Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hot Chocolate with Whipped Cream

With the cold and snowy weather we've been having in Toronto lately I have been craving all things warm and that includes Hot Chocolate. When I was younger, my brothers, sister and I would go sledding and play in the snow for hours and often times when we'd come in mom would have hot chocolate waiting for us. Depending on what we had in the house there'd be whipped cream or marshmallows or sometimes a candy cane stirrer, something to make it that much more special. And it was always in these great mugs we each had that had an animal at the bottom, mine had a teddy bear. It was so great to drink the yummy chocolate and see the head of the bear poking out as I got near the bottom of my mug. There truly is nothing better when you come in from the cold. I decided to try a recipe that came with my Yummy Soup program and made some fresh whipped cream to go on top. It was so tasty!

Hot Chocolate
serves 4

4 cups milk
1 cinnamon stick, 6 sprigs fresh mint, or 2 split vanilla bean (optional) (I used cinnamon)
10 oz. semisweet or milk chocolate, cut into small pieces
Whipped cream, for serving (optional) (see recipe below)
Chocolate shavings (optional)
Cinnamon to sprinkle on top (optional)

Heat milk to scalding in a medium saucepan. Add cinnamon, mint, or vanilla, if desired. Let steep 10 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat; strain, and return to saucepan. Reheat milk; using a whisk, stir in chocolate until melted and milk is frothy. Serve immediately with a dollop of whipped cream garnished with chocolate shavings, if desired.

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream - very cold
2 Tbsp Cointreau

Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat on high until stiff, approx 3-4 minutes.

The boozy whipped cream I came up with on my own for a more adult take. The orange flavoring of the Cointreau went so well with the cinnamon in the hot chocolate. I garnished mine with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon too. If you use vanilla in your hot chocolate, I think a whiskey whipped cream would be nice. Of course if you don't want to use any alcohol just a bit of vanilla extract or any other complementary flavoring would be great too. Some people add a touch of sugar to whipped cream, but since it was going on top of the rich Hot Chocolate I opted to go without. This is my favorite kind of recipe because you can add whatever flavorings you like to make it something special. Enjoy!

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