Remaking a winter classic

Remaking a winter classic

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Remaking a winter classic

Favorite hot chocolate recipes

By Kristin Smith

Winter is the season of snow, ice, crisp days and frozen fingers – the season when a hot drink suddenly becomes a life saver. What better drink to cure what ails you than that timeless classic, hot chocolate?

But sometimes you long for a little variety. Cocoa, but with a twist. These five recipes give hot chocolate a hint of the unusual.

Chai Hot Chocolate:

One serving’s worth of hot chocolate mix (I use the Swiss Miss Dark Chocolate Sensations cocoa packets)
One chai tea bag

My personal favorite, which I learned from an Outward Bound instructor. Perfect for mountain mornings (or the morning commute). Pour boiling water into the mug of your choice and stir in chocolate. Make sure it is well stirred (no chocolate heaps in the bottom). Add the chai tea bag immediately after. Steep for at least seven minutes, or the longest recommended time for your tea brand. You want to be able to taste the chai through the chocolate. After the tea has steeped, remove the tea bag.

Raspberry Hot Chocolate:

One serving hot chocolate mix
1 teaspoon seedless raspberry jam

Prepare a cup of hot chocolate as you normally would. After the chocolate is ready, stir the raspberry jam into the hot chocolate. (Modified from a recipe on kellishouse.blogspot.com)

Gianduja:

One serving hot chocolate mix
2 teaspoons hazelnut butter

This flavor is named after the Italian chocolate and hazelnut paste invented in the late eighteenth century, which was named after a Carnival character representing the Italian region of Piedmont (where hazelnut is commonly used in confections). After making a mug of hot chocolate, stir in two teaspoons of hazelnut butter. Make sure it is thoroughly mixed. Enjoy.

Spicy Hot Chocolate:

One serving hot chocolate mix
Hot pepper of your choice

For the more daring palates out there, try hot chocolate as served by its original inventors– the ancient Maya. Slice a thin ring of pepper without any seeds. Drop it into the chocolate and stir, then discard the pepper. Sip carefully.

Liquid Caffeine:

One serving hot chocolate mix
Coffee

For all the coffee drinkers in our highly caffeinated corner of the world who just aren’t satisfied with chocolate’s meager boost, here is your winter elixir. Make hot chocolate, leaving some room in the mug. Add as much freshly brewed coffee of whatever type as your heart desires – from a tablespoon of espresso to instant coffee powder. Chug, then fly through the morning with plenty of caffeine in your veins.

I use instant hot chocolate mix, but homemade cocoa would work just as well (or possibly better). Go ahead and experiment! Give your chocolate, and your winter, just a dash of different. You never know where it will take you. x