Spiced Hot Chocolate

Spiced Hot Chocolate

It doesn’t snow in Seattle all that often.  Maybe once a year, if we are lucky, we get a decent storm, and that means only a couple of inches.  And when that happens, the city usually shuts down.  You can basically guarantee that schools will be cancelled if there is any snow on the ground.  Of course on the east coast where I grew up, things were a little different  – and I actually had to learn how to drive in the snow.  Here they don’t plow the roads, and the hills are so steep that it can get pretty treacherous quickly.  So, it is really best just to stay home.

This morning we woke up to a winter wonderland.  Even though there was only a few inches on the ground, it was enough to cancel Sunday School, and for all the neighborhood kids to get outside and have some fun. Of course now most of the snow is already gone, but we still have remnants of a snow man in our back yard.  While the kids were outside, I was inside making pancakes for breakfast, and some special hot chocolate.  I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit, and I decided to make it kid-friendly, so omitted the alcohol and the chiles.  I knew it would be delicious, but I really had no idea I would get the reaction I did.

The kids were just about to go down the street to play more when I called out and told them that the hot chocolate was ready.  I quickly took them out of these colorful mugs, and put them into some paper cups that they could take with them.  They all grabbed a cup, said thanks and took off.  An hour later when they appeared back at the house – the first thing they said was how amazing the hot chocolate was.  I guess all the neighborhood kids were trying to guess what I had done – they decided it was not ordinary cocoa.  Score for mom!  I think I just need it to snow more often, and I will be elevated to super-mom status in no time…I knew my cooking would help me out eventually.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1  cup heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup  sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao), chopped

Preparation

Combine milk, cream, sugar, and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan; scrape in seeds from vanilla bean and add pod. Bring to a simmer; remove from heat, cover, and let steep 15 minutes.

Remove cinnamon stick and vanilla pod; discard. Add chocolate and heat over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove hot chocolate from heat and add serve hot.

DO AHEAD: Hot chocolate can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Reheat and serve.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Spiced Hot Chocolate

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