It’s been cold outside here in the Midwest! The temperatures and wintry weather may be keeping us cooped up indoors, but there’s no better reason to curl up in front of the fire or snuggle on the couch watching a movie marathon. I’m guilty of Netflix binging this weekend. I’m all caught up on The Crown and ready for season two. Staying inside is even better with a cup of cocoa. I have to admit I have not always been a fan of hot cocoa. Even as a kid I couldn’t stand the stuff. It probably had to do with the powdery cocoa chunks and freeze dried marshmallows swirling in my lukewarm cup of 2% milk.
Today I made a hot chocolate bar for my kids and made real – no messing around, it doesn’t get any better than this – hot chocolate. This drink, and by drink I mean it’s in a cup but you’ll need a spoon, is made with real chocolate, cream and sugar. It’s hot chocolate, not hot cocoa. There’s a difference!
The fun part is putting out all the toppings to choose from. The options list is long. The big hits with my gang were the snowflake shaped marshmallows, shortbread cookies and peppermint sticks. Andes creme de menthe chips and caramel sauce with flaked sea salt were also big hits. You can buy marshmallows big or small but if you have the time, homemade marshmallows are delicious and can be cut into any shape you want. HERE is my favorite tutorial and recipe for them.
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream or half and half
- 6 ounces 60% cocoa chocolate, chopped
- 4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 2 Tbs butter
- 1-2 Tbs corn starch
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat.
- Whisk in cornstarch until combined and melty. If you want the hot chocolate thicker, use the maximum amount of cornstarch.
- Add in milk and sugar. Increase the heat gradually to medium-high. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Mixture will start to thicken.
- Once the mixture begins to thicken, turn the heat down to low and add in the chocolate chips. Stir constantly until well melted.
- Serve hot.
If you don’t want to go the full distance with hot chocolate and cocoa is just fine in your book CLICK HERE for a few (14 to be exact) creative ways to mix it up with different flavors courtesy of Shari’s Berries. Whatever recipe you choose, be sure to keep keep any leftovers because hot chocolate is also amazing, if not better, cold. Enjoy!
Photographer Sally Roeckell specializes in contemporary lifestyle portraiture with an emphasis on food photography. She regularly shops at Heinen’s for the family dishes she features via Table and Dish on Instagram and on her website at TableAndDish.com.
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Heinen’s Grocery is located at 500 N. Hough Street, between E. Main Street and Route 14 (next to Meatheads) in Barrington, Illinois. They’re open 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit Heinens.com.