Friday, November 13, 2015

A Toast To The Season With Shari's Berries and Strawberries and Cream Spiked Hot White Chocolate


I was asked by Shari's Berries if I would like to try their berries and develop a cocktail that complements their flavor. I of course said yes and when my box arrived I was honestly blown away by how nice this berry and cheesecake assortment was. First, they come very nicely packaged in an elegant deep brown box with white accents and ribbon. Then once I opened the package, there were 12 big white chocolate dipped strawberries, nicely decorated with either a caramel colored drizzle or gold sprinkles.



The strawberries were ripe, flavorful, and juicy, and I was totally surprised by how delicious they were. Since they are shipped in a cooler box with ice packs, they are at their peak of flavor when they arrive at your door via Fed Ex. My chosen package also came with 3 mini cheesecakes which are generous enough to share (but who would want to) and were smooth, creamy and delicious.

In the future I will definitely be sending these to my loved ones in lieu of flowers now that I know what a treat they are. If you would like to enjoy a few of these berries yourself or send them to someone you love, the good folks at Shari's Berries have provided my readers with a link to their coupons and discount codes so you can save a few dollars on your orders. To access these offers please click here. So if in doubt, skip the fruitcake this year and send these instead. Your family and friends will love you for it.


Since we had our first snow of the season the day after I received my shipment, I decided on a hot cocktail to accompany my berries and cheesecakes. I actually wanted to echo the flavors of the strawberries in my cocktail so, after much testing, I finally settled on a berry flavored drink. My creamy strawberry flavored hot white chocolate isn't too sweet so it pairs nicely with both the white chocolate dipped strawberries and the cheesecakes. Take my word for it, they are perfect for enjoying while cuddled up on the sofa with a good book while the snow falls outside.


Strawberries and Cream Spiked Hot White Chocolate

I found dehydrated strawberries in the dried fruit section of Whole Foods for about $6.00. I love using them because not only are they also great for flavoring French macarons, they have an indefinite shelf life so I can make one of these drinks on a whim. This package will make several drinks and it's a good thing because you are going to love them.
  
2 heaping tablespoons dehydrated strawberries
8 ounces half and half
1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
1/2 to 1 ounce of your favorite vodka (I used Troy & Sons Platinum Whiskey)
1/2 ounce white (clear) creme de cacao

 Place dehydrated strawberries in a mini food processor and process until you have a fine powder. Alternatively, place strawberries in a plastic zipper seal bag and crush with a rolling pin. Reserve just about 1/8 of a teaspoon of the dust for garnish before placing the remainder into a heatproof mug; set aside.

In a small sauce pan (or in the microwave using a heat proof mug), combine the half and half, vanilla extract and sugar. heat (stirring frequently) until the mixture is piping hot and the sugar is dissolved.

Pour about a couple of tablespoons of the hot milk mixture into crushed strawberries and stir vigorously until you have a smooth mixture. Gradually stir in the remainder of the hot milk mixture.

Add the alcohol and stir well.

Serve immediately while piping hot with a dollop of whipped cream and a little sprinkle of the reserved strawberry dust.

Makes one nice big mug full of hot and creamy spiked goodness.


I was given a sample of Shari's Berries to try. All of the opinions and comments stated in this post are mine alone. No monetary compensation was given in exchange for writing this post.
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