‘Tis the Season for Hot Cocoa…

Hello there cupboard followers!

What a busy time of year it is.  Every time I turn around, there’s another holiday party to attend, another batch of something sugary to be made, and my unwrapped presents dauntingly staring at me each time I walk past the hidden spot where I keep them (you can never trust my family’s prying eyes!).  So for this blog post I decided to do something a little different.  Make something for myself, rather than something that needed to be made for this season’s festivities.  And this week, I chose the ever warming, always satisfying, perfect for winter hot chocolate.

You see, while perusing the nooks and crannies of my beloved William Sonoma, I stumbled across the most darling marshmallows.  And it was there, with the happy little snowmen faces staring up at me, that I decided hot cocoa would have to make it’s way onto the blog, just so these little fella’s could make an appearance.  Or maybe I was just looking for a reason to justify purchasing two packs of festive mallows???   Although, I think my love for hot cocoa is justification enough.

And because I love this chocolate beverage so much, I thought that I would not only share my go to recipe, but also take this as an opportunity to share with you a few other ways that hot chocolate is enjoyed around the world.  In Mexico they add a bit of spice.  In Italy they drink hot chocolate so thick and so rich, you’ll actually need a smaller cup.  In Columbia they enjoy their hot chocolate with cheese.  And not just on the side, but with a small piece at the bottom of your glass.  That’s right….Cheese. In. The. Drink.

So if you are anything like me, you probably went straight to the gross factor.  BUT, after trying it, I have to say that it actually is quite tasty.  You see it’s customary for Colombians to bring out hot chocolate with their cheese and bread spread.  Sort of like what we do with wine.  Columbian hot chocolate isn’t as sweet as the American or Belgium versions that we are used to, it’s a little bit more savory….an actual perfect match for cheese.  I found that the kind of cheese most often put at the bottom of the cup is a queso fresco, or something similar.  And that mild, but salty flavor, paired with the sweet and nutty notes of the cocoa is truly blissful.  Dunk a piece of warm and toasty French bread in your cup, put a little bit of that melty cheese on top and you will have the sensational taste of Bogotá in the convenience of your very own living room.

Happy Tastings,

Lauren

hot-cocoa-willam-sonoma-marshmallows

hot-cocoa-abuelita

 

Lauren’s Hot Chocolate

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups organic whole milk (or Vitamin D)
  • 1/2 cup organic heavy whipping cream
  • 4 oz Ghirardelli milk  chocolate  morsels
  • 4 oz Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 tsp vanilla extractDirections

Directions

  1. Mix milk, heavy cream, and vanilla in a saucepan and warm over the stop top on medium heat
  2. Once milk is heated through, add all chocolate morsels and continue to whisk until fully melted.
  3. Add marshmallows, or some home made whipped cream to the top and enjoy.

hot-cocoa-snowmen-in-cup

Columbian Hot Cocoa

Ingredients

  • 2 cups organic whole milk (or Vitamin D)
  • Half of Nestle Abuelita hot chocolate brick
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 oz cube queso fresco

Directions

  1. Place milk, Nestle Abuelita cocoa brick in a saucepan and warm over the stop top on medium heat, whisking continually.
  2. Add brown sugar and cocoa powder once milk has warmed through, and chocolate has melted.  Continue to which until sugar and cocoa have dissolved.
  3. Place small cube of cheese at the bottom of a cup and pour the hot cocoa mixture straight from the saucepan on top.
  4. Allow to sit for 5 minutes and enjoy with a piece of warm, crunchy baguette.

hot-cocoa-columbian

Italian Hot Cocoa

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups organic whole milk (or Vitamin D)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar (or more to taste)
  • 1½tbsp organic cornstarch

Directions

  1. Warm milk in saucepan on stove top, until warm all the way through.
  2. Remove milk from heat and place in separate bowl.
  3. In the saucepan, sift cocoa powder, sugar, cornstarch and add 1/4 cup of the warm milk.  Whisk until smooth.
  4. On medium heat, add the remaining milk to the cocoa mixture and whisk continuously, for about 4-5 minutes or until the mixture starts to boil and it reaches the desired thickness.
  5. Pour into small cups and top with homemade whipped cream, dust top witch cocoa powder and enjoy.

hot-cocoa-italian

Mexican Hot Cocoa

Ingredients

  • 1 tablet Abuelita Chocolate
  • 4 cups organic whole milk (or Vitamin D)
  • Sugar to tase
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste…a little goes a LONG way!)

Directions (Instructions from back of Nestle Abuelita package)

  1. Heat 4 cups milk and 1 tablet ABUELITA™ Chocolate in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Mix constantly with wire whisk until mixture is frothy and starts to boil.
  2. Remove from heat, add sugar, and cayenne pepper to taste.
  3. Serve immediately.

hot-cocoa-mexican

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