Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Countdown – Day 12

Time For a Cocoa Break!

I’m at the half-way point of my Twenty-Five Day Christmas Countdown Series.  I’m having tons of fun, mind you, but I think I need to take a little break to get some things wrapped up – literally – in my own home!  In my mind, there’s nothing better than taking time for hot cocoa.  The chocolate gets the endorphins flowing and the caffeine ramps up the energy level. 

Before I step away, I’ve selected some fun holiday mugs for enjoying your own special recipe mix.  I’ll also share a yummy recipe, courtesy of Tension Magazine.  If you would enjoy a break, too, but the homemade version feels too cumbersome . . . fear not, I’ll share a shortcut, as well!

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What would the holidays be without a little Christmas “kitsch”?  These mugs, from Sur La Table gave me the giggles!

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Choose any one of Crate and Barrel’s mug trio and fill it with some chocolate-dipped swizzle sticks to share with your dedicated post person.  It will be sure to send a warm message, from head to toe!

antiquegrosseillebowltMy personal favorite would be these French Faience Café au Lait Bowls, from French Garden House.  I don’t think the shop’s proprietress, Lidy Baars would mind if they serve a dual purpose!

Now for the extra “good” stuff! . . .

Mexican Hot Chocolate – From Scratch

Ingredients:

Makes 2 servings.

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder)
  • ½ of a vanilla bean, split open (or 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract)
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
    Note: chocolate with a high wax content is not suited to this recipe
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • Freshly grated cinnamon, or cinnamon powder, for garnish

Putting It Together:

Refrigerate a large stainless steel mixing bowl for mixing the cream. Use the mixer bowl if you are planning to use a standing mixer.

Combine milk, cinnamon stick, and vanilla bean in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, make the whipped cream by hand or mixer. Combine heavy whipping cream and sugar in the refrigerated bowl. Whip cream until soft peaks form. Taste and adjust for desired sweetness. Refrigerate whipped cream until ready to use.

Add ½ cup semi sweet chocolate to steeped milk and stir until melted. This is best accomplished using a molinillo, a wooden kitchen tool designed to incorporate chocolate into hot liquid - but a small whisk will also work well.

Strain heated mixture and serve immediately with dollops of whipped cream. Top whipped cream with freshly grated cinnamon, or a dusting of cinnamon powder.

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Shortcut Version – (Makes enough extra mix to keep on hand.)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 cups nonfat dry milk powder
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup non-dairy powdered coffee creamer
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon

Putting It Together:

  1. Mix all ingredients together well.
  2. Store in an airtight container.
  3. To serve, place 1/4 cup mix in cup and add 3/4 cup hot milk, stirring until mix is well blended.

The clock is reminding me – time for my cocoa break and a date with some wrapping paper!

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Christmas Cheers! ~ Wanda

14 Days and Counting!

1 comment:

Holly Lane Antiques said...

I am really enjoying your countdown - Thanks for sharing!