Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Tips - Hot Chocolate

Disney Donna Kay will be devoted to tips for making this your best Christmas ever for the rest of the holiday season.  I will resume life as a regular Disney Blogger (including Mentoring Mondays) beginning January 1, 2012.

Remember these Mickey & Minnie mugs I picked up at Walmart a couple of weeks ago?  Well today we're talking about hot chocolate/cocoa or cafe au Chocolat to the French, to enjoy in them.


 First hot chocolate vs hot cocoa.  Most of us have grown up drinking hot cocoa, which is the powder which is mixed with liquid.  Hot chocolate uses ground chocolate pieces which still includes the cocoa butter. Obviously, hot chocolate is much richer and higher in fat, and more expensive. 




Let's take a look at hot cocoa, my mugs came with Nestle instant cocoa, which I remember drinking as a little girl.  As much as I loved it back then, it can definitely be improved upon. 

My first recommendation is use MILK!! It doesn't matter which cocoa mix you use, it will taste SO much better with milk, and not skim milk, fat is important here. The higher the fat content, the more rich and creamy the hot cocoa (if you are worried about calories, use a smaller mug).  My personal preference is whole milk, although I do occasionally use skim milk with a large splash of cream (the real stuff).  To really up the WOW factor check out my add ins later in this post!


Here are a few of my favorites:
Cold Stone Creamery (they have a light version)
Land-O-Lakes
Hershey's Goodnights (these are caffeine free)
Ghiardelli Double Chocolate


Hot chocolate is rich and decadent, very different from the cocoa you have been drinking all of your life. In some parts of the world it can be very thick, almost the consistency of a melted chocolate bar, which for me personally isn't very appetizing. There is a happy medium though, here is a good recipe to try:


HOT CHOCOLATE
 Serves 4

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 4 oz. milk chocolate
  • 4 oz. dark chocolate (60% cacao or greater)
  • 3 tsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  1. Finely chop chocolate, remember you want the pieces small enough to easily melt.
  2. In a heavy bottom pan, simmer the milk over low heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove milk from stove.
  4. Immediately add vanilla, powdered sugar, salt and chocolate to milk and wish until all chocolate has melted.
  5. Return to low heat for 4 minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Garnish and Enjoy!!

Add ins are a great way to personalize your hot chocolate/cocoa.  Here is a list of favorites:

For Everyone:
Marshmallows (don't forget the flavored ones)
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
Cayenne Pepper
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Peppermint
Butterscotch
Caramel

For Adults Only:
Bailey's Irish Creme
Amaretto
Kahlua
Orange Liquor
Peppermint Schnapps
Grand Marnier

If you are hosting a Christmas party, how about having a Hot Cocoa Bar.


Include:

Stirrers:
Chocolate Dipped Spoons
Peppermint Sticks
Cinnamon Sticks
Pirouette Cookies
Biscotti


Add Ins:
Mini Marshmallows
Crushed Peppermint Candies
Chopped Ande's Mints
Caramel Chips
Butterscotch Chips
Chocolate Chips
Chopped Heath Bars
Whipped Topping

Have fun with your hot cocoa/hot chocolate and forget about fat and calories as you enjoy a mug.  Be sure to let us know what your favorite add ins are, or share your favorite recipe with everyone.

Merry Christmas!!
Donna Kay

2 comments:

  1. Now I'm craving hot chocolate. Thanks for the info! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's in the 40's here today, a really good day for it!!

    ReplyDelete

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