Thursday, February 5, 2015

Take the hot chocolate challenge!

By Mary Jane Maffini aka Victoria Abbott

Here’s the view from my front door today. 

And here’s the back. 

No sign of the sun.  My grill has had happier days, but even though the temperature has shot up to 15 degrees (or about minus 9 Celsius), the lid has frozen shut (yes we used layers of cardboard but …)

In the midst of this I have a deadly deadline, I’m on a plan to get rid of those extra winter pounds and my horoscope said ‘take a walk’.  

All I wanted was a treat!

I told my horoscope to ‘take a hike’ and made some hot chocolate instead.
Here’s how I did it:

2 tsp Splenda (or other sweetener)
4 tsp Dutch process cocoa (or whatever you have!)
1 cup 1 % milk  (feel free to substitute whatever you have)
½ tsp good quality vanilla (optional)
In a small saucepan, blend sweetener, cocoa and 1 tablespoon of the milk until it’s a smooth paste.

Add the rest of the milk, blend and heat through (better not to boil).

Remove from heat and add vanilla. 

I decided to use the immersion blender to get some froth and was very happy with all the results. 

Take that Mr. Winter. I feel better already.

My daughter decided she'll try this with Almond Breeze Vanilla. I'm waiting for that report!

I curled up on the sofa with my book collector mystery mug and enjoyed my lovely cocoa while watching the snow through my favorite orchid. It is managing to stay alive somehow. That lump you see on the far sofa is Lily the dachshund keeping warm under a blankie.

My next batch of hot chocolate will be in these pretty little cups that my favorite aunt hand-painted in the 1930’s.  They’ve been wanting to come out of the china cabinet for a while now and this will be worth it. 

But what about you? Do you have a winter-busting hot chocolate recipe? Diet or not diet, I’d like to hear it and any tips you have to pass along.  Take the hot chocolate challenge and let us know! Don't forget to tell us where you'll drink it.


BusyMom said...

I will have to try this

Karen in Ohio said...

That sounds delicious, MJ.

Years ago, Starbucks served a very thick, European-style hot chocolate, but they quit. I think it wasn't cost-effective for them. But I spotted a big can at Costco one time and snagged it. Now I wish I'd bought two, because there is about a fourth of the can left, so I'm hoarding it. But it's very thick, almost more like a mousse, and very rich.

When I drink it, it's in my kitchen, in the sunny window, soaking up as much warmth as I can get, while I read my latest cozy mystery. Of course.

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

MJ, those photos chilled me to the bone!! Lovely recipe for hot chocolate, I'm going to try it!

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Hope you like it! Let us know if you find ways to make it better. I'll just say I'm down a pound today, so no chocolate harm at all.



Mary Jane Maffini said...

Oooh, Katren, I'm jealous. I'll keep my eyes open for it. Diet can't last forever!

Enjoy you choco and reading.



Merry Lu said...

I <3 a challenge! And I <3 a cup of real hot chocolate, especially with some instant coffee stirred in.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Mary - I am always warmed by your Delaware pix, so this doesn't make us even. LOL



Mary Jane Maffini said...

Merry Lu, I love the mocha variation. Will try that soon.

Thanks and hugs.


Nancy said...

Right now our local landscape looks much like yours, with record snow falls and deep drifts. I'm drinking Swiss Miss hot chocolate that my daughter gave me free from an event they staged. It's quick and easy and surprisingly tasty. Yours is no doubt better. In fact, it's like the cocoa I used to make, minus the real sugar.

Aurian said...

You could send some snow my way? This morning only a slight dusting of snow where I live, and my collegues who have to drive for half an hour, or an hour, had 10 cm. Not fair, I want some snow too.
I love hot chocolate, but I am lazy. Here in Holland we have some delicious hot chocolate powder from Nestlé, a big chocolate name. Just boil water and add it to the powder. I always add one small lump of sugar, not necessary for the sweetness but somehow it makes it creamier.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Mmm. Swiss Miss hot choco. Sounds great, Nancy!



Mary Jane Maffini said...

How many truckloads of snow would you like, Aurian? I'd trade Ottawa for Holland today for sure, even though we do have a dispute over who has the longest outdoor skating rink. Nudge. Wink!

Happy winter.


Anonymous said...

I love the sound of your recipe. My favourite addition to a cup of hot chocolate is a few white chocolate curls on top (and calories be d..........!) An Ottawa winter such as we are having demands the protection of an extra pound or two. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Nancy R

Anonymous said...

I buy a 1 lb can of Stephen's Dark Chocolate Gourmet Hot Cocoa or, at Christmas, with crushed candy canes (made in Utah so no idea if it is in the east or Canada) and a 13.8 oz can of Swiss Miss No Sugar Added, combine them equally, and then add a scoop of that to 6 oz of hot water. Probably not as good as your recipe but ok when I want something quick, hot, and chocolatey with relatively few calories. Not sure if Swiss Miss still makes diet because it tasted like dishwater but No Sugar Added is definitely better. Cordella

Duffy Brown said...

I use that Swiss Miss stuff in a packet. Not the greatest but only 100 calories and I tell myself it’s just yummy. Love your recipe. Totally delish

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Ooh Nancy, white chocolate curls! Where do I sign up? XO MJ

Mary Jane Maffini said...

You are a pro, Cordella! I love this finely tuned approach!



Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thanks, Duffy! We don't get have Swiss Miss up here, but I am going to look for it next time I'm across the border.



Mama Cat said...

Love the hot cocoa mug, and the recipe! I might have to get the ingredients to keep on hand to try your recipe, even here in the SW, but hate the calories. Usually I cheat and get the no sugar added mixes, even if not as good. Have to try something new now! Keep warm and cozy!

Mary Jane Maffini said...

I think with skim milk and sweetener this would be fairly low in calories. That's what I'm telling myself - so far no harm done.

Thanks for coming by, Mama Cat!



loveamystery said...

Worked at B&N years ago as a barrista and purchased a can of Godiva chocolate also a bottle of cinnamon dolce syrup used for the drinks, retaurant supply house for a pump. Now if I want to indulge milk, Godiva, two pumps of the cinnamon dolce and a dollop of reddi whip and I'm set. In front of the fireplace with the dogs (goldens) and a good cozy.

Jayne said...

Being non-dairy, I had a time replacing my old cocoa recipe. The current one is good, but might still need a tweak or two:

Stir to smooth paste in mug:

1 tsp sugar, 1 Tbsp cocoa, 1 dash cinnamon
+ 2 tsp blood-orange infused olive oil

Add 1/4 cup of coconut milk and stir. Warm in microwave and stir until well blended.

Fill cup with coconut milk and heat fully in microwave.

Froth if desired.

Unknown said...

Pulverize your left over candycanes. I use coffegrinder. Use the powdered candycane as the sweetner. It will give a hint pf peppermint.