Simply Cooking with fresh ingredients and love

Vanilla Hot Chocolate – A Wonderful Gift from the Heart

This year for the holiday I am more focused on giving gifts I have made rather than those I have bought, partly because I don’t like Christmas shopping crowds but more so because I think that giving handmade gifts is a way for me to convey how much each person means to me, truly giving from my heart to theirs. I thought I would share a recipe from our next class which any chocolate lover will appreciate as a gift.

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Vanilla Hot Chocolate Mix
The secret to this recipe is to use the best chocolate you can find such as Valrhona, Scharffen Berger or Ghirardelli. To give as a gift you can wrap it up prettily in a glass jar and attach the serving instructions to the jar, see the photo of one way of decorating the jar.

Ingredients

2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split crosswise and scraped
3/4 pound semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder such as Droste’s

Split the vanilla bean lengthwise. Place the sugar in large bowl and scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the sugar. Once all the seeds are scraped out also add the pod to the sugar. Using your hands, work the seeds into the sugar with your fingers. Wrap plastic wrap tightly to cover the bowl and let the sugar mixture stand overnight at room temperature.

The next day, using a food processor fitted with metal blade, process the semisweet chocolate and the milk chocolate until finely ground, using the pulse button.

Remove the pod from sugar. Add the ground chocolate and cocoa powder to the sugar and use a whisk to thoroughly blend it all together. Note: do not substitute natural cocoa for Dutch process cocoa in this recipe.

The cocoa mixture can be stored at room temperature for up to six months.

To serve: For each serving, heat 8 ounces milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until scalded or microwave for 2 1/2 minutes at full power. Whisk in 1/3 cup of cocoa mix into the warmed milk. Serve with softly whipped cream or marshmallows.

Makes approximately 5 cups of cocoa, 15 servings.

Happy Holidays!

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