Brrrr. It looks like it's going to be an early winter this year. Here's a delicious drink , a classic, that is meant to be sipped while bundled up in an old plaid blanket or sitting in front of a fire. Whip up a batch to keep in your refrigerator for those chilled-to-the bone evenings or pack it into pretty little jars to give, along with a bottle of rum, as a holiday gift.
This couldn't be simpler. First, a decadent batter is whipped up using butter, sugar and warming spices such as cinnamon, cardamom and clove. Use a wooden spoon if you want to keep the vintage vibe (and kickstart the warming up process!) or toss everything into your stand mixer. At this point the batter can be packed into little jars and given as gifts or, if your day has been way too long and cold, you can use it immediately: Just add a dollop to a mug filled with hot water and rum and stir. One sip and a deep warmth will immediately begin to flow through your veins. It's the hot rum, of course, but those spices are adding their own special touch, too.
My recipe uses a lot less sugar than most. Feel free to add up to an additional 1/2 cup of sugar if you want it sweeter. It's not very traditional, but a nice touch is to grate a little orange zest into the batter. A pinch of pepper is good, too.
This recipe is easily multiplied. The jar pictured above held just shy of one recipe.
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
(optional: orange zest and freshly ground pepper)
Pinch ground cloves
In a bowl with a wooden spoon or using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, spices, and salt. If you want, you can add a little freshly grated orange peel and some pepper from a few turns of the pepper mill.
For gifts: Pack into a clean glass jar (or even tupperware if that's more your vibe), label and keep in the refrigerator. Give as a gift along with mixing instructions, a bottle of dark rum and maybe a pair of mugs.
To drink immediately: Dollop about 2 tablespoons of the batter into a small mug. Pour in 2 ounces of rum, top with boiling water, stir, and enjoy!
To save for later: Pack batter into a container, cover and keep in the refrigerator. It will turn hard, but you can scoop it into your serving mugs with a little ice-cream scoop. Or if you have time, let it soften a little on the counter. You can also form the batter into a log on a sheet of waxed paper, seal by twisting the ends, and chill. Remove from the refrigerator, slice into 8 pieces, rewrap, and return to the refrigerator or freezer.
(Image: Dana Velden)