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Elderflower ‘Champagne’

Elderflowers are one of the joys of early summer, and one of the easiest, most delicious and satisfying summer treats is homemade elderflower ‘champagne.’ Creating champagne with nothing but water, sugar, lemon, and a few flowers is magic. It’s also a great excuse for a foraging walk and costs nothing except a bit of time.

The elderflowers need to be free of pesticides and other contaminants, and I find the best containers for fermenting the champagne are plastic sparkling mineral bottles. They are well able for the pressure, but they need to be clean!

Elderflower Champagne

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 litre bucketful of elderflowers
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 kilo sugar
  • 4.5 litre water

Yield: 5 litre bottles

What to do:

  1. Heat the sugar and a litre of water, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Allow to cool.
  2. As soon as possible after picking them, carefully rinse the elderflower heads and place in a clean, 6 litre bucket or pot.
  3. Pour in the rest of the water.
  4. Stir in the cooled sugar syrup.
  5. Cut the lemon, squeeze in the juice, then put in the lemon as well.
  6. Cover with a clean cloth, and leave for 2 days, stirring occasionally.
  7. After two days, strain away the flowers and lemon and pour into clean, empty mineral bottles. Cap them tightly.
  8. Leave the bottles for two weeks. If there is any sign of bulging, open the cap to release the pressure; then reseal.
  9. Enjoy!

Note: I have only made this once, and it came out perfect – fully carbonated, nicely alcoholic, and very tasty. I opened one bottle every few days and tasted it, just to see how it was coming along, and I recommend you do the same. If you try this recipe, I’d love feedback!

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Hot Milk Chocolate with Caramel

caramelmilkchoc I’ve been wanting to make a caramel hot chocolate for a while, and today I made a few trials, using dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and cocoa. The best one was the one I made with milk chocolate, and perhaps it also would be the best addition to the line up of hot chocolates in our shops, since we have plenty of dark options, including our Extreme Cocoa. This is very sweet, but it’s very delicious.

I don’t exactly know what to call it, so let me know if you have any ideas! Here’s the recipe:

Murphys Hot Milk Chocolate with Caramel

Ingredients:

200 g milk chocolate (good quality)
550 ml milk
250 ml caramel sauce

What to Do:

caramelmilkchoc2

1. Make the caramel sauce. 
2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave.
3. Combine the milk and caramel sauce in a saucepan and warm.
4. Add the warmed milk to the melted chocolate in small parts, mixing all the time, to create a smooth emulsion.
5. Warm to drinking temperature (55C).
6. Garnish with whipped cream, drizzle with caramel sauce, and enjoy!

Six servings.

Note:
The quality will really depend on the quality of chocolate that you use. I suggest Valrhona, Callebaut, or Lindt milk chocolate.

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Winter Hot Chocolate

Hot Cocoa My brother and I sometimes argue about hot chocolate. He likes his made with cocoa, and I like mine with melted chocolate. Cocoa is chocolate with most of the cocoa butter squeezed out, so it’s a powder. Hot chocolates made with unsweetened cocoa are light with a lot of kick (I’ve already given a recipe for Sean’s favourite – our Extreme Cocoa). Hot chocolates made with melted chocolate, are rich and silky (think hot chocolates in Paris and see this recipe).

I started wondering what happened if you joined “light with a lot of kick” (cocoa) with “rich and silky” (melted chocolate). So I made it, and both of us are happy. The recipe is below, and I’ve added a bit of cinnamon for Christmas cheer.

Murphys Hot Melted Chocolate with Cocoa Kick

CocoaIngredients:

  • 100 g dark (70%) chocolate
  • 40 g pure, unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 140 g sugar
  • 800 ml milk
  • 1/2 teasp cinnamon
  • Whipped cream for garnish (optional)
  • Orange zest for garnish (optional)

What to do:

  1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave.
  2. Mix together the cocoa, sugar, and cinnamon in a saucepan.
  3. Add the milk in small parts, stirring all the time, until it is smooth.
  4. Heat to a low simmer, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the warmed cocoa milk to the melted chocolate in small parts, mixing all the time.
  6. It will clump at first, but keep adding in small parts until you have a smooth emulsion.
  7. Warm to drinking temperature (55C).
  8. Garnish with grated chocolate, whipped cream, and orange zest and enjoy!

Six servings.

Note: If you don’t like cinnamon, leave it away!

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Extreme Cocoa

Extreme Cocoa I’ve posted various hot chocolate recipes, and this is what we’ve settled on for a hot chocolate with a huge cocoa hit and a drink that’s not too sweet. This cocoa is thick and luscious, and it’s going down a storm in the shops. It’s for real chocoholics only…

Murphys Extreme Cocoa

Extreme Cocoa glass125 g cocoa (unsweetened)
800 ml milk
225 gm sugar
1 teasp. natural vanilla essence

1. Mix the cocoa and sugar.
2. Add the milk in small parts, stirring to create a paste, then diluting the paste until the milk and cocoa mix are combined. Add the vanilla essence.
3. Pour into a saucepan and place the over medium heat, stirring all the time until it reaches 60-65C.
4. Garnish with grated chocolate and/or whipped cream and enjoy!

Six servings.

Notes:

1. If you find it too strong, you can always dilute it with more milk, but then again if you do find it too strong, this is probably the wrong recipe for you!
2. The amount of sugar will vary depending on the chocolate. Obviously you can add more if you want it sweeter.

3. You can freeze any excess and thaw it later when you want to drink it…

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Black and White Cocktail

Black and White Cocktail Since there is a “Black and White Party” over at the Happy Sorceress, I thought I’d throw in my own themed ice cream cocktail. Naturally it includes chocolate and a good hint of coffee from the Kahlua liqueur. The vanilla ice cream makes the drink cold and creamy. I think it’s just the thing for the dead of winter!

Chocolate Kahlua Cocktail with Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients:

100 gm 70% chocolate
150 ml milk
1 tbs. sugar
Black and White CloseupKahlua Liqueur
Vanilla ice cream

What to Do:

1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler
2. Warm the milk and the sugar in a pan to about 50C.
3. Stir the warm milk into the melted chocolate, adding slowly, until you have a smooth emulsion.
4. Fill a shot glass using the following ratio: 1/3 chocolate mixture and 2/3 Kahlua. Leave some room for the ice cream!
5. Top with a small spoonful of vanilla ice cream.

Recipe makes enough for 8 cocktails. It’s a good chocolate sauce if you have fewer guests and some left over!

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Hot Cocoa for the Holidays

Cocoa with Orange Simon from Tuppenceworth and my brother have been asking for a hot chocolate made with cocoa, so I finally got around to creating one for the shops. The basic idea for this recipe comes from the Swiss cantone Ticino, where my grandmother retired, and a very old Swiss recipe book that is long out of print. I’ve made variations to suit my love of full-on chocolate, and this is not for the faint-hearted! However, it does make a thick, spiced chocolate that is perfect for a Winter’s night in by the fire, or as a great addition to a holiday meal.

Murphys Cacao del Ticino

125 g cocoa (unsweetened)
800 milk
225 gm sugar
1/2 teasp. cinnamon
Zest of one orange
2 drops almond essence

Hot Cocoa Holiday1. Mix the cocoa, sugar, cinnamon and orange zest.
2. Add the milk in small parts, stirring to create a paste, then diluting the paste until the milk and cocoa mix are combined. Add the almond essence.
3. Pour into a saucepan and place the over medium heat, stirring all the time until it reaches 60-65C.
4. Strain to remove the orange zest.
5. Garnish with grated chocolate and/or whipped cream and enjoy!

Six servings.

Notes:

1. If you find it too strong, you can always dilute it with more milk.
2. The amount of sugar will vary depending on the chocolate. Obviously you can add more if you want it sweeter.

3. Beware the almond essence. It is very volatile. Don’t use too much!

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Spicy Aztec Hot Chocolate

Aztec Chocolate I wrote an article for the Irish Times (should be in the Dec. 5th issue) about chocolate, and as part of my research I found out that until the 1830s, chocolate was only a beverage. This got me thinking about doing more variations on the hot chocolates we serve in the shops, and it seemed to me the first place to start was with an homage to Montezuma, the Aztec king of chocolate.

Myth has it that he drank 50 cups of chocolate a day, using golden goblets that were not re-used. He considered chocolate to be a great aphrodisiac, and would always down a goblet or two before visiting his concubines.

Jalapeno PepperChocolate, for the Aztecs and for the Mayans before them, contained spices including hot chilli peppers. This was echoed in the movie Chocolate.

In any case, here’s my recipe. I think it’s a great holiday drink, especially on a cold night!

Murphys Aztec Hot Chocolate Recipe

200 g chocolate (good quality 70%)
800 ml milk
60 gm sugar (4 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Very small pinch dried jalapeno (about 1/16th teasp)

Melting Chocolate1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave.
2. Heat the milk, sugar, and spices together to about 45C and whisk to make sure the spices are dispersed and the sugar is dissolved.
3. Strain to remove the chilli pepper.
4. Add the warmed milk to the melted chocolate in small parts, mixing all the time, to create a smooth emulsion.
5. Warm to drinking temperature (55C).
6. Garnish with grated chocolate and/or whipped cream and enjoy!

Six servings.

Notes:
1. The quality will really depend on the quality of chocolate that you use. I suggest Valrhona, Callebaut, or Lindt dark chocolate.
2. The amount of sugar will vary depending on the chocolate. Obviously you can add more if you want it sweeter. Adding less won’t necessarily make it more “chocolate-y” as the taste buds need some sweetness to bring out the flavour of the chocolate.
3. Beware of the jalapeno. Taste the milk as it’s cooking, and strain it if it’s getting too spicy. It should warm you, not burn you!

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Frozen Strawberry Banana Daiquiri

Daiquiri My brother-in-law Paul brought me a bottle of rum back from Nicaragua, where he was touring with an orchestra, playing his horn. So I made some of it into a frozen strawberry banana daiquiri.

It’s one of the big secrets of having a domestic ice cream freezer – you can make great frozen drinks that are sure to be a smash hit at parties (although there wont be enough for more than a few guests). The only caveat is that there needs to enough non-alcohol content to make it semi-solid.

If you want to try one, here’s a recipe…

RumKieran’s Frozen Strawberry Banana Daiquiri

Ingredients:

200 ml water

100 gm sugar

2 bananas

300 gm fresh strawberries

Juice of 1 lemon

300 ml rum

What to do:

1. Combine all of the ingredients except the rum and puree using a blender or food processor.

Daiquiri2. Transfer to a sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.

3. Cool completely.

4. Stir in rum.

5. Transfer to a domestic ice cream freezer and run it until the daiquiri thickens. It will take much longer than a normal ice cream mix, and it wont freeze as solid.

Sláinte mheah!

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Author

Kieran Murphy is a director of Murphys Ice Cream living in Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland.

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Company

Murphys Ice Cream

Murphys Ice Cream has shops in Dingle, Killarney and Dublin 2 (Wicklow Street).

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