Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Perfect Hot Chocolate

The holidays are a joyous time of year. Food, friends and family abound, traditions are shared and gifts are given. In the next few weeks I would love to share with you a few of our family traditions. Many of them center around food and gift giving, so I will have many new holiday recipes to share.

One of my families favorite holiday traditions begins with the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree and ends with a perfect cup of hot cocoa. The perfect tree has to be not too skinny, not too fat, tall enough that you need a latter to reach the top but not too tall that it hits the ceiling and bends over, it must be a dark shade of green with no visible spray paint on its boughs, and must have the most beautiful aroma. Above all else it must be alive!!!! ( No fake trees in our house)

Each year we begin our search at the tree farm, the trees covered in a beautiful coating of freshly fallen snow. The children bundled up, my husband with tree saw in tow, our cheeks bright red from the cold crisp air. Wandering up and down the rows of trees until our eyes rest upon the perfect tree, we cut it down, shake off the snow from the branches and proudly bring it to our car.
Once we reach our house we place the tree in a cherry red wrought iron stand, the snow from the branches drips to the floor leaving puddles that are quickly soaked up by the vintage tree skirt. The ornaments come out, each one lovingly collected and chosen by members of our family. Each one has a story and a memory attached to it. Last but certainly not least Christmas scooby is placed at the top. The night ends with a perfect cup of cocoa.

This year we live in Southern California so we lacked the snow, but the tradition remained the same and the night ended with a perfect cup of cocoa.

The Perfect Cup of Cocoa
serves 4

3 cups whole milk
1 1/2 c. chocolate ganache
fresh whipped cream
peppermint sticks

Place whole milk in medium sauce pan, add chocolate ganache. Heat to simmer. Remove from heat and assemble in heat proof glass mug.

Chocolate ganache:

1 cup 60% bittersweet chocolate chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat heavy cream until the cream just starts to simmer, remove from heat and add chocolate to cream. Let sit for 1-2 minutes, stir to combine. add vanilla and stir. Set aside.

Fresh whipped cream

1 c. heavy cream
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Place heavy cream in mixing bowl. Whip on high 2-3 minutes, add sugar and vanilla. Beat 1-2 minutes more until soft peaks form. Set aside

To assemble hot cocoa:

Place 1/4 of the hot cocoa in a heat proof glass mug. Spoon fresh whipped cream on top. Garnish with a peppermint stick.


Fresh Local and Best said...

This does sound like the perfect hot chocolate! I quite enjoy peppermint flavor with chocolate-y chocolate, so this recipe is wonderful for me.

Chef E said...

This was one of the treats my mom would make for us on cold nights during the holidays, since heavy cream was so expensive for our meager budget growing up, and oh what a treat it was... Your photo looks so inviting!

Daily Spud said...

What a glorious looking hot chocolate - not at all like the cups of cocoa we would have had growing up!

Taste of Beirut said...

very rich and utterly delicious! I can picture drinking this in Vienna!

Jhonny walker said...

rich...fantstic and glorious! very very very like an ideal hot chocolate should be :)

Angie's Recipes said...

That does look like a great hot chocolate drink!

Gera @ SweetsFoods said...

Really a perfect hot chocolate! You know my sweet tooth...that's my kind of drink :)



Chow and Chatter said...

oh this does look perfect post a pic of your tree! oh and i would adore it is you could do a guest post for chow and chatter your a pro and take the best snaps

rebeccasubbiah at yahoo dot com

love Rebecca

Anonymous said...

WOW this really does sound like the perfect hot chocolate. I found your site through chow and chatter and I am happy I did so! You are so talented with your creations, keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Mmm.. this hot cocoa sounds fantastic! Would have been perfect after our hike in the snow for my daughter's nature class today!

Cinnamon-Girl Reeni♥ said...

Chocolate ganache cocoa, how absolutely divine! I love unwrapping the ornaments along with all the memories.

Chow and Chatter said...

i have left an award for you on my blog

Lori said...

Just looking at this warms me up! I love a simple hot chocolate and this uses such quality ingredients. I could go for a mug right now!

HoneyB said...

It LOOKS like the perfect cup of hot chocolate! I will be keeping this in mind for an indulgent moment!

Oh, and I found you through Sweet Foods Blog!

Anonymous said...

I always love when hot chocolate is "dressed up" for the holiday season!