Quite a few years ago, a tradition started in our house. First, it started when my boys trooped in on a chill afternoon with the neighborhood kids following behind. They’d line up on stools on the other side of the island, for steaming cups of hot cocoa.
Then, one day, I found some hot chocolate cups at my favorite pottery store, two doors down from where I grew up. There are six cups now, one for my older son’s wife.
Instant hot cocoa is always good for a group of boys, but then I decided to search for something better. My aunt used to make the real Hershey’s hot cocoa (recipe on back of the container) – and it is delicious, but just not full-bodied enough. I found another recipe that used evaporated milk and a bag of chocolate chips, but that was just too over-the top. My favorite coffee shop serves an Italian Hot Chocolate that is like eating chocolate pudding. Totally decadent, but too much for an every-snow-day treat.
I finally just came up with my own – and it is definitely yum! How do I know? Well, my husband says so! LOL – and, the boys say so!
You know how Paul Dean is about butter? Well, I am that way about heavy whipping cream! The HWC is what provides the thick, creamy texture.
Most recipes have more sugar than cocoa, but I like a semi-sweet taste to my cocoa. I like to think it gives it more of that Jane Austen, 18th century flavor. If I were dis-ingenuous, I would say that less sugar excused my HWC!
During my quest for a hot chocolate recipe, I googled 18th century and the movie Chocolat! I would say the movie Chocolat left an indelible change to our grandparent’s hot chocolate recipes. It gave us license to use cayenne pepper! My guy was totally appalled when he saw me peppering the cocoa. He thought I had crossed the line and destroyed the entire pot of hot cocoa. Then he tasted his cup. He is now a cayenne believer!
Add 3 to 4 shakes from your cayenne pepper shaker – 3 for company because you are never sure how much of a punch they can take. 4 for family – because I know they can take it!
You are so going to want to disrespect me here, but I garnish with a can of processed whipping cream! One reason is the easy-factor. Remember, this is for impromptu social events for friends and kids. The second reason is because my boys adore a can of whipping cream, on their ice cream, on their hot cocoa, and, sneaking it to just squirt in their mouth.
Oh, and that coffee cake? That’s my grandmother’s coffee cake recipe. You can find it here.
Happy Snow Day, from my house to yours!