When I was a tween and therefore too young to be left home alone, my parents would drop me at my grandparents’ for New Year’s Eve. My grandmother would put out a spread of hors d’oeuvres and make champagne punch. She really knew how to entertain and anything I learned about party planning was from her. Well, her and Tori Spelling. I was allowed to invite a friend along and to this day, they were the best New Years parties I’ve ever been to.
After watching the ball drop on TV, which, by the way, I still do even though I’ve lived in NYC for 22 years, (honestly, you couldn’t pay me to be anywhere near Times Square), my best friend and I would get ready for bed. But instead of going to sleep, we stayed up and wrote out our top ten accomplishments of the year. Much more fun than making resolutions, the list always included serious as well as ridiculous “achievements” and often spilled into ten more accomplishments of the year. In honor of that tradition, I’m going to take a stab at sharing with you my top ten accomplishments of 2015. Disclaimer: They may not be as silly as the past ones since I am not currently full of champagne punch.
- Learned to tell when custard is actually thick enough. (Thank you Chef Heather Miller.)
- Reluctantly, very reluctantly, embraced Twitter.
- Realized that you can actually develop strong friendships online.
- Discovered I have a friend who is as obsessed with German butter cake as I am. We will master it if it kills us, though no promises it will be gluten free.
- Managed to pay attention many, many times when my husband droned on about guitars. Hey, it’s harder than it sounds.
- Rediscovered my love for photography, though I still have a long way to go.
- Finally, signed a contract to have the kitchen remodeled. Yes, this may actually happen before Spring.
- Managed to reach first place amongst my friends in Two Dots.
- Enlightened to the time saving benefits of a juice press. (Thank you culinary school.)
- Rekindled my relationship with mascara. Good mascara doesn’t really irritate and it just looks so good.
I’d love to hear about your accomplishments of 2015. Leave a comment below.
20 minPrep Time
10 minCook Time
30 minTotal Time
1/4 cup champagne or sparkling wine
1 teaspoon gelatin
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
small pinch of kosher salt
1 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
- Measure 1/4 cup of champagne or sparkling wine and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Allow the gelatin to “bloom,” about 5 to 10 minutes. Tip: Make sure you sprinkle the gelatin, not just dump it or it will make clumps.
- In a medium heatproof mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream.
- Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk slowly and constantly until thickened (approximately 5 minutes) and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the champagne/gelatin, vanilla and butter. Set aside to cool. Tip: the mixture will continue to thicken a bit as it cools.
- Melt the chocolate in either a medium bowl set over simmering water or in the microwave. Set aside to cool slightly. i]Tip: Click to learn [how to melt chocolate. [/i] Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer, whip the remaining 1 1/4 cups of heavy cream until soft peaks form.
- Pour the now cooled chocolate into the custard. Mix until thoroughly combined.
- Fold the whipped cream into the custard mixture until incorporated. Cover and chill for at least two hours, preferably overnight.
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