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Sweets For Your Sweetie!

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, February 11, 2017

(Photo: kevinandamanda.com)



Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and now is the time to start planning out the day! Most people will buy store-bought candy or pastries for their loved one. Why not kick it up a notch and earn some extra points by making something from scratch! Here is a list of some of our favorite sweets for your Sweetie!



Red Velvet Oreo Truffle Brownies


Ingredients:

1 box (18.25 oz) red velvet cake mix

1 cup butter, divided

2 eggs

1 package (about 36) whole Oreos

1 bag (11.5 oz) milk chocolate chips (about 1.5 cups)

1 bag (12 oz) mini chocolate chips (about 1.5 cups)

1 cup (1/2 pint) heavy whipping cream


Directions:

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 baking dish with foil and coat with cooking spray. Beat together cake mix, 1/2 cup melted butter, and 2 eggs until fully combined and smooth. Press into the bottom of prepared pan and bake for 15-18 mins, until just set.
  2. 2. Crush whole Oreos in a sealed bag. Stir together with remaining 1/2 cup melted butter and mix well. Pour over baked red velvet brownies and gently press down in an even layer.
  3. 3. Place the milk chocolate chips in a medium-sized bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a low boil, then pour over chips. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk together until completely smooth and thick. Pour over Oreo layer. Top with mini chocolate chips. Refrigerate for 30-45 mins to allow chocolate ganache to set up. Cut into bars and serve.

Chocolate Lava Cake


Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

3/4 cup butter

3 eggs

3 egg yolks

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Powdered sugar


Directions:

  1. 1. Using the 2 tablespoons butter, grease six 8- to 10-ounce ramekins, souffle dishes or custard cups. Place ramekins in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan; set aside.
  2. 2. In a heavy small saucepan, combine chocolate and the 3/4 cup butter. Cook and stir over low heat until chocolate melts. Remove pan from heat; set aside.
  3. 3. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, egg yolks, granulated sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed for 8 to 10 minutes or until thick and lemon colored. Fold one-third of the chocolate mixture into egg mixture. Fold remaining chocolate mixture and flour into egg mixture. Spoon about 2/3 cup batter into each prepared ramekin, dividing evenly.
  4. 4. Bake in a 425 degree F oven about 12 minutes or until cake edges feel firm. Cool in ramekins on a wire rack for 2 to 3 minutes. Using a knife, loosen cake from sides of ramekins. Invert onto dessert plates. Sift with powdered sugar. Garnish with fresh raspberries and mint leaves if desired. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.


Peanut Butter Truffles


Ingredients:

3/4 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces

8 ounces chocolate-flavored candy coating


Directions:

  1. 1. In a heavy small saucepan, bring whipping cream just to boiling. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter, stirring until combined. Add chocolate pieces, stirring until melted and smooth. Transfer mixture to a 2-quart baking dish. Cover and chill about 1 hour or until firm.
  2. 2. Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Use a spoon or a small cookie scoop to shape truffle mixture into 1-inch balls. Place on prepared baking sheet. Cover and freeze 30 minutes or until firm.
  3. 3. In a heavy small saucepan, melt candy coating over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Using a fork, quickly dip truffles, one at a time, into coating. Draw the fork across the rim of the saucepan to remove excess coating. Return truffles to baking sheet. Let stand 30 minutes or until coating is set.
  4. 4. Store truffles tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes before serving.

Easy Mini Cherry Pies


Ingredients:

1 box Pillsbury™ Refrigerated Pie Crust, softened as directed on box

1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling

1 egg

1 tablespoon water


Directions:

  1. 1. Heat oven to 400°F. Unroll pie crusts; use rolling pin to slightly roll dough out.
  2. 2. Use 3-inch diameter round cutter to cut 12 circles from dough. Use small heart-shaped cutter to cut 12 hearts from remaining dough, rerolling scraps as needed.
  3. 3. Press circles into 12 ungreased regular-size muffin cups; fill with pie filling. Top each with heart-shaped cutout.
  4. 4. In small bowl, beat egg and water. Brush over crust on each.
  5. 5. Bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.


Cookie Dough Trifle


Ingredients:

Cookie Dough

1 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 c. brown sugar

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

3 1/4 c. crushed graham crackers

1/3 c. milk

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/3 c. mini chocolate chips


Whipped Cream Layer

2 pkg. Cool Whip, thawed

1 c. mini chocolate chips

8 chocolate chip cookies


Chocolate Pudding Layer

2 (3.4 oz.) boxes instant chocolate pudding mix

4 c. cold milk


Directions:

  1. 1. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Mix in graham crackers, salt, and milk. Fold in chocolate chips. Crumble and pour 1/3 of the mixture into the bottom of a trifle dish.
  2. 2. Make the whipped cream layer: Mix chocolate chips and Cool Whip. Pour 1/3 of the mixture on top of the cookie dough in the trifle dish. Top whipped cream layer with a layer of chocolate chip cookies.
  3. 3. Make chocolate pudding layer: Combine pudding mixes and milk, whisking until granules have dissolved. Let pudding has set, 5 minutes, then pour 1/3 of the mixture on top of the cookies, smoothing to create an even layer.
  4. 4. Repeat layers until you've reached the top of the dish.
  5. 5. Cover the entire trifle with remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, to soften the cookie layers. Top with chocolate chips and crumbled cookie pieces before serving.

Our Favorite Romantic Getaways

Kelly McCombs - Friday, January 20, 2017

                                                            (Photo from www.thesagamore.com)


With Valentine’s Day just a few weeks away, now is the time to plan that romantic getaway! Whether you want to stay close to home or travel a few hours out of town, we have put together a list of some of our favorites!



First up is The Inn at Five Points in Saratoga Springs, NY. Owned by James and Eilis Petrosino, the Inn is a beautifully restored Victorian Bed and Breakfast nestled right in the heart of Saratoga. Centrally located and within walking distance to all that Saratoga has to offer, this would be a very special place to visit with your loved one for a romantic overnight, yet one that is still close to home. The Petrosino's serve a delicious breakfast every morning, in true Bed and Breakfast fashion, with everything being locally grown and sourced. If you would like a true taste of all that Saratoga has to offer, this is the place to do it!



For something a bit farther out of town, head south to The Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY. Architecturally impressive, this castle-like resort is situated right on the banks of Lake Mohonk. Surrounded by beautiful views of the mountains and forest, The Mohonk Mountain house offers a few different packages for your romantic getaway. Whether you want a relaxing spa package for two or a luxurious “Special Occasion” package, they have something to fit everyone’s needs. There are a plethora of activities here even in the winter, from ice skating to snow tubing, so you will never be bored!



Heading back up north, The Sagamore in Bolton Landing on Lake George is one of those hotels that many people know and rave about. Another stunning resort, The Sagamore has been inviting guests to stay with them since 1883. They are offering a lovely Valentine’s Weekend Getaway package which includes breakfast and dinner for two, along with complimentary champagne and chocolates. They also have a beautiful spa which should be high on the list of priorities if you choose to stay with them. There isn’t anything more romantic than relaxing time spent together!



One of my favorite places to go on Valentine’s Day is a little farther than the others, but very much worth it. Niagara Falls during the winter months is one of the most beautiful places. Even if you have been there before in the warmer months, seeing it in winter adds a whole new dimension. The mist from the falls coats everything in a layer of ice, making for some really beautiful ice sculptures. Make sure you dress warmly! Even though this may not be one of the coziest romantic getaways, you will surely make some wonderful memories with your loved one!



We hope you are able to take a little time away from your everyday life to be able to enjoy one of this beautiful places with your loved one. Even if it isn't for Valentine's Day, they all are wonderful places to visit any day of the year!


Caring for Fresh Flowers

Saratoga Water - Monday, February 15, 2016


You have just received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from that special someone, but there’s only one problem…in all your years, you’ve never been successful in keeping the flowers alive for more than a few days. Give your flowers the best care possible, keeping them fresh and extending their shelf life, with these fresh flower care instructions.

1. Before the vase. Remove any greenery from the bottom of the stems and cut 1”-2” off of the stems in a bowl of water to prevent extra air from going into the stems. Design Mom says it’s a good idea to trim the stems a bit every day to help the flowers receive the most water and nutrients possible.

2. Two truths and one myth: “All flowers need is water, love and sunshine.” The myth is that all flowers need sunshine. However, when placed in a vase, flowers should avoid direct sunlight. Wind (including ceiling fans), direct sunlight, and ripening fruits that emit ethylene gas, can dehydrate the flowers and cause the buds to close up and petals to have poor color. It’s best to keep the flowers in a cool spot, as they bloom best in temperatures between 65 and 72 degrees.

3. Water. It is very important that you actually change the water every other day. In addition to changing the water, it’s beneficial to clean the vase. This habit will help reduce germs and any debris from the stems that creates that slimy water and ultimately dead flowers. The fresh water should be lukewarm, unless yours are bulb flowers, which need cold water.

4. Flowers need brain food, too. As soon as the flower is separated from the plant, it loses the nutrients it needs to survive. Ask the florist for extra flower food to add in the water each time you change it out. To learn how to make your own homemade flower preservative recipe, click here.

Each flower type is unique and needs its own specialized love and care. Click here to learn about specific care instructions.

Sweet Chocolate Treats for Valentine's Day

Saratoga Water - Friday, February 05, 2016
Valentine’s Day just got a whole lot sweeter with these chocolate recipes—whether you are a dark, milk or white chocolate lover, there is something for everyone to try!



Trust us, these beautiful Dark Chocolate Mini Cakes with Lavender Glaze are much simpler to make than you would think. Makes 12-14

Ingredients:
For the Cake
• 3.5 ounces dark chocolate
• 1 cup water
• 1 stick of butter, softened
• 1 ¼ cups brown sugar
• 3 eggs
• 1 ½ cups self-rising flour
½ cup plain flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
For the Lavender Glaze
• 1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender (find it at your local natural foods store)
• 1/3 cup milk
• 1 cup icing/powdered sugar
• 1-2 drops violet food color (optional)

Ready to give these delicious cakes a try? Click here for full baking and glazing directions.

Try making the Chocolate Covered Cherry Fudge for a Valentine’s Day treat—it’s the most delicious blend of sweet, crunchy and gooey. 

Ingredients:
• 3 cups melting chocolate
• 14.5 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
• 10 ounces maraschino cherries
½ cup chopped almonds

Learn how to make this tasty, no-bake fudge here

There is so much goodness in one bite with these White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecakes. You can’t go wrong with rich white chocolate, real raspberry and homemade whipped cream! Serves 48 bites.

Ingredients:
For the Crust:
• 1½ cups Oreo cookie crumbs, cream centers removed (about 22-23 finely crushed cookies)
• 6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
For the Custard:
• Half bag (6 ounces) pure white chocolate chips
• ¼ cup half and half
• 1½ (12 ounces) blocks whole cream cheese, softened to almost melted
• ¼ cup sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Raspberry Sauce:
• 5 ounces frozen or fresh raspberries
• 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
• 1½ teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoons water

Oreo and chocolate lovers will go crazy for this dessert. Click here for full baking directions.

If baking isn’t your thing, try drinking your chocolate instead! This Chocolate Martini recipe from Pint Sized Baker is easy and pairs seamlessly alongside strawberries or raspberries.

Ingredients:
• 1½ ounces Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
• 1½ ounces Creme de Cacao
• ½ ounce Vodka
• 2½ ounce half-and-half
• Chocolate chips, crushed and melted

Directions:
1. Place your martini glass into the fridge to chill.
2. Crush a ¼ cup of chocolate chips and place them on to a large paper plate. Melt ¼
 cup of chocolate chips and put them into a baggie.
3. Swirl the inside of the martini glass with the melted chocolate. Add some melted chocolate around the rim of the glass and dip it in the crushed chocolate.
4. Place a few ice cubes into a shaker. Add all ingredients, shake and pour into the prepared glasses.

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Saratoga Spring Water Co.  11 Geyser Road Saratoga Springs NY 12866