Monday, December 27, 2010

Hot Chocolate

Without a doubt the best memory of my grandma is coming in late at night around the holidays after a long trip from somewhere. We always seemed to be coming from far away. Didn't matter how late, though. She'd put a pot of milk on the (cast iron coal burning) stove, pull down the sugar canister and the Hershey's cocoa and make the very best hot chocolate that I've ever had. I don't remember the exact details but I make a pretty good cup myself.

Of course, I have to use fancy chocolate and all that, because I don't have that grandma magic...

My recipe:
  • Coal burning cast iron stove (optional, but you'll need your own magic)
  • One cup whole milk. (c'mon, don't fool around here...)
  • 2 tblsp sugar
  • 4 tblsp Ghiardelli cocoa
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Put the milk on the stove on medium heat, then add the sugar and the cocoa. Whisk vigorously to dissolve the cocoa and keep it from sticking to the sides. You can take a short break from this to fill your mug with hot tap water. Once the hot cocoa has reached the desired temperature, cut the heat, dump the tap water and then add the vanilla to the mug. Pour the hot cocoa into the mug, give it a quick whisk and enjoy.

If I have some in the fridge, I'll often pour a "shot" of half and half or heavy cream in with the milk. Another common variation is the addition of a 1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper.

Give it a whirl and then you can play with substitutions, like all half and half instead of the milk, more or less cocoa, etc.

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