We have officially entered the bright, bustling world of December. It’s filled with gift guides, Christmas cards, and post office lines, and though it’s a wonderful world to live in, it can be a bit overwhelming.
It is important to take some moments for yourself and enjoy the lovely luminance of the Christmas tree that you have so diligently adorned. Relax, breathe, wrap a few gifts if you like, and sip on a cup of chocolate.
Once upon a time, before Howard Shultz and flavored lattes, men would sit around large, sturdy tables, sipping on mugs of chocolate.
It was not the chocolate-flavored powder sprinkled with tiny marshmallows that we know today. It was a smooth, rich, drinkable chocolate spiked with warm cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne.
(Yes, cayenne. Yes, it’s amazing.)
Fast forward to modern day and our passionate forefathers would likely be very disappointed with what America has done to the humble cup of chocolate.
Hot chocolate is such a treat and yet it is often so disappointing. I want my hot chocolate to be rich, a dessert in and of itself - not a thin, chocolate flavored water concoction.
So we look to colonial ingenuity to find the perfect cup of cocoa. The first and most important element is, of course, the chocolate. Seventy percent dark, to be precise. Rich whole milk, a little bit of sugar, and a few spices to add warmth and kick.
This hot chocolate is best served with large spoonfuls of whipped cream and good company.
I hope you will take some time to sit down by your Christmas tree with your sweetheart to enjoy a cup of American heritage.
(Yes, this cup of American heritage was completely copied from the Aztecs, but does it really matter? I think not.)
Let’s grab a hold of this December and appreciate every, wonderful, stressful moment.
Colonial Spiced Hot Chocolate
makes 4 small servings or 2 large
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4.5 ounces dark chocolate (70%), roughly chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- pinch of ground cayenne*
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat heavy cream on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Reserve for later use.
Pour milk into a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Heat until the milk is steaming and then add the sugar; stir until dissolved.
Add chopped chocolate to hot milk mixture and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is fully melted. Add spices and cook for an additional 2 minutes and remove from heat.
Pour into mugs or teacups, whatever fits your style, and top with whipped cream. Enjoy!
* The amount of cayenne is up to you. I like my chocolate on the spicier side, but I would definitely recommend adding it slowly and tasting as you go until you get it to where you want it. Too much cayenne can be a painful thing...