Monday, April 17, 2017

Homemade Hot Chocolate

Happy Easter (season)!  We had a beautiful day and it was gorgeous out and, no matter when it falls, Easter almost always feels like the real start of spring.  It's wonderful and now I can drink alcohol and spend money and you can guess which one of those will probably happen first (yes, it's spending money on something fun).  

You might be thinking to yourself, "Why is she posting about hot chocolate when it is spring?"  That is an excellent question.  It's because I'm still drinking hot chocolate due to our cold start to spring.  There was snow on the ground recently and we were just skiing a month ago and it's still rather cold some of the time!  Cold enough I've worn my fleece lined leggings under pants in the past week!  I still have very cold toes most of my waking hours!  I've never been a coffee drinker (and if 8 years in public accounting and 4 years of stay-at-home parenting hasn't attached me to the stuff I don't think much will (pending those long awaited twins, of course)) but do enjoy GOOD hot chocolate.

And that's the key.  This is GOOD hot chocolate.  Growing up we'd get it as a treat, mostly after playing in the snow but I never cared for the powdered, packaged stuff.  I always tried to get my Mom to buy me the powdered apple cider (which I still like, even more so this way) and that did work sometimes.  Those instant powder hot chocolate mixes....ehhhhhh.

THIS however, you take real chocolate, cocoa powder, and sugar (of course), and grind it all up.  You can use various kinds of chocolate, I used a lot of dark because 1) it's what I had in the freezer and 2) dark chocolate is the best chocolate (which is why it's what was in my freezer in the first place).  Then you add it to hot MILK which is key.  This stuff is not watery.  It's full, thick, wonderful hot chocolate and definitely a kind I get get on board with drinking.  In moderation, of course.  This much sugar on a regular basis would make me too jittery and wound up so I reserve this mainly for working mornings or after playing in the snow with Luke (because apparently I'm ok with a wound up 4 year old) or special occasions.  I'm not going to tell you it also tastes great with caramel vodka maybe does.  If you happen to have that in your cupboard.  (Which we do.)

So, to summarize, this is excellent hot chocolate.  I highly recommend., besides maybe giving it to 4 year olds right before quiet time.  You can probably imagine how "quiet" that was.  It also keeps forEVER or at least a couple years, because that's how long it takes me to get through a batch when I'm only drinking it once a week, in the colder months.  So go ahead and make now, enjoy on a few colder mornings, and the rest will still be great in the fall! 

 Homemade Hot Chocolate
yield: approx. 36 servings
-2 cups sugar
-16.5 ounces good quality chocolate*
-1 cup cocoa powder**
-2 vanilla beans (optional)

*I used a mix of Ghirardelli 72% and 86% dark, do NOT use chocolate chips, Ghirardelli bars aren't very pricey at the grocery store
**Dutch-process if you have it.  Dark chocolate cocoa powder if you don't.  I've used both, in varying proportions.

1) If you have vanilla beans, slice them open and bury in the 2 cups of sugar.  Let sit overnight (or longer) and then dispose of the vanilla beans.  Otherwise, just use the straight sugar.
2) Roughly chop or break the chocolate (I just whacked the fully wrapped bars against the edge of the counter a few times).  Add the chocolate, cocoa powder, and sugar to the bowl of a food processor.  Process in pulses until everything is finely ground and combined.
3) Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.

To make hot chocolate, heat 1 cup of milk.  Add 2TB of mix.  Stir well.  ENJOY!

Source: slightly modified from Annie's Eats, originally from Confessions of a Foodie Bride

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