I am so far behind. Usually by this time, I have put a good dent in my holiday shopping, my house is decorated, and my gingerbread house made and covered in candy. Not this year. We bought a tree this morning, and it is the first thing that we really have done to celebrate the holidays. Life has been so busy. In such a good way, I have been so fortunate to be doing some work that I am truly proud of, but it has been my main focus for the last week or so. Now I am ready to focus on the holidays and spending them with my family. I cannot wait.
I have to be fair, and tell you that I have never actually had a sip of this hot chocolate. I do not drink milk, so I steer clear. But I felt that I had to share this with you, because my children and the kids in the neighborhood have declared this the “best hot chocolate ever”. I made a big pot last week when it was really cold. All of the kids were outside playing, bundled in hats and mittens, and with rosy, rosy, cheeks. They were not about to come in to get warm, so I decided to bring some warm to them. I brought out cups of steaming hot chocolate, they came running, and it was gone in moments. If I were a hot chocolate drinking kind of girl, this is what I would want. It is almost a drinkable pudding. It is rich and thick. Deep, dark, chocolate, sea salt and vanilla just bring out all of the delicious flavors. I made some whipped cream (by hand no less) and added some marshmallows. I might also make an adult version with a splash of rum, peppermint schnapps, Grand Marnier, Amaretto, Baileys. A perfect way drink for a cold, wintery day.
This recipe came from Southern Living Magazine, January 2009.
4 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 (3.5-ounce) dark chocolate bars (70% cocoa)
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
heavy pinch of sea salt
Heat 3 1/2 cups of milk over medium heat until the milk begins to bubble around the edges.
Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch until dissolved. Set aside.
Chop or grate the chocolate. The finer the pieces, the faster it will melt in the hot milk.
When the milk begins to bubble around the edges, add the chocolate, honey, vanilla, and sea salt.
Whisk in the milk and cornstarch mixture.
Let the hot chocolate come to a bubble, stirring occasionally. It should take about 5 minutes. The mixture will thicken, let cool slightly, and ladle into mugs.
If you want to make it extra special, whip some heavy cream. I even whipped this cream by hand. I have not done that in ages. I added a teaspoon or two of sugar, and a handful of marshmallows.
Add a cute little chocolate cookie, and you have a very special treat on a cold, winter day.