Aztec Hot Cocoa
It's that time of year. I guess, it's been that time of year for some time, but the truth of the matter is that now that the holidays have been over for a while, with nothing much to look forward to except for Winter's deep freeze that we've settled into, it's nice to have a treat to look forward to in this cold.
With that in mind, I've been working on all sorts of hot cocoa recipes. And the reason I've been working on them is because I find that opening a package of hot chocolate is about as satisfying as a celery stick when you're craving your favorite cheesy, gooey, garlicky pasta dish on a diet!
One thing I've found in my life is that when I'm freezing cold, I want a hot cup of something to wrap my hands around and warm me up on the outside before I take a swallow and start warming up on the inside. For me that means either having a cup of tea, sweetened with honey or a cup of hot cocoa.
And because I am seriously not a fan of prepackaged hot chocolate (mostly just sweet with not much chocolate flavor), I started messing around making my own recipes. I've got several that I'm really happy with, but at the moment my favorite is my Aztec Hot Cocoa Recipe.
I've even included an Aztec Whipped Cream recipe if you like me LOVE 'Aztec' foods!
Aztec Hot Cocoa:
1/3 cup Cocoa
1/3 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne
3 cups Milk
1 cup light cream
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Bring the first six ingredients to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.
Slowly whisk in milk and bring to desired temperature, being
careful NOT to boil the milk (although truth be told I like it
Whisk in the Vanilla until it is thoroughly incorporated.
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 level teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
1/8th teaspoon cinnamon
a few grains of cayenne pepper
Using a mixer (I use a hand mixer), beat the heavy cream in a high-sided stainless steel or glass bowl, on medium speed until it starts to thicken just a little.
Slowly add the vanilla extract.
Sift the confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, cayenne pepper into the heavy cream mixture and continue to beat until the cream develops a soft, billowy texture.
While homemade whipped cream is best served immediately, it will also keep in the refrigerator for a few days in a sealed container—if you can keep your hands off it.
While it may be tempting to beat the heavy cream on high speed to make things go faster, keeping your mixer on medium speed is a much better way to make whipped cream. The reason for this (in a nutshell) is because by beating the cream, you are causing air bubbles to get trapped in fat molecules. If you beat the cream at high speed, while the fat molecules (which are somewhat fragile) fill up faster, they also deflate faster. It’s far better to beat the cream at a medium setting