Sep 25, 2014 04:40PM
● By Megy Karydes
As the crisp chill sets in, our minds naturally wander toward fall’s bounty, Halloween parties and warming drinks. Bypass the treats aisle at the grocery store this Halloween and consider making your own. Chef Heather Terhune, of Sable Kitchen & Bar at the Hotel Palomar (HotelPalomar-Chicago.com), in Chicago, loves Almond Joy candies and makes a gourmet version of the coconut bar using bittersweet chocolate.
Her colleague Bartender John Stanton thinks more of rose hips when the season begins cooling off. Almost all roses produce the small, colorful bulbs that remain when a rose dies. Most gardeners don’t see them, because they trim the dead flowers before the rose hips can form, which is unfortunate because they’re a great source of vitamin C and known for helping to stave off winter colds. Rose hips can be used in everything from cocktail syrup to jam, relish and herbal teas. They are available from online herbal retailers and spice shops and specialty stores.
At Sable Kitchen & Bar, Stanton uses dehydrated rose hips to make the syrup for his Whistle Stop cocktail. Both the Homemade Almond Joy and Whistle Stop cocktail are available at Sable Kitchen & Bar this month, but for those eager to try their hand at making either of them at home, Terhune and Stanton have shared their recipes.
Megy Karydes is currently working on a book on female mixologists. Although she’s not talented in the kitchen, she can make a mean gin fizz using locally distilled gin. Find her on Instagram.com/megykarydes.
Homemade Almond Joy
Makes 10-11 bars
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, lightly packed
3 level Tbsp unrefined virgin coconut oil
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
10-11 roasted and unsalted almonds
¼ tsp kosher or sea salt
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
In a food processor, process the shredded coconut, coconut oil, honey, vanilla extract and salt until it forms a thick paste, about 2-3 minutes. Test the coconut mixture to see if it holds together by squeezing a small amount in palm of hand. It should compact nicely. If the coconut mixture doesn’t hold together well, continue to process the mixture for 1 to 2 more minutes.Line a small baking sheet that can fit in the freezer with parchment paper. Using a tablespoon, which helps to keep the bars uniform in size, scoop out and gently press down the coconut mixture into the measuring spoon. The goal is a fairly level scoop.
Drop the tablespoon of mixture onto the lined baking sheet and then press and mold the balls into a rectangle shape. Press and mold them on the baking sheet or in the palm of your hand.
Press an almond on top of the coconut rectangles to make an Almond Joy and place the coconut rectangles in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes or until solid.
Once the coconut bars are frozen, melt the chocolate. Make sure to keep the coconut bars in the freezer until you have melted the chocolate. If using a 4-ounce bar of chocolate, chop or break it up into small pieces. Place the 4 ounces of chocolate or chocolate chips into a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure that the bowl doesn’t touch the water, and melt the chocolate, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula until melted and smooth. Immediately remove the melted chocolate from the heat and give it a stir with a spatula.
You can also melt the chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl for 15-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the chocolate is smooth. When the chocolate is melted, take out the frozen bars.
Gently insert a toothpick into a bar and dip the bar into the melted chocolate, making sure that the whole bar gets covered with chocolate. Lift the bar out with the toothpick and tap off any excess chocolate. Return the chocolate covered bar to the parchment paper and gently remove the toothpick from the bar. Repeat the process with the other remaining bars.
Once all of the bars have been dipped into the chocolate, place them in the freezer for a few minutes to set.
Whistle Stop Cocktail
1½ oz pisco
½ oz cocchi rosa
¾ oz rose hip syrup
¾ oz Lemon
Shake, serve up in a coupe. Garnish with five drops of rose water.
For the Rose Hip Syrup
Take a ½ cup of dehydrated rose hips and steeps in one quart of boiling water. After steeping, strain and mix with half an eyedropper of rose water.
Then mix the tea with an equal amount of sugar by volume until it dissolves, and then refrigerates. Alvita makes rose hip tea bags (use 10 bags per quart).