MAKE YOUR OWN: Chocolate Liqueur

DIY chocolate liqueur with printable labels

One really blessed night a few years ago, one of my best friends invented a creamy chocolate drink we so eloquently dubbed The Lovely Awesome. There really was no other name for it. Nothing else described the lovely awesomeness of the creamy chocolate drink. Occasionally since then, I’ve worked on tweaking the recipe to include ingredients I can actually keep on hand, since the original called for things like dark chocolate almond milk and creamy liqueurs that have a short shelf life. My mission ended in this project- making my own chocolate liqueur.  I made some to keep, some to give, and a little creamy version to keep around for sweet cocktails during the next week.

I’ll share with you my updated version of The Lovely Awesome soon, but for now, I thought I’d share this great gift idea to give to friends, coworkers, or hostesses this holiday season. I found these great liqueur bottles here, and designed a label that I printed, cut out, and spray mounted to the finished chocolate liqueur bottles. The recipe I used is from Creative Culinary, and it is scrumptious! I only slightly adapted it to make for a quicker and easier process.

P.S. This recipe is not for créme de cacao, but you will see a bottle labeled that way in these photos.

Make your own chocolate liqueur with this recipe and printable bottle labels.

Make your own chocolate liqueur with this recipe and printable bottle labels.

Chocolate Liqueur
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Cups water- divided
  2. 1/2 Cup 141 proof vodka
  3. 1/2 Cup sugar
  4. 1/4 Cup cocoa
Optional for creamy version
  1. 1 small can evaporated milk
Instructions
  1. In a small sauce pan, boil 1 cup of water with the sugar to create a simple syrup. Remove from heat and add cocoa powder, stir to dissolve, then add remaining 1 cup of water. Once cool cooled, add vodka to the mixture. Using a funnel, pour mixture into bottle. Original author recommends leaving it refrigerated for 1 week before using. Shake well before pouring.
Notes
  1. I had excess liqueur that did not fit into the large bottle, so I combined it with one small can of evaporated milk and bottled it for creamy cocktails. This mixture will only last for a week, so it's not ideal for gift giving.
Adapted from Creative Culinary
Adapted from Creative Culinary
Making Nice in the Midwest http://makingniceinthemidwest.com/
Make your own chocolate liqueur with this recipe and printable bottle labels.

Make your own chocolate liqueur with this recipe

If you want to make a creamy liqueur with any leftovers like I did, but you’re dairy intolerant, you can probably find evaporated goat’s milk at the grocery store which might work wonders for you! If you are vegan, I would try coconut milk in place of the evaporated milk.

Make your own chocolate liqueur with this recipe

If you double this recipe, it should split nicely between four of these bottles. You can print out one sheet of these labels I made onto sticker paper, then peel and mount them to the bottle. I didn’t have sticker paper, so I used nice presentation paper, but out the labels, and sprayed the back with permanent spray mount to adhere them to the bottles.

For some immediate post-cooking satisfaction, I poured some of the chocolate liqueur over ice and topped it with the evaporated milk. It hit the spot! In between sips, I cut some ribbon and tied a bow on the bottles so they’ll be all ready to give as gifts to my family! Finally- a homemade gift that people will actually want to receive- no doubt about it!

Make your own chocolate liqueur with this recipe and printable bottle labels.

Make your own chocolate liqueur to give as gifts with this recipe and printable bottle labels.

Through the Eyes of a Babe

Maize Valley Farm

Maybe it just got lost amongst college planning, dates with my boyfriend, and the pursuit of coolness. But somewhere in my late teens, the holidays lost their magic. Sure, I would still get excited about the season of family gatherings, cookie baking, and Christmas music, but it just wasn’t the same. I don’t think I even carved a pumpkin from the years 2004-2008. I think I was just going through a shift that happens with a person becomes independent and tries to navigate adulthood. But when Phil and I decided to start our own family, one of the things I was most looking forward to was having the real chance to get excited again for the holidays. Decorating our home for the seasons could finally bring joy to someone besides myself. Traditions would become important once again, and we could experience the excitement of the holiday season through the sparkling eyes of our children.

This Fall, the Phil and I took Lucy to Maize Valley, a local farm that bustles with family friendly activities this time of year. They have a huge corn maze, a pumpkin patch, hot air balloons, hay rides, animals, games, and even a pumpkin cannon! Lucy was amazed at everything, and we were amazed at her amazement. It occurred to me that I was finally, genuinely enjoying seasonal traditions again, and that maybe this trip to the pumpkin patch was a bit more for me than for it was for Lucy. I mean, she probably won’t remember it, anyway. But it’s my hope that while she might not remember the specific moments when she first experienced the magic of Fall and the joy of Christmas, the lingering feelings of excitement and comfort will leave a deep impression in her tiny heart. These early experiences is how nostalgia is born, and I’m hoping we’re getting her off to a good start with plenty of warm fuzzies for the years to come!

Maize Valley Farm

Maize Valley Farm

Maize Valley Farm

Maize Valley Farm

Making Nice in the Midwest

Maize Valley Farm

 

Wilma Flintstone Hair Tutorial

Wilma Flintstone hair tutorial

I always imagined that if I had a little girl someday, we would dress up as The Flintstones for Halloween. I enjoyed the show tremendously as a kiddo, and aren’t nostalgic Halloween costumes always the best? Whipping up the costumes was actually easier than I thought it would be. Sure, you can find Fred and Wilma Fintstone costumes online and in stores, but I wanted to save some money by putting them together myself. You can check out my Flintstones Family DIY Costumes post I did at Babble for more instructions. But the trickiest part is probably creating Wilma’s cartoon hair.

This Wilma Flintstone hairstyle took around 15 minutes to put together, and used two cans of extremely toxic orange hairspray. Yuck! But it wasn’t as difficult as I thought! If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already gotten a peek at my Wilma-do. But here’s the full tutorial for how you can do it yourself.

Wilma Flintstone hair tutorial

First I pulled aside a section of hair at the top front of my head and pinned it to keep it out of the way. Then I teased the rest of my hair with some hairspray and a bristle brush, focusing on the area on the top of the sides, where Wilma’s hair protrudes in the cartoon. Next I pulled my hair up in a ponytail holder at the top of my head. At this point I pulled some of the hair on the sides of my head out a little to accentuate the pointy cartoon look.

To create the bun, I used hairspray and a bristle brush and teased the hair that was in the ponytail. This created the body of the bun, so all I had to do was wrap the extra hair around the bun and pin it into place. All that was left was the front portion.

I pulled down the reserved hair at the front of my head and really went to town with teasing it into a big mass. This took a lot of hairspray and a bit of work with a bristle brush. Next, I smoothed it a little bit with the brush and began twisting it upward for the pompadour twist. I kept this hair loose, so I wouldn’t loose the body, and spiraled the twist inside of itself, pinning it into place with lots of bobby pins. Then I sprayed it with a coat of hairspray and smoothed it with the hairbrush.

The last step is covering the style with orange hairspray, which can be found in a costume shop or online here. Beware, guys, because this stuff is really toxic! I may have photographed myself in the bathroom, but in actuality I sprayed this outside and I probably should’ve used a breathing mask even still. You will want to cover yourself with a drop cloth of sorts, also, to avoid overspray getting on your clothing. While spraying, keep your sprays even and light. Then when you’ve finished, the overspray on your skin easily wipes off with a slightly damp cloth.

Check out the rest of our family’s costumes here at Babble! Lucy makes a pretty cute Pebbles, eh?

Flintstone Family costume DIY

A Heathy[er] Valentine’s Day Chocolate Box

chocolate covered fruit valentine's day box

Just when we were all getting into the swing of a healthy new year, Valentine’s Day sneaks in, tempting us with cream filled chocolates and decadent desserts. I wanted to treat Phil and I to something special for our sweet tooth(s), but not with anything that would totally undo our recent healthy decisions. It didn’t take me long to figure out a solution! Dark chocolate combines perfectly with unsweetened coconut and naturally sweet fruit for a perfect Valentine’s Day treat we can enjoy guilt free!

chocolate covered fruit with coconut

For our chocolate covered fruit box, I selected some of our favorite sweet fruits: strawberries, raspberries, cherries, and clementines. Not all of these are in season, so it  was a bit of a splurge for us! Before covering the fruit with melted Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips, I soaked the berries and cherries for ten minutes in a large bowl filled with one part vinegar and 9 parts water. After my clementines were peeled and the other fruit was dry, I laid out wax paper, slowly melted the dark chocolate chips in the microwave (a double boiler would work too), and began dipping my fruit in the chocolate and laying them on wax paper to dry. I added unsweetened shredded coconut to the clementines and raspberries, sprinkling coconut on the wax paper before laying down the chocolate-dipped fruit, and then sprinkling again overtop of the freshly dipped fruit.

This would be a sweet gift give to coworkers, friends, and lovers too! I found a cute heart-shaped box that, when refrigerated, will keep the chocolate covered fruit fresh for a week or so. But knowing us, we won’t let it last that long!

healthy valentine's day dessert

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