Monday, November 28, 2011

Hot Cocoa for Cold Moods

Okay friends, I am in a bad mood. I'm not telling you why, so don't ask. But I will tell you that one thing that puts me in a better mood, sometimes, or at least has the thin veneer of putting me in a better mood, is hot cocoa. However, hot cocoa made from

a) instant mix; or
b) a machine

will make my bad mood even worse. That is why, even in my grumpiness, I am providing you with the instructions necessary to improve my mood, should you choose to do so with a hot cocoa. I can't guarantee that it will work, but I can guarantee it will make a tasty cup of hot cocoa.

BTW, I am almost positive this recipe is scalable, but I have not proven that in my test kitchen. BTW, I don't have a special test kitchen separate from my regular kitchen. Okay, here goes:

Ingredients for 1 cup of degrumpifying hot cocoa
1/3 cup boiling water
1 Tbs plus 1 tsp unsweetened powdered cocoa
2 tsp honey
1 cup milk (or for extra creaminess, 7 ounces milk and 1 ounce half and half, or whatever mixture of milk and half and half delights your palate)

optional and highly recommended ingredients:
splash of vanilla
dash of any spice you'd put into pumpkin pie (cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, ginger, etc)
splash of peppermint extract
shot of whiskey, or several

Put cocoa and honey in a pot that you can use a whisk in (if you are likely to leave things burn on the stove, make it a double boiler) and add the boiling water. whisk together so that all the ingredients are combined homogenously. if you have fancy Le Creuset pots and your fiance will freak out if anything metal is in the same room as them, do this set in a bowl and then transfer it to the pot. If you have Teflon pots or pans, throw them in the garbage and thank me because that shit causes cancer. Then follow previous directions with a non-cancer-causing pot of your choosing.

Add the milk to the pot and heat over a low heat, stirring frequently with the appropriate utensil. Why stir, you ask? Because milk proteins are finicky little bits, with a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan, and if you heat them without stirring, they run the chance of burning very quickly. When the hot cocoa reaches your desired temperature, pour into a hand thrown mug decorated with a lively winter scene and enjoy heartily.

IMPORTANT, POTENTIALLY CONFOUNDING NOTE: I just discovered that protein defies the oft-relied upon spelling adage "I before E except after C and when sounding like A as in 'neighbor' and 'weigh.'" The "tein" in protein includes an EI that nether follows a C nor sounds like A. Is nothing sacred? I may need another cup of hot cocoa.

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