Friday, December 16, 2011


The very first cups of hot chocolate was drank by the Mayans over 2000 years ago. They ground cocoa seeds into a paste and mixed it with water, cornmeal, chile peppers and other ingredients. The drink was also said to have magical healing powers and was heavily popular amongst the Oltecs, Mayans and Aztecs*.

For this recipe, I used the a fine quality cocoa powder called Valrhona –this cocoa powder is among the richest, darkest “dutched” cocoa you can find. It is considered by many chefs and gourmands around the world to produce the finest chocolate that contains no added fat or butter oil, resulting in less calories than most chocolate.

The best part about this hot chocolate recipe is that it’s healthy for you (minus the whipped cream). With no added sugar or minimal fats, this deep-bodied rich chocolate drink will excite your senses and leave you feeling happily satisfied. With cocoa being richer in antioxidants than even red wine and green tea, you’ll feel anything but guilty for enjoying a hot mug of this hot chocolate.

For thousands of years cocoa has been used to treat fatigue, fever, diarrhea, chest ailments and several stomach disorders. Cocoa beans is especially rich in antioxidants called Flavonoids — which are beneficial to arterial health by reducing blood platelet buildup and shielding blood vessels from free radical damage*. It is said by heating the chocolate, more antioxidants are released and makes absoprtion easier for the body. According to the American Assoication for Advancement of Science, drinking hot chocolate helps you think better too by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the brain.

Ingredients for Spicy Hot Chocolate: Serves 4; prep time: 5 minutes total cooking time: 10 minutes
  • 4 cups organic skim milk
  • 1/4 cup Valrhona cocoa
  • 4 77% Dark cocoa discs
  • 1 teasponn cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • cocoa nibs and whipped cream for garnish
Heat the milk in a medium suacepan at medium high heat. Heat until milk is scalded or almost boiling, about 2 minutes. Mix in the cocoa powder, spices and chocolate discs and let it sit for 1 minute. Using a whisk or hand blender, whisk the mixture until frothy. Serve hot and top with whipped cream and sprinkle generously with cocoa nibs.
Garnish with hot chiles if desired.

I love this recipe, I could drink endless cups of this hot chocolate — the richness of the cocoa, the tiny bite that settles on your tongue at the end, and the cocoa nibs…YOU GOTTA ADD THE COCOA NIBS! (I found all of my ingredients at Central Market). So there you have it, I’ve found the magical drinks of the gods and it’s healthy, packed full of antioxidants and ridiculously fantastically DELICIOUS. Yep. You’re welcome :)

   The next one comes from www.atasteofkoko.com.

Hot chocolate

"There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with Chocolate" Linda Grayson

This is my take on 'Hot Chocolate'. Instead of the typical cup of steaming hot chocolate, these cups are made 100% out of chocolate. Perfect for a party to entertain your guests. They'll get a kick out of the velvety smooth mousse and edible cup that holds it.

The 'hot' aspect comes from the addition of cayenne pepper, which pairs nicely with chocolate. Don't be afraid of the heat!

You get a cold creaminess from whipped cream, sweetness and crunch from chocolate cup, and heat from the cayenne pepper.

Prepare to have your taste buds dancing to a sweet and spicy tune!

I seem to be doing more social media now a days but I still enjoy baking up a storm in the kitchen. Lots of things happening this month! Check out Ghirardelli, I'm featured on there every month. I will be baking for the Austin Blogger Bake sale to raise money for Japan and the online bake sale for Japan. Check back for posts on those. And I will be going to the Texas Wine & Food Festival. Nevertheless, hopefully it's not too late for hot chocolate! I know some of my friends who are in the northern States are still experiencing cold weather. Thankfully it's been warm and sunny in Austin Texas.

Hot chocolate.

Chocolate cups.

To make these chocolate cups, melt about 4 ounces to make 3 cups. Allow the chocolate to cool to slightly lukewarm but before the chocolate hardens up again. This is very important unless you want to see a balloon covered with chocolate exploding on you (don't ask me how I know).

I suggest using a high quality melting chocolate. I recommend using Ghirardelli baking bars. You can either use the double boiler, direct heat, or microwave method. Remember to break the chocolate bar into small pieces to ensure even melting.

Place the chocolate covered balloons on a pan covered with parchment paper.
You can either let the balloon sit for 30 minutes or stick them into the fridge to harden up faster.
Be careful when you pull the balloons off the parchment paper. And don't hold them to tight or else the sides will crush in and that's not fixable. If there are slight cracks along the sides or on the bottom, fix them with a piping bag filled with melted chocolate

Chocolate Mousse.
Adapted from Alton Brown

3/4 cup whipping cream
6 ounces quality semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 ounces espresso or strong coffee
1/2 tbsp dark rum
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp flavorless, granulated gelatin
pinch of cayenne powder
  • Chill 1/2 cup whipping cream in refrigerator. Chill metal mixing bowl and mixer beaters in freezer.
  • In top of a double boiler, combine chocolate chips, coffee, rum and butter. Melt over barely simmering water, stirring constantly. Remove from heat while a couple of chunks are still visible. Cool, stirring occasionally to just above body temperature.
  • Pour remaining 1/4 cup whipping cream into a metal measuring cup and sprinkle in the gelatin. Allow gelatin to "bloom" for 10 minutes. Then carefully heat by swirling the measuring cup over a low gas flame or candle. Do not boil or gelatin will be damaged. Stir mixture into the cooled chocolate and set aside.
  • In the chilled mixing bowl, beat cream to medium peaks. Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Sprinkle in cayenne powder and fold in the remaining whipped cream in two doses. There may be streaks of whipped cream in the chocolate and that is fine. Do not over work the mousse.
  • Makes 3-4 servings.

Fill first with chocolate mousse

You can also add a topping of fresh whipped cream and garnish with a dash of cocoa powder.


   This comes from www.mymadisonbistro.com .

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

We got our first measurable snowfall yesterday – only a couple of inches, so it was a nice way to start off December. Nicer, still, because I didn’t have to go anywhere. You won’t see me fighting the crowds at the mall or swearing at the driver who cut me off, in an attempt to get a parking space I wasn’t even interested in.
Instead, I was able to hang out in my pajamas for a little longer than normal, my cat curled up on my lap, a cup of coffee by my side, and enjoying a phone conversation with an old friend. I watched the snowflakes fall, knowing I was in no rush to go outside to brush the snow off my car.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Unfortunately, the predictions were that the temperature would soon be falling. What better way to get cozy than with a mug of peppermint hot chocolate? The best thing about this recipe is that it’s bursting with chocolate flavor without being overpowering. Even better, it’s both kid and adult-friendly: the kids get peppermint hot chocolate, the adults get hot peppermint paddy’s, if that’s their desire.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate and Hot Peppermint Pattys
3 1/2 cups milk (2% or whole)
1 1/2 cups half and half
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
for garnish:
Whipped cream*
red sugar
mini candy canes
for Hot Peppermint Pattys:
Peppermint Schnapps
Heat milk in large saucepan over medium heat until just below a simmer. Add chocolate and whisk until melted. Add half and half, whisking to combine. Remove from heat.
Whisk in vanilla and peppermint. Pour in mugs and top with whipped cream, red sugar, and mini candy canes. For extra peppermint flavor, drop a candy cane in the mug as well.
For a peppermint patty: Add a splash of peppermint schnapps to the mug, stir, then top with whipped cream.
*To make whipped cream, whip cold cream just until soft peaks form. Mix in powdered sugar to taste.
   This comes from www.ourbestbites.com .
S'mores Hot Chocolate
I know. I have issues. A slight addiction to warm chocolaty drinks. I just posted some of my favorite specialty flavors, but this one needed its own post! If you’re in the SLC area, you can tune into KSL’s Studio 5 this morning and watch me whip this up live. Cross your fingers I don’t burn myself or over-do the marshmallows and catch the studio on fire. Not that that would be anything like me

This drink has all the elements of the toasty fire-side (or oven-side) treat, but in a drinkable form! It’s out of this world. Try it in mini-cups for an after-dinner treat or a big ol’ mug after playing outside in the cold.First up, the graham crackers! How do you include graham crackers in a beverage? First dip the rim of your mug in melted butter. I use salted butter because I like how the salt cuts the sweetness of the drink. Then dip the mug in crushed graham crackers.

Gorgeous, right? Next, the chocolate. I’m using a classic Hershey’s bar, but you can use any chocolate you like. I personally like using the dark Hershey’s bar, cuz that’s just how I roll….

Break up those chunks and put them right in your mugs

Now to make the chocolate into hot chocolate, just pour in hot milk. I always use whole milk when I do special drinks like this because, well, it tastes good. And it’s kind of naughty. And I’m always secretly jealous of my babies when they get to drink whole milk every day.

Use a pitcher with a good spout on it so you don’t mess up your pretty cracker rim. Just pour, don’t stir. It’s doing magical things in there.

Leave those mugs there and prepare the marshmallows. You can’t have a s’more without a toasty marshmallow, right?

Place them on a baking sheet. You don’t have to line it with parchment like I did. I just like to waste paper.

Place them under a broiler on low heat and sit there and stare at them. Really, don’t go anywhere, just stare. I don’t care if it makes them feel awkward, you’ll be happy you did when you don’t start a kitchen fire.
When the marshmallows are done, carefully stir up your hot chocolate. I like to partially stir so I still have some chocolate goo at the bottom to eat. Just like a real s’more.

Top each mug with a couple of marshmallows, and drizzle with chocolate sauce for pizazz. Yes, I just said pizazz.

These are super cute and delicious in mini mugs as well. Bring a tray out after dinner, or for a party and your guests will literally fall at your feet. Tell them to get up and try your amazing hot chocolate.

One other thing I will mention is that this syrup is amazing. I haven’t seen it in stores, I’ve just had it at the coffee shop in my hot chocolate, but if you’re a fan you could order some, it’s amazing!

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