Rosy Cheek

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This fine white hot chocolate takes a hint from Latin-American rompope and surprises and delights the sipper with the salty, buttery touch and roasted taste of ground nuts. If you have had a white chocolate and macadamia cookie, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. They are a love-match. The pink peppercorns with their rosy flavor and peppery pop, take this white hot chocolate into cloud-level heights of goodness.

from: Winter Cocktails
serves: 4

1/4 cup roasted & salted macadamia nuts
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 cups milk (whole milk or plain almond milk)
1 tablespoon whole pink peppercorns, crushed, plus more for garnish*
6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped (or white chocolate chips)
pinch salt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
6 ounces white rum, optional

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Pulse nuts and sugar in a small food processor until finely ground.

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Bring milk and peppercorns to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes.

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Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard solids. Return milk to saucepan and stir in nut mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in white chocolate and salt and cook, stirring, until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Serve in warmed cups and spike with 1 1/2 ounces white rum per serving, if desired.

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random tidbit for the foodie nerds like me: Pink peppercorns are not acutally peppercorns, but the dried berries from the Schinus molle, or the Peruvian Peppertree. They are used as colorful, flavorful additions to a variety of sauces and meat and fish dishes, desserts, and of course hot and tasty beverages like the Rosy Cheek. Freeze-dried berries last for about 6 months in a cool, dark pantry.

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