Saturday, January 19, 2008

Lovely Hot Chocolate

Goodness, if you were just to look at my blog recently, you'd be convinced I was really in a mood, wouldn't you?

Well, for the most part, I haven't been. I've been enjoying a bit of cold weather and feeling homey. Classes haven't started yet, at either seminary, so I've been puttering around, enjoying a fire in the fireplace and candles on the mantel. Oh, I do love candles!

And I enjoy a good cup of chocolate. This is one of my favorite recipes. It's not as killingly-rich as the hot chocolates made with bar chocolate. You can drink a big mugful of this, put your tootsies up by the fireplace (or on the oven door, as I did when I lived in an apartment) and cuddle in with a good book. I recommend Here If You Need Me by our own Kate Braestrup.

If you're making this today, just use whatever cocoa powder you have on hand. But then, really, find your local Penzey's store, or order online. Penzey's spices are really, really amazing and their dutch-process cocoa is miraculous. I have been known to make up a single cup of cocoa for myself, just mixing hot milk, dutched cocoa, some agave nectar and vanilla -- right in the cup. No need to cook the cocoa to get it to blend, like what is needed with regular cocoa powder.

But when it's a cold Saturday and you have a houseful of people you love going in and out, make this:

Brown Sugar Hot Chocolate

3 tablespoons Penzey's dutch process cocoa powder
1/3 cup water
1 quart milk
¾ cup packed brown sugar
¼ tsp salt
splash vanilla

Stir cocoa, sugar, salt and water in a medium saucepan over low heat until. Gradually whisk in milk, then vanilla until evenly blended. (If you have an immersion blender, use it to froth this up.)

Even better: substitute cream or half and half for part of the milk, e.g. 1/2 cup cream, 3 1/2 cups milk.


Earthbound Spirit said...

Ooooh, another Penzey's fan! They are local to me, you know (original store local). I love going there and smelling all the herbs and spices! Your hot chocolate recipe sounds heavenly.

Jess said...

When we lived in Milwaukee, we went to the Spice House, owned by the same folks. When we moved to Chicago, we switched to Penzey's since there were a couple of locations near us. Now in New Mexico, we resort to mail order. ;-)

Thanks for the recipe -- we just had a pot of this and it is marvelous. I may cut the sugar and up the chocolate just a bit the next time, though. YUM.