Hot Chocolate

It’s February: that time of year when you feel that winter has lasted for ages, and yet the end isn’t quite in sight.

I was inspired to write this post by this recipe for bourbon hot chocolate.  It calls for simmering the milk with cardamom pod, which makes me swoon just thinking about it.  I can’t wait to try it.

My own recent favorite has been hot chocolate with Bailey’s.  Though I sometimes make hot chocolate from scratch, mixing up rich, bitter cocoa powder with just enough sugar, lately I’ve been using the Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate mix.  The easiest way to mix up hot chocolate is to measure the dry ingredients into your mug, then add just enough water or milk to create a paste.  Once every grain of cocoa and sugar is suspended in liquid, it will dissolve perfectly as you pour in the hot milk.  Then you can add your amaretto or Kahlua or Bailey’s, or whatever else floats your ice-bound winter boat.

Another favorite of mine is spiced hot chocolate, often known as Mexican hot chocolate.  Chili peppers are amazing at setting off the bittersweet chocolate flavor, especially when there’s also cinnamon involved.

Some of my favorite memories from the year I lived in Jersualem involve chocolate.  There were a couple cafes that made hot chocolate the best and rarest way: with small chunks of actual chocolate with steamed milk poured over the top.  The best thing is to take a spoonful of the chocolate after it’s become molten from the heat but before it’s dissolved in the milk.  At that perfect moment, it’s dripping from the spoon and so rich that you could melt from chocolate happiness.

Speaking of chocolate happiness, I’m off to the kitchen.

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