From the bar and kitchen – Kijafa and chocolate coconut balls

kijafaWith it having a rather retro looking label, one might be a little cautious about trying this fortified wine.  But with my predeliction for retro things, I thought nothing of it.  It strikes me a bit victorian and from what little I’ve found out about this stuff, they probably haven’t changed the label since they started making it around 1841 (appropriate for you steampunk folks out there).  I have found some other reviews of it but considering how they describe this alcohol, I can only come to the assumption that the reviewers never even brought it to their nose.  Oh well, different people, different opinions.

Kijafa is a cherry wine fortified by sugar beet alcohol.  Sugar beet alcohol is how lots of ethanol is made.  It does not look like beet juice or taste like beets. It is essentially vodka.  It is from Denmark.  And yes it’s relatively cheap (Kijafa at the Pennsylvania state stores) and often on the lower shelves.  So what, if it tastes good? 

Now, I am guessing that this alcohol can go bad just like Chambord (so don’t “save” it, rotten Chambord is such a sin 🙂 ) since it is a fruit based product.  That may account for the strange claims of this tasting like beets, etc.  However, the bottle my husband and I have tastes exactly like dark bing cherries with a alcohol kick.  It is sweet, make no mistake about that, but no  sweeter than a port or cream sherry. It has enough of the fruit acid to cut through some of the sweetness.  I really figured it would taste like “cherry” cough syrup, but it does not.

We’ve made a habit of picking up cherry alcohol whenever we can.  I’ve had kirsch, the non-sweet cherry brandy (It was American but can’t recall the name), various cherry wines (Nissley has an excellent pair of sweet and sour (semi-dry) cherry wines, listing toward bottom of their page) and some of the more gawdawful schnapps. We like to pair them with chocolate, be it cake or candy.  Below is a recipe of my mother-in-law’s.  It’s essentially a poor man’s truffle, built on things a farm wife would have.  The cream for the ganache in a truffle would have been left alone to keep up the milkfat content in the milk the farm was selling.  The name “goop” came from it being left in my husband’s locker in high school.  It does get soft at room temperature.     

Goop Recipe

Otherwise known as Chocolate Coconut Balls.  If you make angel food cake from scratch, it’s a great way to use up the egg yolks.

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup whole milk

4 egg yolks

4 tbsp butter (don’t use anything else!)

2 tsp vanilla extract

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped nuts and/or shredded coconut (optional)

Sift flour, sugar, salt together in small bowl.  In double-boiler, put milk, yolks and butter, heat until butter melts.  Add flour mixture.  Cook until very thick (takes about 10 – 15 minutes).  Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips and vanilla, or pour milk mixture over chips and vanilla in a bowl.  Refrigerate for several hours.  Roll into balls, a small disher is handy for this and roll into nuts/coconut/powdered cocoa, if desired.

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