Fall Loves {cocoa}

Minnesota’s fall heat wave is absolutely amazing, but it means that I will have to hold off a bit longer to indulge in some cocoa.  I love hot cocoa. It is sweet and chocolately and creamy and wonderful.

I thought it would be fun to do some variations of the old classic cocoa this year.

1. Hot cocoa with almond milk

This recipe is via Martha Stewart, and it is really easy. You just replace the milk with almond milk. I haven’t tried this yet (due to the unseasonably hot weather), but I would guess it adds a hint of almond to the chocolate flavor.

2. Hot Cocoa with Heart-shaped Marshmallows

Okay, so this isn’t a variation of hot cocoa, but wouldn’t it be so cute and romantic to sip a cup of hot cocoa with some heart-shaped marshmallows swirling around in it? I think this would be perfect for Christmas morning when Dylan and I are just hanging out opening presents. This recipe is also from Martha Stewart.

3. “Hotter than Ever” Spiced Hot Cocoa

The idea of spicy hot cocoa is interesting to me, and by interesting I mean ‘a bit scary.’ However, I trust Eating Well very much to provide delightful recipes. I guess I’ll have to give this Spiced Hot Cocoa a try.

4. Nutella Hot Cocoa

Nutella seems to be all the rage these days, and this is just interesting. I’m sure it adds a smooth hazelnut flavoring to the concoction. Recipe via Pinterest; originally from The Hungry Housewife.

5. Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate

This is quite the variation of hot chocolate, but it sounds perfect for a Thanksgiving treat.

3 cups whole milk
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 cinnamon sticks, broken
12 whole cloves, crushed slightly
12 whole allspice berries, crushed slightly
2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
2 tablespoons chopped orange peel (all pith removed)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

4-6 ounces, high quality white chocolate, roughly chopped (Lindt or Guittard recommended)
pinch sea salt (don’t even think about leaving this out)

1 cup heavy cream, whipped and lightly sweetened
shaved white chocolate, from a bar of white chocolate
ground cinnamon in a shaker

  1. In a saucepan, over medium-low heat, bring the milk to a bare simmer.
  2. Lower the heat to keep the milk below the boiling point and add the pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, candied ginger and vanilla bean.
  3. Remove from the heat and let mellow as long as you can wait (refrigerate if you need to hold longer than an hour).
  4. When ready to serve, pour the milk mixture through a triple mesh strainer into a clean saucepan. Heat to just below a simmer and remove from the heat.
  5. Add the white chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted.
  6. Remove from the heat, and add sea salt.
  7. To serve immediately, pour into five, eight-ounce capacity, Irish coffee or other stemmed glasses.
  8. To store, let cool, decant, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat to serve.
  9. Just before serving, top each glass of hot chocolate with a generous mound of whipped cream, a few shavings of white chocolate, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Serve immediately.

(Makes five, 6-ounce servings.) Recipe via Pinterest; originally from Luna Cafe.

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