It’s snowing again. Great, white flakes drifted lazily at first. Now they are coming thicker and faster and the wind is beginning to blow a bit. One by one, my obligations for the afternoon have cancelled. No one wants to brave the elements if they can avoid it and suddenly I find myself faced with a free afternoon. Time for music and hot cocoa.
I make a couple of different kinds of hot chocolate. I have a mix that I make in bulk and give away as gifts. It’s quite good, certainly better than any commercial mix I’ve tried, but I find myself hankering for something special, indulgent, something that says SNOW DAY!!!!
I warm 2 cups of rich milk in a small saucepan (or a double boiler) over very low heat. While it’s heating, I chop of 5 ounces of really good chocolate. Semisweet is too sweet and bittersweet not sweet enough. A mix of the two is about perfect although you can use bittersweet chocolate and add a bit of brown sugar to taste. Add that to the milk and stir until the chocolate melts. Be sure you never let it boil. Just let steam rise from the top. Letting a vanilla pod steep in the milk for a bit is a real luxury but a ½ teaspoon of extract will suit too. I like a swirl of heavy cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
If you are going to go to the trouble of making hot chocolate from scratch rather than spooning a powder into a cup and adding hot water then you should also indulge in a pretty mug. Put your feet up. Turn off the ringer on the phone. Ahhh…. Bliss!