Thursday, November 23, 2017

Hot Cocoa Retreat!


We are well into hot cocoa weather. It's not just a cup of sweet wonder, but a beautiful sentimental ritual. Today's post is going to delve deeply into the best hot cocoa recipes in the world and the best treats to accompany them, all hot cocoa-themed! 


3 tablespoons cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed), plus more for serving
3 cups whole milk
6 ounces semisweet chocolate (preferably Scharffen Berger), finely chopped
3 tablespoons demerara or granulated sugar
Lightly sweetened whipped cream (for serving)


Bring ¾ cup water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder until no lumps remain, then add milk and return to a simmer. Whisk in chocolate and sugar and cook, whisking frequently, until mixture is smooth and creamy and chocolate is melted, about 5 minutes.

Divide hot chocolate among mugs. Top with whipped cream and dust with cocoa powder.


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HOT COCOA COOKIES WITH MARSHMALLOWS

1/2 cup butter
12 ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, cut into 1 inch pieces
16 large marshmallows, cut in half

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter and the 12 ounces of semisweet chocolate chips. Stir constantly until just melted. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes to slightly cool.

In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat with an electric hand-mixer, on medium speed just until blended. Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture just until combined.

Add the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix on low speed just until combined. Cover bowl with saran wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Scoop and drop the cookie dough by the tablespoon, onto the prepared cookie sheets. You should fit 12 cookies per sheet, and making sure to space them at least 2 inches apart.

Bake cookies for 12 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and place one piece of chocolate on the center top of each cookie, and then top each chocolate with one half marshmallow. Place cookies back in oven and bake another 4 minutes.

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Bigfoot-feet-shaped marshmallows I made for my investigation team.


Vegetable oil, for brushing
4 envelopes unflavored gelatin (3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons)
3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

1. Brush a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with oil. Line with parchment, allowing a 2-inch overhang on the long sides. Brush parchment with oil; set aside.

2. Put granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 3/4 cup water into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook, without stirring, until mixture registers 238 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 9 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, put 3/4 cup cold water into the bowl of an electric mixer; sprinkle with gelatin. Let soften 5 minutes.

4. Attach bowl with gelatin to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. With mixer on low speed, beat hot syrup into gelatin mixture. Gradually raise speed to high; beat until mixture is very stiff, about 12 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Pour into prepared dish, and smooth with an offset spatula. Set aside, uncovered, until firm, about 3 hours.

5. Sift 1 cup confectioners' sugar onto a work surface. Unmold marshmallow onto confectioners' sugar; remove parchment. Lightly brush a sharp knife with oil, then cut marshmallow into 2-inch squares. Sift remaining 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar into a small bowl, and roll each marshmallow in the sugar to coat.

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 6 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg Pinch cayenne pepper 2 (12-ounce) bags semisweet chocolate chips (recommended: Hershey's) Cocoa powder, for serving

Stovetop: In a large pot over medium heat, whisk together milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and nutmeg. Add chocolate chips. Stir until chocolate is melted. Cover and turn heat to low for 5 minutes. For slow cooker: In a 4-quart slow cooker, whisk together milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and nutmeg. Add chocolate chips. Cover and cook on LOW setting for 2 to 3 hours, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with a dusting of cocoa powder. 

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ADD-INS FOR HOT COCOA
Stir with a peppermint stick
Add Kahlua, rum, or Bailey's Irish Creme
cinnamon, nutmeg, whipped cream, marshmallows, ginger, coffee granules, cayenne

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Best Things To Dip In Hot Cocoa
Cookie recipe above
ginger snaps
sugar cookies
biscotti
peanut butter cookies

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MOVIE SUGGESTIONS
Chocolat
Krampus 
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Elf

BEST STORE BOUGHT HOT COCOA MIX


This isn't that watery milk chocolate weak stuff. This is rich and dark like a roasted coffee but sweet enough to not need a thing added to it. I tend to sprinkle it with cinnamon, ginger, and a dash of cayenne because I adore Mexican Hot Cocoa. 


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