Archive for: hot chocolate
I don’t usually put Peeps into hot chocolate and prefer to simply eat them on their own, but I was inspired by some of the holiday Peeps that I tried recently since the holiday flavors seemed like they might be especially well-suited to drinking with a good cup of hot chocolate. I used the very cute Gingerbread Peeps as inspiration and made a Gingerbread Hot Chocolate to put them in.
Sometimes, I make hot chocolate with just cocoa powder, sugar and milk – a simple and easy to make blend. Since this gingerbread hot chocolate has some spice to it, I decided to add a little richness to the drink by adding real chocolate to give it a little more body and creaminess. I add both white chocolate and dark chocolate (you can use milk chocolate, instead, if you prefer), since I like the flavor of both but wanted a little extra sweetness from the white chocolate to counter the strong molasses flavor. The result is a nice fusion of gingerbread and hot chocolate, a lighltly spiced drink that is perfect for the holidays.
You don’t need a gingerbread marshmallow to enjoy this drink (even though they are adorable!), and you’ll find that regular marshmallows or even whipped cream make nice finishes, too.
The spiderweb pattern that I decorated my Pumpkin Tart with is an eye-catching design that is perfect for celebrating Halloween. I made a video tutorial that explains how to replicate the design, and in it I mentioned that you can use the technique with things besides pumpkin tart filling. For instance, you can use two colors of glaze or ganache to decorate cookies or cakes. You can also use chocolate syrup to top a homemade mocha or hot chocolate with a spiderweb to dress up the drink.
I think of this as a do-it-yourself kind of latte art, which you typically find only in coffee shops. It is done by carefully pouring steamed milk into shots of espresso to create an intricate pattern or design. It takes practice to do it well, and unless you have an espresso machine at home to practice on, it can be difficult to learn the technique yourself. This particular design is done using a swirl of chocolate sauce on top of steamed milk or softly whipped cream. Like the pumpkin tart design, once your chocolate swirl is in place, you simply drag a toothpick through the milk or cream, starting at the center of the cup and pulling towards the rim. The result is a spooky spiderweb that will take your drink to the next level.
A few tips for recreating this design:
- If you do have an espresso machine, steamed milk is a great way to go for this design. The steamed milk has tight bubbles that easily support the chocolate syrup.
- If you are using whipped cream, stop whipping it just before it gets to soft-peak stage, so that the whipped cream is soft enough to hold the spiderweb pattern.
- Only use a small amount of chocolate syrup, or it might sink to the bottom of your cup!
- You can use this technique on any kind of hot chocolate or mocha.
- Finally, watch the tutorial and see how easy the pattern is to make.
Drinking chocolate is a variation on hot chocolate that is usually richer, and less sweet than hot cocoa. The main ingredient, aside from milk, is chocolate, rather than cocoa powder or sugar. It’s a great cold weather treat because it’s basically a liquid dessert, a hot liquid dessert that warms you up with every sip!
I use a combination of dark chocolate and milk chocolate to get a good balance of intense chocolatiness and sweetness. I find that using only dark chocolate can make the drink too bitter and require the addition of a lot of extra sugar. Milk chocolate might be too sweet on its own, but it adds some sweetness and some additional creaminess to the drink. I do add some sugar to my drinking chocolate, as well as some cocoa powder. The finished drink is very creamy and chocolaty, but it’s not so rich that you can’t drink a whole mug full of it. A bit of whipped cream on top is a nice finishing touch.
You can make a single serving in a mug as long as you stir well to mix in all the chocolate, but it’s a bit easier to make this drink in a small saucepan – especially since you can double the quantities to serve some friends or family. As with most chocolate-centric treats, use good quality chocolate because you can really taste it.
You’re probably wondering what the heck that is in the photo. Unless you read the title for this post, in which case you may have guessed that it is a hot cocoa mix.
Is there anything better than a big, steaming mug of cocoa on a cold day? Well, I’m sure there are some things (world peace, etc.), but it is pretty high up on the list. It is chocolatey, sweet and not nearly as heavy as hot or drinking chocolate, which is typically made with melted chocolate instead of, or in addition to, cocoa powder.
The proportions I used here have enough sugar to make a really creamy ice blended coffee drink when you add it to a cup full of ice, half milk and half strong coffee. I know that some of us won’t be thinking about iced coffee drinks for a while, but if you’re south of here – oh, say in Australia or something – this is probably a usedful tip. The powdered milk makes any drinks extra creamy when they’re made with milk, but it also allows you to make the cocoa with water instead without loosing too much flavor. Vanilla powder is made from ground vanilla beans. It can be a bit difficult to get ahold of because your neighborhood market isn’t likely to carry it. It adds a hint of vanilla flavor and boosts the cocoa if you use it, but the mix tastes great without it, too.
This mix makes a great gift because it will keep for quite a long time. Just pack it into a tin with some marshmallows and cookies and you can check someone off you holiday shopping list.
What combination could be more classic than vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce? Ok, I’m sure there are some, but this is one of the better ones.
Having recently acquired some Valrhona cocoa powder, I knew that it would be put to good use when I saw Alice Medrich’s recipe for Cocoa Syrup in her book, Bittersweet. My immediate thoughts upon seeing recipe were of chocolate milk, hot chocolate and egg creams. I have so far done all of these things because I love this syrup. I also put it on marshmallows and bananas and into my coffee. I was about an inch from adding it to my oatmeal this morning. The syrup is not very thick, as are syrups made with cream or melted chocolate, but the chocolate flavor is intense. Rich and bittersweet – just the way I like it. And I like it so much I’m eating it by the spoonful.
And if you do want to use it as an ice cream topper, here’s a preview of what you’re in for: