What is better than eating chocolate? Yep, drinking chocolate, and more specifically, hot chocolate.
Hot chocolate was our drink for coming in from the winter day with cold hands and noses. Wrapping our hands around the warm cup and letting the steam warm the tip of a red nose and all the while inhaling the sweet smell of chocolate. Hmm.
Right after college, I worked at coffee shop in Metairie, LA-Coffee Cottage. I learned that what makes a great hot chocolate are the ingredients. Melted hot chocolate (white or dark) then steamed milk poured over and stirred. We then topped with homemade whipped topping and shaved chocolate on the top. If someone requested cinnamon on top, then we sprinkled. It looked good and tasted so good.
Now, marshmallows are a choice. I don’t like them and didn’t even as a child. Of course, I never had a homemade marshmallows. All that we had were the ones trapped in the Swiss Miss package or we found a bag of old marshmallows in the cabinet that were just a couple of days away from solidifying.
I found a post on Homemade Marshmallows; Take a look from Mugsy’s Meals: http://mugsysmeals.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/homemade-marshmallows/
Now if you aren’t into melting your own chocolate then there are plenty of recipes to create your mixes: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/hot-cocoa-recipe.html
This one is from Alton Brown and I love it because it has Cayenne which reminds of the movie Chocolat and the Mayan Hot Chocolate she served: http://www.popsugar.com/food/TV-Dinners-Chocolat—Mayan-Hot-Chocolate-137845
Ingredients for Mayan Hot Chocolat
1 chile pepper, cut in half, seeds removed
5 cups light cream, or whole milk or nonfat milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 to 2 cinnamon sticks
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 tbsp granulated sugar or honey or to taste
1 tbsp almonds or hazelnuts, ground extra fine
- Add chile pepper to 2 cups boiling water. Cook until liquid is reduced to 1 cup. Remove chile pepper; strain for stray seeds, and set aside.
- In a medium-size saucepan, combine cream or milk, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. Heat over medium flame until bubbles appear around the edge. Reduce heat to low; add chocolate and sugar or honey; whisk occasionally until chocolate is melted and sugar dissolves.
- Turn off heat; remove vanilla bean and cinnamon stick, stir in ground almonds or hazelnuts. Add chile pepper infusion, a little at a time, making sure the flavor isn’t too strong. If chocolate is too thick, thin with a little more milk.
I guess it is the simplicity of the pleasure hot chocolate can provide, and even with a few extra ingredients added, it can be exotic, plain, indulgent, adult or simple, but all the same, comforting.