Soyer au Champagne

There are so many bubbly drinks bouncing around the blogoverse right now that it makes me feel like a kid in a candy store. (Or maybe just an adult in a booze store.) As I pondered which champagne cocktail I’d like to have a go at for this post, this drink in Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails caught my eye. What makes this cocktail unique is the fact that it’s a dessert drink. Now, before you go shouting “blasphemy!,” let me assure you that this isn’t some cake batter or raspberry cheesecake martini. The Soyer au Champagne (translation: “Silk with Champagne”) is a classic cocktail dating back to the late 1800s. Haigh’s description of it “really hit[ting] a sophisticated harmonic that sweet, after dinner dessert beverages rarely aspire to” piqued my interest. Add to that the fact that I’d have a rare opportunity to bust out my vintage dessert glasses and there’d be pretty, foamy white bubbles involved — I was sold.

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Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from the Cookie Quality Control Team! (Side note: We also specialize in wine QC. [Full disclosure: I am using the royal "we."])

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday filled with friends, family, and crazy amounts of food!

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Blue Bottle Sesame-Absinthe Cigars

Sometimes I like to marvel at how far my tastes have come in the past ten years. If you’d told my barely-20 self that my poison of choice in the future would be gin, I’d have said you were crazy. If you’d prophesied that I’d cook with coconut milk on a regular basis and have an uncontrollable addition to chocolate-covered macaroons, I’d have recoiled in horror. And if you went on to tell tales of my love of anise, you would have made me straight-up sick.

For years, anise was my sworn enemy (second only to the onion). I can still remember rifling through one of our snack drawers when I was a child and happening upon what appeared to be a bag of hidden, secret candy, only to remove it and discover that it was black licorice. Still candy, but the worst kind. Gross, old people candy. That bag hung around for a while (I think my brother was the only one who would eat them, infrequently), and it tricked me numerous times. It was evil and I hated it. The end.

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Weekly Rewind

Hey everyone! This rewind is quite overdue, considering that I did not post one last week (and opted for cookies instead). I’ve been buried under a pile of job-work the past couple weeks (the weight of which became even heavier when I realized that last Friday was the 7th, not the 6th [which I'd had in my head all week, and arranged my schedule based on that]……derrr). Add to that a virus on my desktop from trying to find free downloads of fonts that I should be paying for (probably one of the dorkier ways to get a computer virus), and it’s been a bit of a mad scramble for me to get back on track while digging things of my pathetically unorganized back-up drive. But things are calming down a little bit. And yesterday I had the chance to make not one, but TWO cookies from The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee. (Well, we’ll say one and a half, as the dough for the double chocolate cookies is still sitting in the fridge, waiting to be baked this afternoon. FYI: If I wind up with salmonella, it’s Valrhona’s fault, because I can’t stop snagging little bits of the über chocolatey raw dough.)

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Spicy Gingerbread Cookies with Citrus Glaze

Gingerbread cookies are a funny thing. There are many different ways to make them, and likely almost as many differing opinions on what sort of gingerbread is truly THE best. Sweet. Spicy. Chewy. Snappy. Glazed. Iced. Plain. It goes on. For me, it’s a lot like pizza (hear me out) — in the sense that even gingerbread that isn’t that great is still totally edible. If it’s made of spices and sugar and butter, I will eat it.

So this is why, for a few years, I followed a somewhat ho-hum gingerbread recipe. It was fine and tasty and all, but it wasn’t anything to write home about. Then, nearly two years ago, Deb posted this recipe. At the time, I didn’t know that what I wanted from gingerbread was more spice, less sweet. But when I saw the title “Spicy Gingerbread Cookies” and gazed at those dark cookies, laden with spices and molasses and dark brown sugar, I was pretty sure I’d found a new go-to recipe. One that wouldn’t be take-it-or-leave-it.

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