Roasted Chestnut Milk
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Growing up in Bulgaria, fallen chestnuts on the road were a pretty common sight during the fall. Yet, I always thought of them as the perfect ammo for my slingshot and not an actual food you can eat.
Now, don’t judge me, but this year, after a decade of living in the United States, I finally had the chance to taste this crazy nut. It was sweet and earthy, yet very delicate, and I immediately fell in love with it. I know I know, I am so late to the “roasting chestnuts on the open fire party” but better late than never, right? So let’s celebrate the holiday season by creating something unique and chestnaughty this December 😜
Of course, the final product I had in mind was a chestnut cocktail, and maybe one or two none alcoholic alternatives for the little ones to enjoy during the holidays. So right off the bat, I was hesitant to invest money in buying a chestnut liqueur, which is not only alcoholic, but also pretty pricey if you want to get a good one. Meanwhile, I wanted to preserve the delicate character of the chestnut, and that’s why I skipped out on making a syrup as it seemed too heavy and overly sweet.
So I don’t know if it was because chestnuts usually come out Christmastime and Christmas and eggnog is such a good combo, but there was something about chestnuts that just screamed milk to me. So milk infusion? Yes, the words milk infusion might sound a little odd, but playing with the boundaries of normal is what makes this whole bartending thing fun. So we infused milk with chestnuts.
Infusing the milk was rather easy and fun project. The only hard decision you will have to make is whether to use fresh chestnuts or the frozen ones.
I tried both ways, and I have to admit that although, fresh chestnuts taste a little better, roasting and peeling them was a hair-pulling nightmare that took forever. Besides, fresh chestnuts are in season for only a few weeks in December and are surprisingly hard to find in your regular grocery store (in California that is.) So, I would strongly recommend buying the frozen ones (either from Amazon or your whole food store) and save yourself some time and hassle.
Here is how to make the roasted chestnut milk
Defrost a bag of cooked frozen chestnuts and roast them in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Take out the roasted chestnut from the oven and let them cool completely. In a sealable container, combine 4 cups of whole milk and 2 cups of chestnut. Seal and refrigerate overnight.
Take the jar out of the fridge and pour the milk (with the whole chestnuts) in a blender and blend well until you have a puree looking-like mush.
Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve.
Add 4 oz. of agave nectar to sweeten the milk and bring the chestnut flavor even further out its shell. When refrigerated, this milk will keep good for up to a week or so. Viola!
I’ve tried a few of combinations (mainly classic cocktail with milk) using with this infusion, and it’s delicious! I will have a craft cocktail post for you next week. Meanwhile here are a few quick ideas for you:
- Chestnut Rum Punch (1.5 oz Rum, 2 drops Vanilla Extract, 0.25oz Agave Syrup, 2 oz Chestnut milk, garnish with grated nutmeg)
- Chestnut White Russian (1.5oz. Vodka, 0.5 oz Kahlua, 2 oz. Chestnut Milk)
- Chestnut Cappucino (I actually might start drinking coffee now)
- Chestnut Chocolate Milk (for the kiddos)
- Chestnut Eggnog (we like ours with rum)
- Or just have it straight for breakfast with some Nutella crepes 😋
And just for fun, you can make the same infusion using heavy cream instead of milk and make yourself some yummy chestnut whipped cream. Probably the best topper for Christmasy Irish coffee by the fire.
But if you are the creative type, I would love to hear how you would use this infusion by dropping us a line in the comment section below ⬇
Roasted Chestnut Milk
- 4 cups Whole Milk
- 2 cups Chestnuts
- 4 oz Agave Syrup
Defrost a bag of frozen cooked chestnuts.
Combine 4 cups of whole milk and 2 cups of chestnuts into a sealable container and refrigerate overnight
Pour the mixture (with the whole chestnuts) into a blender and blend until you have a puree looking mush
Strain through a fine-mesh sieve to discard all the solids
Add 4 oz of agave syrup to sweeten the milk and bring the chestnut flavor even further out. When refrigerated, this milk will keep good for up to a week or so.