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Congratulations to our winner Carolsue, and thank you to Gourmesso for their generous giveaway! And thanks to all of you for sharing your favorite way to drink coffee. Happy holidays!


Chillier temps call for warm drinks, and whether you’re relaxing alone with a good book or entertaining a group, the holiday season calls for a little extra deliciousness. Coffee is a constant in our household. We always, always consume it on work day mornings (On weekends we often linger over cups of Irish tea.), and coffee also often pops up as part of dessert, after dinner, or even in dinner recipes.

chocolate orange coffee Recently Gourmesso reached out to me to see if I wanted to try some of their Nespresso-compatible coffee capsules. I love my Nespresso machine and am always on the lookout for less expensive capsule options, so of course I said yes!

Gourmesso sent me a ton of different samples, and in addition to making a roast with a Gourmesso espresso marinade, I also decided to craft a cozy hot coffee drink for the holidays.

One of our favorite snacks when we are in Ireland is Jaffa Cakes, delicious little sponge cookie discs topped with an orange jelly and covered in chocolate. Chocolate and orange go so well together, and I knew that the Gourmesso Soffio Cioccolato would be the perfect base for a Jaffa Cake coffee drink.


Gourmesso Coffee

I started by brewing full cups of the Gourmesso coffee in my Nespresso machine. To each Irish coffee glass I added a half shot of Godiva liqueur and Grand Marnier. . . maybe a little more than half a shot. Experiment with measurements until your coffee is just right for you. You might also want to add a splash of Bailey’s Vanilla to stand in for the cookie part of the Jaffa Cake. As you can probably tell, the options for customizing your own festive coffee drink are endless, but you should definitely start with a quality coffee base.

Godiva and Grand Marnier

chocolate orange coffee drinks We bundled up and sipped our coffee drinks out in our yard, still loving the space in the cold (and despite all of the leaves). I loved the citrusy note of orange as a refreshing counterpart to the sweetness of the Godiva and the richness of the coffee. These coffee drinks are certainly a fun way to warm up this winter.

Gourmesso Coffee

Thanks to Gourmesso, one lucky reader can enjoy five different Gourmesso roasts or flavors. They’re allowing me to host a giveaway for 50 capsules. They have 20 different coffee blends at the moment and are expanding that line every year.

A few of my favorites include the Colombia Arabica Mezzo and Bolivia Pura Mezzo. I love a good dark roast coffee, and these are smooth and just lovely.

Interested in winning your own Gourmesso? Just leave a comment on this post letting me know your favorite way to drink coffee or how you would doctor up a cup of Gourmesso for fun coffee drink. I will choose a winner on Friday.

Good luck!

Gourmesso Coffee



Looking for some delicious coffee recipes for your holiday entertaining? I love this Irish Whiskey Chocolate Cake and these Godiva Coffee Martinis.

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Tags: chocolate, cocktails, coffee, dessert drink, Nespresso, orange

Have you ever made ice cream? Up until a couple of days ago, it had been years since I made homemade ice cream. I don’t own an ice cream maker, so when Lindsay from Scoop Adventures approached me about making a recipe from her new ice cream book, I was hesitant. It turns out, it is really easy to make ice cream without an ice cream maker! You may remember Lindsay was featured on my blog years ago in my Friday Foodie Feature; I was so excited to learn she wrote a book!  Lindsay’s blog, which was the starting point for her new ice cream book, features easy instructions for making ice cream by hand. I would say to just give yourself plenty of time, as the process of freezing and mixing took a little longer than I expected. The end result was well worth it!

I had the opportunity to choose from several ice cream recipes, and since my parents are both from Pennsylvania (and I love chocolate covered pretzels), I immediately chose Pennsylvania Dutch Chocolate–Covered Pretzel Ice Cream. I didn’t realize it until the book arrived, but the recipe was inspired by an ice cream shop in New Hope, PA, one of my all time favorite places to visit.

I decided the best time to make the ice cream would be with my niece and nephew, since there were a lot of opportunities for mixing, something little ones can easily do.

making ice cream

My nephew was more than happy to help make the chocolate liquor to go into the ice cream base. We only needed two ounces of chocolate, so we nibbled on the rest of the bag throughout the afternoon.

making ice cream

The whole ice cream making process was a lot simpler than I imagined. The chocolate liquor was quickly ready and set aside so that we could prep the ice cream base. As I said earlier, the most time consuming part was definitely the freezing and whipping of the ice cream, turning it from a liquid into a fluffy, soft-serve-like ice cream.

making ice cream

chocolate ice cream

The baking pan above was in and out of the freezer many times to be scraped and stirred. I also tasted it each time, and the flavor was definitely like that of a rich hot chocolate. In fact, the ice cream base would make an incredibly decadent drink, either hot or slightly slushy. . . kind of like the Serendipity frozen hot chocolate!

Once the ice cream was thick and frozen, I stirred in the chocolate covered pretzels. Because we didn’t allow enough time, this was well after dark, so I will spare you the bad photo I took. Instead, I will share the beautiful photo from Scoop Adventures. In addition to the recipe I made, the book has some delectable and interesting flavors like Ginger Chocolate Chunk, Juniper Gin, Mimosa Ice Cream, and Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Pickled Blueberries. Now that I know how to make ice cream by hand, I look forward to experimenting with some of the flavors from the Scoop Adventures book as well as from the Scoop Adventures blog.

Pennsylvania Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream

 Making ice cream is definitely something I would recommend doing with kids since there are parts that don’t involve cooking or cutting. The end result is also something they- and you-will be excited about! Lindsay kindly allowed me to share the recipe for the ice cream I made below. For information on ordering the book, please visit Scoop Adventures.

Recipe from Scoop Adventures

Pennsylvania Dutch Chocolate–Covered Pretzel Ice Cream

Inspired by Gerenser’s Exotic Ice Cream, New Hope, Pennsylvania



In addition to the cheesesteak, Philadelphia is a city famous for its soft pretzels. Philadelphians are rumored to consume twelve times as many pretzels as the average U.S. citizen, and the city boasts a pretzel museum. Given that cheesesteak ice cream would taste pretty bad, chocolate pretzel ice cream was the go-to flavor for Bob Gerenser to best represent “The City of Brotherly Love.” Situated in a small town outside of Philly, Gerenser’s has been serving classic and exotic ice cream flavors for 55 years. He knows how to make a winning dessert.



⅓ cup (37g) cocoa powder

⅓ cup (79ml) water

⅓ cup (67g) sugar

2 oz (56g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped


1 ¾ cups (414ml) whole milk, divided

1 tbsp (9g) cornstarch

1 ½ cups (355ml) heavy cream, divided

⅓ cup (67g) sugar

½ tsp sea salt

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 cup (180g) chopped chocolate-covered pretzels


To make the chocolate liquor, combine the cocoa powder, water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a low boil, whisking constantly. As soon as you see bubbles, remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let sit for 2 minutes, and then stir the chocolate liquor until smooth. Pour into a medium bowl and set aside.


To make the ice cream base, fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons (30ml) of the milk with the cornstarch, whisk and set aside. Combine the remaining milk, ½ cup (118ml) of the cream, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring the milk mixture to a low boil. Cook until the sugar dissolves, 3 minutes.


Remove the milk mixture from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Pour the base into the chocolate liquor and whisk to combine. Stir in remaining 1 cup (237ml) cream. Set the bowl in the ice water bath to cool, 20 minutes, whisking occasionally. Once cool, add the vanilla. Refrigerate the ice cream base until chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.


Pour the base into an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When churning is complete, gently fold in the chocolate-covered pretzel pieces. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

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Tags: book review, chocolate, dessert, homemade ice cream, ice cream, recipe, Scoop Adventures

A few weeks ago on a terribly freezing, snowy day, I warmed up in Hotel Chocolat’s newest space, their Cocoa Bar – Café.

Hotel Chocolat

As we shut out the bitter city, we were offered glasses of Prosecco and started to take in the delicious, chocolate-y sights and smells of Hotel Chocolat. The space is larger than when it was just a retail spot, and when that glorious warm weather finally arrives, they will have seating on Newbury Street.

Hotel Chocolat party

Hotel Chocolat and the Cocoa Bar aim to connect the experience of consuming chocolate with the sourcing of the chocolate. Some of their chocolate is even sourced from their property in St. Lucia, where they also have a hotel. I would certainly love to visit St. Lucia right now!

Throughout the event we snacked on chocolate treats, including these cheesecake truffles.

Hotel Chocolat chocolate

I also discovered heaven-in-a-bar, a banoffee pie chocolate. Banoffee pie is one of my favorite desserts, and in a chocolate bar form, it is fun and decadent.

Banoffee Pie chocolate

Hotel Chocolat’s Cocoa Bar is a elegant space full of beautiful chocolates and chocolate themed products, including savory products, like a cocoa pesto we received in our gift bags.  The prices are reasonable, making a little chocolate treat possible every now and then.

Below is a full description of the Cocoa Bar’s menu segments. A trip to Hotel Chocolat is ideal for these cold days. Just imagine relaxing with a warm chocolate plate

  • Light + Detoxing (Cacao and Tea) – Raw cacao beans have more antioxidants by weight than almost any other food. Even after roasting they have 150% more antioxidants than pure pomegranate juice. Light and detoxing drinks are designed to leave guests feeling really refreshed. The Cocoa Royale (crushed nibs and shells, steeped in a cafetiere) is midway between tea and coffee in intensity. Tea selections are: Cacao Shell, English breakfast + Cacao Shell, Peppermint + Cacao Shell, Green, Oolong, Silver Tip and Earl Grey. Aromatic hot chocolate drinks are Rosemary + Mint and Jasmine + White Chocolate. ($2.50 – $4.50)
  • Good for the Soul (Drinking Chocolate) – Cacao contains Theobromine, a natural stimulant that makes us feel energized, focused and calm. It’s gentle, long lasting and non-addictive. These are offered in variations of: classic, chili, milky, mint, salted caramel, St. Lucia 70% (complex), Vietnam 80% (fruity), Ecuador 90% (mellow). They also offer Chocolate + Fresh Banana, Praline Luxe (classic chocolate and double praline) and The Bombe (classic chocolate, vanilla ice cream, cacao whipped cream). Short chocolate drinks are the Boss-La (short and strong, 70% cacao) and 100% Cacao (a pure cacao hit, served short). Finishing touches such as Cacao Whipped Cream, Praline Dippers, and Salted Caramel Dippers can also be added to any drink for extra luxury. ($3.50 – $5.00)
  • Energizing + Stimulating – These unique Whole Bean Cacao Drinks are made from 100% roasted cacao beans. Just pure cacao, with no sugar, no gluten – and that keeps the benefits locked into their drinks: all the rich antioxidents and minerals, natural feel-good compounds and lots of healthy energy. Whole Bean drinks use roasted cacao or coffee. Barista coffee uses George Howell locally-roasted beans in Espresso, Macchiato, Cortado, Latte, Cappuccino, Americano, Mocha (70% chocolate and espresso) and Macho Mocha (shorter and stronger than a mocha). Barista cacao is all of the classics made with cacao beans not coffee beans and is full of healthy stimulants in Macchiato-style, Americano-style or Cappuccino-style. Organic milk is always used and soy is available upon request. ($2.50 – $4.00)
  • Savory Open Sandwiches – Served on a toasted English muffin with nib butter as well as a green salad dressed in cocoa balsamic. Selections are: Local cheddar with Organic Tomatoes, Smoked Salmon with House Horseradish, Vermont Goat’s cheese with Walnuts and House Chutney, Prosciutto Crudo Ham, Crumbled Berkshire Blue Cheese and Walnuts, Organic Cherry Tomatoes and House Chutney ($8.50)
  • Warm Chocolate Plates – Served on a toasted English muffin with whipped cacao cream on the side. Selections are: Chocolate Hazelnut Spread with Roasted Hazelnuts, melted Mississippi Mud Pie slab, sliced Banana with Chocolate Peanut Spread, Vanilla Ice Cream with 70% Chocolate, Farmer’s Market Raspberry Jam with Chocolate Hazelnut Spread. ($7.50)

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Tags: Boston, candy, chocolate, dessert, events, Hotel Chocolat, sweets

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