Kahlua Hot Chocolate


Skip the store-bought hot cocoa mix  – homemade hot chocolate is easier to make than you think with just a handful of ingredients that’s already sitting in your pantry. And it’s even better with a hint of Kahlúa!

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 5 minutes

Total Time 10 minutes

Yield 2 servings


  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 ounce Kahlúa coffee liqueur
  • Mini marshmallows, for serving
  • Salted caramel, for serving
  • Chocolate syrup, for serving


  • In a medium saucepan, combine milk, sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon and nutmeg over medium heat until heated through, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Kahlúa.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with mini marshmallows, salted caramel and chocolate syrup, if desired.


So This Must Be What Santa Claus Drinks on Vacation

This spin on hot buttered rum has a cardamom-spiced pineapple puree in the mix. Because the fruit is roasted, the punch takes some time to prepare, but it pays off in decadent flavor.


Roasted-Pineapple Hot Buttered Rum

1 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and pod reserved
3 1/2 ounces (7 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 large pineapple (6 pounds)
8 green cardamom pods, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons whole allspice berries
2 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup dark rum (optional)

Cook’s Note
The punch’s base can be made the day before and refrigerated. Heat over low heat, and add the alcohol, if using, just before serving.

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with nonstick baking mats. Mix 1 cup sugar, the vanilla seeds, and 5 tablespoons butter. Slice 1/2 inch from both ends of pineapple, and discard. Cut 2 slices crosswise, 3/4 inch thick, and set aside. Peel the remaining pineapple, and slice into 3/4-inch-thick spears, working around core. Discard core.

2. Divide half the butter mixture between baking sheets, dropping it by rounded teaspoons onto mats. Arrange pineapple spears and rounds in a single layer on top of butter mixture. Top pineapple with spoonfuls of remaining butter mixture. Roast, rotating pans and basting with pan juices after 15 minutes, for 30 minutes. Flip pineapple, then roast until dark golden brown, about 30 minutes more. Let cool for 5 minutes. Cut rounds into 8 wedges, and reserve for garnish.

3. Meanwhile, bring reserved vanilla pod, cardamom, allspice berries, water, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat, and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain, and discard solids. Working in batches, blend liquid and roasted-pineapple spears with their pan juices on low speed until coarsely pureed. Increase speed to high, and process until smooth, about 2 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a medium saucepan, pressing firmly on solids. Discard solids.

4. Heat pineapple mixture over low heat until heated through, then add rum if using. Divide among glasses, and top each with some of the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and reserved pineapple wedges.


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Peanut Butter Buckeye Bars



  • 2 cups creamy Planters Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2-3 cups pretzels (I used the mini pretzel twists)
  • 10 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons shortening


  • 1 and 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted


  1. In a large bowl, combine 1 and 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs with 1/3 cup sugar and 6 tablespoons melted butter. Combine well and set aside.
  2. Line an 8 x 8 baking pan with either parchment paper or tin foil hanging over the edges, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Draping the foil or parchment paper over the sides will make it easier for you to lift these bars out of the pan.
  3. Pour the graham cracker mixture into the pan and very firmly press down. If you don’t press the mixture firmly in the pan, the crust will fall apart. Place the pan in the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour.
  4. Meanwhile, make the peanut butter mixture. In a large bowl, use your hands to combine peanut butter, softened butter, a pinch of salt, vanilla, and confectioner’s sugar. Use your fingers to really squish the mixture together to mix it well. You can also use a large spoon, but I have found that my (clean!) hands work best.
  5. After the crust has chilled for an hour, arrange the peanut butter mixture on top and gently press down on it.
  6. Arrange a single layer of pretzels over the peanut butter layer. Crush the remaining pretzels and set aside.
  7. In a large bowl, add in milk chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons shortening. Melt according to package directions. I microwaved for about 1 minute at 50% power, then stirred and microwaved at 20 second intervals until the chocolate mixture was melted and smooth.
  8. Pour the melted chocolate mixture over the Buckeye Bars. Sprinkle remaining crushed pretzels on top.
  9. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to set.
  10. Cut into small squares and enjoy!

For more Dessert Recipes CLICK

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Make strawberry shortcake in a jar


Avoid the muss and fuss all together and pack your treats in sturdy glass jars? Not only are they fun for eating, they are splendidly easy to tote. Just put them together, screw a lid atop, and serve withing 2-3 hours.

A simple box cake is crumbled into jars and topped with a mixture of frosting and whipping cream, which protects the cake from too much seepage from the strawberries. A simple, splendid way to enjoy summer.

Strawberry Shortcake in a Jar

  • 1 boxed Yellow Cake Mix, baked according to package directions
  • 1 can vanilla frosting
  • 1 (8 ounce) whipped topping
  • 1 quart fresh strawberries mixed with 1/4 cup sugar

Crumble the yellow cake mix into large chunks. Press a small amount of the crumbled cake mix into the bottom of four small canning jars.  In a small bowl, mix together the frosting and whipped topping. Spoon a small amount on top of the cake layer. Spoon a few strawberries on top of the frosting layer, add another layer of cake, frosting, and strawberries.

Top each jar with a lid and ring. Store in the fridge up to 12 hours before serving.

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12 Drinks of Christmas

12 Drinks of Christmas #10: Eggnog Martini


You have to admit, there’s nothing like homemade eggnog. If you haven’t tried it before, a word of warning: You will never want to drink the store-bought stuff again. But, if laziness trumps taste (which, ashamedly, it sometimes does), there’s nothing wrong with trying this cocktail with eggnog from the grocery store, preferably Southern Comfort’s Vanilla Spice flavor. But take it from me, there is no better way to wow your guests than by serving them something made right in the confines of your own kitchen. Especially when you add alcohol.

Eggnog martini

Courtesy of Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food

Serves 4

1/2 cup sugar

1/8 cup cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice, plus more for garnish

4 cups whole milk

3 large egg yolks

1 1/2 cups brandy

1. Set a large fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl. Place bottom of bowl in an ice bath; set aside. Off heat, in a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg, and pumpkin-pie spice. Gradually whisk in 4 cups milk, taking care to incorporate the cornstarch. Whisk in egg yolks.

2. Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until the first large bubble sputters, 10 to 12 minutes. Reduce heat to low; cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute more. Remove from heat; immediately pour through sieve into bowl. Stir in remaining 4 cups milk. Let cool completely in bowl still set in ice bath.

3. Just before serving, stir in brandy, and ladle into glasses; garnish with pumpkin-pie spice.

12 Drinks of Christmas #9: Melon Ball


♫On the ninth day of Christmas, Kitchenese is giving you…

This cocktail is beautiful in color and has a small surprise at the end: a brandy-soaked cherry. Maraschinos work just fine in this recipe, but the key is to brandy a jar of Bing cherries when they’re in season so that you can snack on them all winter long.

Melon Ball

Courtesy of Crate & Barrel’s Holiday Catalogue

Serves 1

1 1/2 oz. watermelon cordial

Pour into a cordial glass and top with a brandy-soaked cherry.

12 Drinks of Christmas #8: Candy Brandy


♫On the eighth day of Christmas, Kitchenese is giving you…

For the brandy connoisseur: There’s nothing quite like the fragrant aroma and taste of warmed brandy or cognac. Warming the spirit over a gentle flame helps to unlock it’s flavors, while adding a splash of simple syrup takes off the edge with a bit of sweetness. The garnish is perfect here; the citrus and earthy cloves are a wonderful match.

Candy Brandy

Courtesy of Crate & Barrel’s Holiday Catalogue

Serves 1

2 oz. brandy

1 orange slice, spiked with about 10 cloves

Pour the brandy into a warmed snifter. Add a dash of simple syrup and the orange rind spiked with cloves.

12 Drinks of Christmas #7: Mint Kiss

♫On the seventh day of Christmas, Kitchenese is giving you…


The perfect after-dinner cordial. Not only does it look beautiful (the creme de menthe floats on top of the creme de cacao), but the combination of chocolate and mint go heavenly together. It’s like those little after-dinner mints that they never leave you enough of.

Mint Kiss

Courtesy of Crate & Barrel’s Holiday Catalogue 

Makes 1 shot

3/4 oz. white creme de cacao

1/2 oz. green creme de menthe

Pour in the creme de cacao and slowly top with the creme de menthe to create two layers. Serve in a glass (or shot) rimmed with watermelon sugar.

12 Drinks of Christmas #6: White Russian


♫On the sixth day of Christmas, Kitchenese is giving you…

This is super classic, super simple. Vodka, coffee liqueur, cream. You could drink coffee and spike it, or you could drink vodka. You decide.

White Russian 

Serves 1

1 1/2 oz. vodka

3/4 oz. Kahlua

3/4 oz. cream

Pour the vodka and Kahlua into a glass filled with ice. Stir and gently top with cream.

12 Drinks of Christmas #5: Rosemary Fizz


Rosemary Fizz

Serves 1

3 oz. champagne

1/2 oz. St. Germaine

1/2 oz. rosemary simple syrup

1 sprig rosemary

Add St. Germaine and simple syrup into a glass and stir. Top with champagne and garnish with rosemary.

12 Drinks of Christmas #4: Candy Cane Cocktail

♫On the fourth day of Christmas, Kitchenese is giving you…


Ahh, my childhood. Pulling the candy canes off of the tree in secrecy, trying my best not to knock the ornaments onto the floor. Wait, was this today?

I love candy canes and I love this cocktail. Sweet, minty, and a little candy to make you feel like a kid again. Unless you never really grew up. In that case, indulge.

Candy cane cocktail

Courtesy of The Martha Stewart Show

2 ounces strawberry vodka

4 dashes white creme de menthe

2 1/2 ounces cranberry juice

1 candy cane, crushed, for garnish

Place crushed candy canes on a small plate or saucer. Wet the outside rim of a chilled martini glass with water. Holding the glass by the stem, rotate the rim to coat with candy.

In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, creme de menthe, cranberry juice, and ice; shake until well combined. Strain into the chilled glass and serve immediately.

12 Drinks of Christmas #3: Bourbon Punch


Bourbon Punch

Courtesy of Leite’s Culinaria

Makes 1 quart

2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup Kentucky bourbon

1/8 cup vanilla extract

1/8 cup simple syrup

1 cup vanilla ice cream

A pinch of ground nutmeg or cinnamon

Combine the milk, bourbon, vanilla, simple syrup, and ice cream in a blender for about 8 seconds. Pour into mugs or glasses of some sort. Sprinkle with the nutmeg or cinnamon, to garnish.

12 Drinks of Christmas #2: Winter Sangria


♫On the second day of Christmas, Kitchenese is giving you…

Winter White Sangria

And a Christmas Cosmopolitan.

Sangria is no longer just for summertime sipping. Wine lovers, why wait for warm weather to embellish your booze? This drink works just as nice by the fireplace. Pick up some of your favorite fruit–you can use just about anything–and toss them into a wine glass. Add a nice chilled white wine, and you’re good to go. No overnight-soaking required!

Winter White Sangria

Serves 1

4 oz. chilled white wine (sweet or dry; I like Chardonnay…let the fruit add the sugar!)

Add sliced pears, apples, grapes, peaches, and strawberries and pour into a chilled glass.

12 Drinks of Christmas #1: Christmas Cosmo

A Christmas Cosmpolitan


♫On the first day of Christmas, Kitchenese is giving you…

A slick twist on a classic cocktail, this Cosmo eliminates the tangy lime juice and the sugary taste of triple sec and replaces it with a splash of zesty, freshly-squeezed orange juice. It also has a bit more cranberry juice than usual, and is garnished with real cranberries and a lemon peel. Wintertime, welcome.

Christmas Cosmo

Courtesy of Crate & Barrel’s Holiday Catalogue

Serves 1

1 1/2 oz. vodka

3 oz. cranberry juice

1 splash simple syrup

1 splash orange juice

Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon peel and a  cranberry.


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