Hot chocolate gets spicy

That's Entertaining

December 03, 2008|By Betty Rosbottom | Betty Rosbottom,Tribune Media Services

December is the month when many of us make and share food with others. Home bakers turn out all manner of sweet treats. Others serve warm mulled cider or wine at caroling parties and trim-the-tree gatherings. Everywhere there is a sense of celebration through food.

I join right in, picking up on this holiday spirit. Recently, I came up with an idea for holiday spiced hot chocolate, which I expect to use often during the next few weeks.

This special cocoa mix could easily be packaged as a gift. Attach a tag with directions for combining with milk and serving. (I've included the wording for such a note along with today's recipe.)


(serves 6)

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (see note)

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons ground cardamom, plus extra for garnish

1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus extra for garnish

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg, plus extra for garnish

5 cups whole milk

1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream, whipped until just firm

6 cinnamon sticks, preferably tall ones for garnish

In a bowl, stir together cocoa powder, sugar, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg until well blended. Transfer to a medium, heavy saucepan and pour in 1 cup milk. Set pan over medium heat and whisk constantly until cocoa mixture is blended with milk. Add remaining milk and whisk until mixture is hot, about 3 minutes.

Divide the hot chocolate among 6 coffee cups or mugs and top each serving with a generous dollop of whipped cream (which will start to melt immediately). Garnish each serving with a pinch of cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg. Then add a cinnamon stick for stirring. Serve immediately.

Note:: This spiced cocoa is best when made with a good-quality cocoa powder. Droste, Scharffen Berger or Hershey's Special Dark all work well.

Note:: If using the cocoa mix as a gift, double the recipe; increase cocoa powder to 2/3 cup, sugar to 2/3 cup, cardamom to 4 teaspoons, cinnamon to 2 teaspoons, and nutmeg to 1 teaspoon. Mix well and put in an airtight container or tightly sealed cellophane bag with a note that reads:

"For 1 serving, combine 2 tablespoons spiced cocoa mix with 3/4 cup whole milk in a saucepan. Whisk constantly over medium heat until hot. Serve cocoa in a cup or mug garnished with a dollop of whipped cream, and if desired with a sprinkle of cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add a cinnamon stick for stirring, if you like. This cocoa mix will yield 12 servings."

Per serving: : 245 calories, 8 grams protein, 15 grams fat, 9 grams saturated fat, 24 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 48 milligrams cholesterol, 90 milligrams sodium

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