Imagine….snow falling outside…the family gathered around the fireplace…everyone with a mug of hot chocolate in hand…this is the ideal winter picture. This is the image everyone brings to mind when they think of winter and the Christmas holidays. The key to this image though is the hot chocolate. I mean that’s that comfort drink that brings out the kid everyone. Chocolatey, sweet and so warm to your insides. Funny thing is I stopped liking hot chocolate back when I was still living in New York. It still brings back fond childhood memories though, of when I used to drink it, whenever I prepare it for family and friends.
This past weekend I had a small group of young people over to taste test some hot chocolate recipes I had been working on. We started of with a hot chocolate mix similar to the ones you buy in the stores but better. It was a hit. The secrets to my hot chocolate always getting great reviews are that : 1. I never use water only milk 2. I always add cinnamon when heating up the milk 3. I add vanilla after removing the mixture from the heat. It was really easy to make the mix and it stores for up to 3 months in an airtight container. I added fresh whipped cream to everyone’s hot chocolate once I poured them into cups.
- 3 cups nonfat dry milk powder
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1½ cups cocoa powder, dutch-process or natural
- 6 oz of semi-sweet baking chocolate
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch
- Break/chop baking bar into pieces and place in freezer for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes add to blender or food processor and grind to a powder. Add powder to a mixing bowl.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to mixing bowl.Whisk together all the ingredients. Working in two (or more) batches, depending on the size of your food processor, pulse the ingredients in a food processor until the chocolate is finely ground.
- To make hot cocoa, 2-3 Tablespoons (add more or less depending on you level of chocolate desires) of the cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup of hot milk. Top with whipped cream or miniature marshmallows, if desired.
Recipe source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe and Food 52
So longing to create new hot chocolate memories of my own I found a hot chocolate I thought I would love. It seemed like I would be drinking a chocolate bar with whipped cream on top. How could I go wrong? The recipe called for dark baking chocolate but I was having a hard time finding it any of the markets I went to so I substituted semi-sweet chocolate instead. Everyone’s thought was that it was too rich including myself. If I were to remake this hot chocolate I would use less chocolate, use a mix of semi-sweet and milk chocolate, use more milk a little less sea salt in the whipped cream. I do think I have found a way back to liking hot chocolate again.
Sea Salt Chocolate Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
Melted Hot Cocoa
8 Squares (4 ounces) Dark 100% Cocoa Baker’s Chocolate
2 Squares (1 ounce) Semi-Sweet Baker’s Chocolate
2-4 teaspoons honey, depending on how sweet or bitter you like your chocolate
3/4 Cup Whole Milk, at room temperature
Begin by preparing the sea salt whipped cream. Beat the cream and sugar in an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment at medium-high speed until the cream holds a very soft peak. Gently whisk in the sea salt and cocoa powder until incorporated. Cover and set aside.
To make the hot cocoa, melt down the chocolate pieces in the top of a double boiler, stirring constantly. Add the honey and milk and continue stirring until it’s one fluid mixture and becomes very warm. Evenly distribute the cocoa between two serving glasses and top with the whipped cream and a pinch of sea salt for garnish. Serve immediately.
Recipe source Adventures in Cooking.
How can you make hot chocolate without marshmallows? Exactly so I whipped a batch for this evening of hot chocolate. We dipped some in chocolate candy melts and added sprinkles and crushed peppermints. Here’s the link to the recipe.
With the leftover hot chocolate mix, marshmallows, some candy dipped spoons and a couple of mugs we made a few gifts for my daughter’s teachers. You are now fully equipped to make some wonderful images that will include hot chocolate and even marshmallows. Go forward and make memories.