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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Weekly Recipes: September 11

I thought I had posted this on the blog, but evidently I have not. So, here it is:

Hot Chocolate for a Crowd

Ditch the cocoa mix and make your own. This is the real hot chocolate with the skin. Even the skin is tasty. You don't have to make this on as large a scale, this makes about 16 one cup servings, but come on? Who only drinks one cup?

I use about two thirds regular cocoa and one third black cocoa, which is much darker than dutch process. It is a bit too bitter on its own, but we like a touch of the bitterness and we have found this to be the perfect ratio.

1 3/4 cups cocoa (not the mix, the unsweetened cocoa powder, if you like, use the dutch process for a darker cocoa)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup hot water
1 gallon whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Optional additions:
sweetened whipped vanilla cream
mini-marshmallows (especially homemade ones - see my older notes for a recipe)
crushed candy canes
orange zest
cinnamon (add with sugar and cocoa)
replace hot water with espresso

In a large pot, mix cocoa, sugar and salt. Turn on heat to medium and slowly add hot water, stirring to make a thin paste. Heat, stirring constantly, until it begins to come to a boil. Boil and stir for a minute or two. Add milk and heat, stirring occasionally, until it comes to the temperature you'd like to serve. Take off heat and stir in vanilla extract.

Ladle up and serve. Become your family's hero.

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I used to make a big potful of a similar mix when I cooked at conferences for high school age students in the winter. Much quicker to have it ready and serve than to have lots of people all trying to make their own at once.

Downunder we have two types of drinking chocolate. What is called drinking chocolate comes pre-sweetened and dissolves readily in hot milk or water. Cocoa has no sweetening and needs some sugar. I like the strong dark stuff, usually the dutch variety, and it needs mixing with a small amount of liquid before the rest is added.

A new one on me is sheer luxury. Adora, a local manufacturer of luxury quality chocolate, sells pyramids of chocolate, dark, milk or white, a bit over 5 cm from top to base. These are impaled on a stick like a paddle pop or similar iced confection. Stirred into a hot liquid they are very decadent.

I was recently away at a conference in our Southern Highlands which is much, much colder than Sydney. A friend and I used one of these in two mugs of boiling water. It was so rich no milk was needed. Drunk in my motel room as supper after a very long, cold day and much listening to good expositions of Scripture.

He poured a good slosh of butterscotch schnapps into each drink. Obviously an adults only variation but really good on a bitterly cold, wet night. Schnapps is too sweet for me normally, but it was a good addition to the drink.
That Adora sounds really good!

A blogger friend of mine posted a recipe for something that sounds similar. I haven't had a chance to try the recipe yet, but I plan to do so.

We have cocoa mix like your drinking chocolate. Usually it isn't made of very good ingredients, though there are better brands out there.
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