spike it up by adding a little splash-a-rooh of your favorite rum or vodka as you serve it.
Whether you make a large, medium or small pot, this fruit punch will definitely warm you up inside out!…

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Mexican Hot Chocolate

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“If there’s no chocolate in Heaven, I’m not going.”
― Jane Seabrook

 

Chocolate must be, with out a doubt, one of the best gifts from Mexico to the world: Xocolat, Kakawa, Chocolate. Mayan and Aztec gods “seed of love and generosity”, manifested in a cacao bean, which they transformed into a beverage known as xocolatl meaning “bitter water”. Modern drinking chocolate is the result of the 17th century European addition of milk and sugar.

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is a cup of Mexican hot chocolate. It lifts my spirit, brings happiness, joy, comfort, warmth, peace, and a great sensation of fulfillment. Love in a cup Mexican hot cocoa also features amazing warm cinnamon notes, vanilla, and frothed milk.

I have fond memories of my Grandma preparing a cup of frothy hot cocoa as dinner. It was almost like an adrenalin shot when we could hear her in the kitchen frothing the milk with her molinillo, the arousing aroma of chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla coming out of the kitchen was heavenly. What is the molinillo?…it  is a wood handled tool that is used to froth and dissolve the chocolate into warm milk. By spinning the long handle between two hands, air is churned into the liquid turning it into a light cloud of goodness. My Grandma definitely knew how to use her molinillo. Her hot chocolate was like sipping a light cloud.

The following recipe is a delicious Mexican Hot Chocolate which provides an exciting experience much different from the little packets to which you add water. In my opinion, this preparation is well worth the extra time and a few ingredients added to your shopping list.
In this recipe I made the addition of chile ancho powder and a hint of pasilla negro, which tickle and warm the throat and enhance the chocolate flavor. I know you will love the recipe. Serve it at your next get-together on a chilly day and watch faces light up with surprise and satisfaction.

Keep warm and enjoy the weather!

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Mexican-Hot-chocolate_ingredients

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Makes 2 generous large mugs, serves two yetis.

2 cups of whole milk
1 cup almond milk
2 chocolate tablets Taza Chocolate brand Chocolate Mexicano 70% Cacao Puro*
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or Mexican vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoon ancho powder. Start with one, taste and decide if you need the second one.
2 generous pinches of pasilla negro powder, cayenne or one dry chile de arbol
1 stick of mexican cinnamon
Agave nectar, turbinado sugar or piloncillo to your taste. This is totally up to you, I like mine barely sweet, some people like it sweet, or extra sweet. I would say start with 2 tablespoons and move from there up to your desire sweetness. 

1 wood molinillo or blender.
1 tall pot will work best.

Why Mexican Vanilla and Cinnamon?
Everything that grows together, for me it translates in flavors that belong together. Vanilla comes from an orchid endemic from Veracruz, Mexico and the Mexican cinnamon flavor is delicate and extremely fragrant , if you can get this two your hot cocoa will taste divine!.

Vegan or Lactose intolerance substitutions: Soy milk and Almond Milk/ Rice milk and Almond Milk 
Nut allergies?: Soy milk and coconut / Rice milk and Coconut

Preparation:

1. Place all the ingredients into a tall pot, over medium low heat. With a wood spoon stir until the chocolate tablet becomes a soft paste and the heat starts dissolving the chocolate.
2. Increase the heat to medium and watch the pot at all times. (Believe me the worst spillages on the stove are from milk it can haven in a franc of a second, so watch out!)
3. As soon as you start seen bubbles on the edge of the milk, and the color of the milk has change, star frothing the chocolate with the molinillo.
Place both hands and star swirling around, making sure the molinillo is half into the milk and half out to incorporate as much air as possible into the milk. Once you see a thick layer of chocolate foam , it’s time to serve the chocolate. I usually poor it from high to achieve even more foam. At this point everything goes, sprinkle  some cinnamon and extra cayenne powder or spike it up with some mezcal, rum, hazelnut liquor, coffee liquor…Keep warm!
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Lets talk about chocolate:


Other Mexican chocolate brands that I find extremely good, and they all can be purchased online:
Moctezuma, this chocolate comes from Michoacan, Mexico, it has an intense chocolate flavor, notes of cinnamon and vanilla.
Mayordomo, this legendary chocolate paste is from Oaxaca, and part of a production is still made by hand, absolutely divine.
Rancho Gordo, this chocolate comes from Guerrero, Mexico, its stone ground 70% cacao and its sweetened with piloncillo! amazing, be aware it goes fast on line, but if you are on their website, check for their beans, and multiple other goodies, you can scape!
La taza, hecho en Mexico, I like its strong but balanced flavor, and their varieties. Try other flavors like clove, rose petals, anis (my favorite!), canela, almendras.. etc..
This is a list of my favorite choices, for Mexican chocolate.

Great Chocolate Sources:

Taza CacaoXocolatlMayordomo ClasicoStone Ground Chocolate from Guerrero Mexico,

Chocolate Abuelita:
This is the most common used chocolate tablets for hot cocoa in Mexico. Unfortunately and to my surprise last time I prepared some, the flavor was not the same as it used to. I had to use almost double the amount to give the punch of chocolate and cinnamon flavor that was so characteristic of Abuelita brand…

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Music Pairing: Naufragar – Ana Ferper/Constantini

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Guava and Cinnamon Atole

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Quick Fire Recipe, this is a delicious warm drink ; “Atole “it does not have an exact translation, this drink dates from the pre-columbian times. Moctezuma used to drink it sweetened with honey.  The best way I can describe it is a warm cozy, slightly sweet and fruity light porridge. The consistency of atole varies anywhere from almost porridge-like to a thin, pourable drink.

It is made with milk, sugar, piloncillo or honey,  fresh fruit, cinnamon and a little bit of cornstarch or masa.  Other fruit variations can be: strawberries, blackberries, plums, mango, grounded pecans, cocoa powder, or simple vanilla.  I love this Guava and Cinnamon Atole, it is warm and the fruit makes this drink simply delicious. I hope you like it as much as I do, Enjoy!

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Guava and Cinnamon Atole

Serves 2 cups

2 Cups of Milk (you can use coconut milk, almond, soy, rice it will taste fantastic!)
1/2 cup water
4-6 Guavas fresh (You can use frozen or buy a guava juice concentrate)
2 cinnamon sticks
2 Tablespoons turbinado or raw sugar
2 tablespoons Corn starch disolver in 1/4 cup of cold water.

Preparation:

1. Cut and remove the seeds of the guavas and boil them in a small sauce pan with enough water to cover them, add a stick of cinnamon and cook them until fork tender. pure the guavas.

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2. In a medium pot warm the milk, 1/2 cup water, cinnamon stick add the sugar until dissolve.(watch your pot at all times-do not let it boil!)
3.Once that the milk is warm add the guava pure, stir until well incorporated, and add the cornstarch dissolved in cold water little at the time and stirring the milk at all times until it thickens a bit. let it come to a soft simmer.

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4. Serve warm un a mug and dust with cinnamon.

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Fruity and Delicious, Enjoy!

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