Coconut Ginger Apple Cider

Coconut Ginger Apple Cider. A lovely soothing drink for a cold winter day or night!
Sweet and creamy with a lot of fresh ginger jazz, this unique apple cider is perfect for a cold day as it warms you to your toes. Or, if you are fighting off a cold, this ginger spiked apple cider is perfect for soothing away the aches and sniffles.

Yesterday, my dad, my four-year-old and I went out to a local restaurant Harlow (The same restaurant that inspired this Dirty Chai recipe). I have been fighting off a cold the last few days and so wasn’t feeling all that hungry. But I noticed they had a new item on their menu for a Coconut Ginger Apple Cider and I knew it would the perfect soother.

Freshly juiced apples and ginger were steamed with rich coconut milk, and brought out to me. Heavenly. I made it last as long as possible, nursing it through the busy streets and shops and taking my last sip after we got home.

This morning I wanted it again. It would be really easy to make with store bought juice, but since I had apples and a juicer, and no juice, I went ahead and juiced my own apples with fresh ginger, and then gently heated it with coconut milk. I had it in place of my morning coffee, and it was such a happy way to start the day! I’ll give notes on how to make it without a juicer below as well.

For those who eat a lot of Thai soups, the combination of ginger and coconut milk is no surprise. One of my favorite soups is this Simple Thai Broth from my cookbook, Ladled. In fact, for the first sip or two of this drink, my mind immediately wondered where the salt and garlic were because I am so accustomed to savory renditions of coconut and ginger. But quickly, my taste buds adjusted to this sweet version, and I was in love!

Notes on Ingredients and kitchen tools:

(Affiliate links)

  • This is my favorite coconut cream . It doesn’t contain any guar gum, and is rich and thick.
  • For those curious, this is the juicer we own, and we’ve really enjoyed it.

Coconut Ginger Apple Cider
 
 
You can either juice the ginger fresh, or you can steep it in the apple cider for about 10-15 minutes. Both ways work well. If you are steeping, consider adding a stick of cinnamon and/or 5-6 whole cloves for a spiced version!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of apple cider or juice (use the best tasting brand you can find, or make your own. I made my own out of Pink Lady Apples), plus ½ cup more if steeping.
  • ½ inch of ginger (or more, to taste)
  • ¼ -1/2 cup coconut cream or full fat coconut milk
Instructions
  1. If juicing: Juice the apples and ginger together, and taste test for ginger strength (the coconut milk will mute the ginger flavor a bit, so I recommend going slightly stronger than perfect). Add to a small saucepan and heat with the coconut milk over medium heat. If desired, you can pulse (carefully!) in a blender to make it foamier and light.
  2. For steeping: Add the apple juice and 2 or 3 thin slices of ginger to a small pot. Because you will lose some liquid during the steeping process, I recommend adding an extra ½ cup of apple juice/cider. Bring to a low simmer, and simmer very gently for around 10-15 minutes, taking spoonfuls out here and there to taste test until you have achieved the desired strength of ginger. Add the coconut milk/cream, and reheat. I If desired, you can pulse (carefully!) in a blender to make it foamier and light.

 

Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel Cups (Refined Sugar-free)

Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel Cups- www.thenourishinggourmet.com

By Katie Mae Stanley, Contributing Writer

Bittersweet chocolate surrounds delicious gooey caramel with a touch of salt in this homemade candy recipe. This is a healthier treat without the use of refined sugars, and the use of dark, antioxidant rich chocolate! It is a perfect treat this time of year. Plus, if you don’t eat it all yourself, it can be easily boxed up for a lovely sweet gift this Christmas. Why not pair it with this Easy Mint Chocolate Fudge recipe for gift giving!

It’s no secret that I love chocolate and that I have a fondness for chocolate when paired with salted caramel. Last year I shared a Salted Caramel Mocha Fauxccino here at The Nourishing Gourmet. Recently I have enjoyed a few cups of steaming Salted Caramel Mocha.

These salted dark chocolate caramel cups are not nearly as hard to make as it would seem. All you need is some high quality dark chocolate, a batch of caramel sauce (or try this one from Kimi) that can be pre-made and a 1/2 teaspoon of course unrefined salt such a Real Salt or Celtic Salt. I prefer using baker’s chocolate because it pairs beautifully with the caramel, balancing out the intense sweetness. It can be made with the chocolate of your choice if you prefer a sweeter chocolate.

I have made candy cups with coconut oil, cocoa powder, and honey before, but when giving gifts I prefer to use pre-made chocolate to make this treat shelf-stable. This makes it more suitable for serving at a holiday party or to give as a gift. You can wrap them in parchment paper and place them in a cute box. Or you might even want to pair them with other homemade candies!

Other homemade chocolates to give as gifts:

Ingredient and tool list:

(Affiliate links.) 

Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel Cups
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Break the chocolate into small pieces. Place in a double boiler.You can also use a sauce pot with a larger heat safe bowl placed on top of the pot. (The bottom of the bowl should not be touching the bottom of the sauce pot, or the simmering water.)
  2. Bring the water to a simmer. Allow ½ of the chocolate to melt.
  3. Remove from the heat and continue to stir until the all the chocolate melts.
  4. Place the mini cupcake liners inside a mini cupcake pan.
  5. Fill each liner with ½ of a teaspoon of melted chocolate.
  6. Place the pan in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to allow the chocolate to firm up. Once firm, place back on your working space.
  7. Add ½ teaspoon of caramel sauce in the middle of each cake liner. Flatten so that the caramel almost goes to the sides of the cup.
  8. Gently pour 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate over the candies, completely covering the caramel.
  9. Place in the refrigerator for 5 minutes, allowing it to firm slightly.
  10. Sprinkle each cup with a bit of coarse unrefined sea salt.
  11. Return the pan to the refrigerator for 20 minutes or until the candies are completely firm.
  12. The can be stored on the counter for up to 2 weeks or in the refrigerator for two months.

 

Easy Mint Chocolate Fudge (Dairy and Gluten free)

Mint Chocolate Fudge (dairy and gluten free)

By April Swiger, Contributing Writer

Velvety smooth fudge, rich in chocolate, mingled with refreshing peppermint is a must-try this season. This mint chocolate fudge is the perfect way to satisfy a craving, or finish off a hearty meal this holiday season. Even better it’s surprisingly quick to make, and can be boxed up easily to give as a lovely gift.

I am a huge fan of fudge. It’s always my go-to treat during summer vacations at the beach, and my top pick off the Christmas dessert table. The first time I made fudge at home I used Kimi’s recipe for the easiest, healthiest, most scrumptious fudge ever (also see this version using maple syrup). It definitely lived up to its name, and I have made it many times since then to satisfy those pesky little chocolate cravings. I love that her recipe, and the one I created as well, is free from refined sugar, dairy, gluten, and all other kinds of yucky ingredients the more typical fudge recipes have. This version starts with chocolate chips instead of cocoa powder for a more stable fudge for gift giving.

My 3 year old son is a major chocolate lover. He saw me pull out my bag of chips and immediately wanted to help with whatever I was doing. I purposefully made this recipe as simple as possible because, well, life can be a bit crazy with a toddler in tow…especially during the holiday season! He had so much fun helping me dump all the ingredients into a big bowl (not as much as he enjoyed trying to finished product though). I received a hearty “yum yum yummy in my tum tum tummy!” after his first bite :)

Mint Chocolate Fudge (dairy and gluten free)

There are some fantastic chocolate chips on the market that are completely allergy free, and would be a great option for this recipe. I have used the Enjoy Life Brand of chocolate chips, which are very allergy friendly, a number of times and find the flavor and texture top notch!

You can use either the (Affiliate links)  Semi-Sweet chocolate chips, or the dark chocolate chips in this recipe. Truly though, any chocolate of your choice should work, and the amount of honey you add to sweeten the recipe can be adjusted to your liking as well. I used Frontier’s Natural Mint Extract for flavoring my fudge, and it was delicious!

Homemade gifts are some of my favorite to give. Even the most frugal and simple recipe can be made extra special with its presentation. This fudge wrapped in parchment paper, tied up in colorful bakers twine, and a special box makes for a very thoughtful gift.

Other healthy, and homemade, gifts you may enjoy:

Mint Chocolate Fudge (dairy and gluten free)
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
 
This velvety mint chocolate fudge is simple to make, includes nourishing ingredients, and is a lovely gift to give this season!
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups chocolate (I used semi-sweet)
  • ½ cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 teapoons peppermint extract
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Put all the ingredients into a large bowl, and create a double boiler by placing it over a pot of lightly simmering water.
  2. Allow the chocolate to melt slowly. Stir continuously until all of the ingredients are smooth and incorporated.
  3. Pour the chocolate mixture into a parchment paper lined dish. If desired, top with crushed candy cane pieces. Refrigerate until hardened, and cut into small square pieces to serve.

 

Cranberry Walnut Goat Cheese Ball

Cranberry Walnut Goat Cheese Ball (perfect for Christmas and the New Year!)

Tangy, with crunchy walnuts, savory shallots, and sweet cranberries, this goat cheese ball is perfect for the holidays! It is easy to whip together, can be made days in advance (or even frozen) and makes a lovely addition to a cheese platter or to serve along side celery sticks or rich whole grain crackers. Or give it as a food gift (or hostess gift.)

Personally, I am putting together some snack-y hors d’oeuvre to have out for Christmas day/afternoon when we are together as an extended family. Smoked salmon ( #affiliate link  here is a lovely example), this cheese ball, and my favorite liver pate (served with home pickled onions) with some gluten free and regular crackers will make a special but nourishing addition to the usual holiday fun.

Freezing cheese balls

I have never tried freezing a cheese ball before, but Martha Stewart says you can freeze cheese balls for up to a month, which is perfect for my plans of pre-making as much of the food as I can. This cheese ball is now nestled in my freezer well wrapped, waiting for Christmas cheer and magic to happen. But I admit, it may be a little smaller after we all had a few samples of it. ;-)

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Notes on Ingredients

You can use raw, soaked and dehydrated or toasted walnuts. To toast, stir constantly in a cast iron pan over medium heat until the nuts are starting to brown.

I love these Organic Apple Sweetened Cranberries (affiliate link) for projects like this one.

Cranberry Walnut Goat Cheese Ball - A delicious appetizer, party food, or food gift!

Cranberry Walnut Goat Cheese Ball
 
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Tangy, with crunchy walnuts, savory shallots, and sweet cranberries, this goat cheese ball is perfect for the holidays! It is easy to whip together, can be made days in advance (or even frozen) and makes a lovely addition to a cheese platter or to serve along side celery sticks or crackers! Or give it as a food gift (or hostess gift.)
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces of chévre goat cheese (look for the soft goat cheese logs)
  • 1-2 tablespoons fat of choice (such as avocado oil, home rendered fats, etc).
  • ¼ cup chopped shallots
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped walnuts
  • ⅓ cup dried, sweetened cranberries (I used fruit juice sweetened), roughly chopped
  • ¼-1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Instructions
  1. In a small pan, over medium heat saute the shallots in fat/oil of choice until softened and starting to brown (about five to seven minutes). Make sure you stir almost constantly to prevent burning.
  2. In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer, mix the goat cheese with the cooked shallots, ⅓ cup walnuts, and cranberries.
  3. Using a spatula, scoop into a rough ball, and then use your hands to pat into a ball. Cover the surface with the extra chopped walnuts.
  4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 3 days. Or freeze up to one month, well wrapped.
  5. Serve with crackers, crudités, cucumber slices, or celery sticks!