Spicy Hot Cocoa

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Hi friends!

It’s finals week, with which I have a bit of a love-hate relationship (the grammatical correctness from all of the papers is coming out). On the one hand, literally everything is due and all the tests need to be taken, which is, of course, rather unfortunate. On the other, every other obligation magically goes poof because no one does meetings for anything during finals. I actually usually come out to have more free time than usual, which is a pretty nice silver lining to the whole situation.

(It’s also a great time of year for making Christmas treats for friends instead of actually being productive, then pretending that it’s in the spirit of the season rather than just a thinly veiled attempt at procrastination.)

Alas, in spite of the extra time, I have not had a chance to make a real fancy dessert this week. Instead, I offer to you my favorite winter recipe for super decadent gourmet hot cocoa, because the cold has finally come to my part of the country and I am not amused. What is the point of hitting sub-zero temperatures when it only ever rains? To tide you and me and all of your friends and families through these trying times of bitter cold, I present to you fancy cocoa with all of the fixings to warm you from the inside out on a freezing winter day.

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Because I’m super into the whole spicy-sweet thing, it clearly made sense to me to top my cocoa with cayenne, cinnamon, and nutmeg rather than normal toppings like marshmallows and caramel. That being said, feel free to customize with melted caramel drizzle and flaky coarse sea salt or crushed peppermint candies or even a dash of coffee (or opposite-of-a-stimulant of choice aka liquor) if that’s your thing.

At any rate, I think I need to go back to the whole student thing, what with the studying and the essay writing and such, so I leave you with something to keep you toasty in the weeks to come. Hope you enjoy!

Happy Thursday,
Anne

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Spicy Hot Cocoa

Makes two 8 oz cups, or a large 16 oz mug

Ingredients:

Hot Cocoa:
2 cups milk (any kind – the more fat, the richer your cocoa will be)
2 oz dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 tbs cocoa powder, sifted
1-2 tbs granulated sugar (adjust to taste)

Whipped Cream:
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbs granulated sugar

To Serve:
Cayenne, cinnamon, and nutmeg

Directions:

Hot Cocoa:

  1. In a small pot over medium heat, bring the milk to a simmering boil.
  2. Add the dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and granulated together, and whisk together until fully dissolved.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and keep the cocoa covered on the stove to stay warm until you are ready to serve.

Whipped Cream:

  1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat together the heavy cream and sugar to firm peaks. At this point, when you lift the beaters out, the cream should form peaks that gently curl over at the tips.

To Serve:

  1. Divide the cocoa among the serving cups.
  2. Spoon or pipe the whipped cream on top, dust with cayenne, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and serve immediately. Enjoy!

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