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As I sit here on this very, very chilly Friday afternoon, the world around me crumbles to pieces.
It is quiet and peaceful here at my desk. My latte is steaming, my dishwasher gently humming, and my lamp casts a dim, warmish glow across my workspace. The coziness is all mine, for the rest of my charming and characteristically quiet city runs about like fretful squirrels axniously preparing for winter.
Snow has covered this city faithfully for the past several years, but that does not alter the inevitable panic that arises when you tell a state of very content southern-wanna-bes that they must now tuck away their golf clubs and pick up their snow shovels.
My father has always been somewhat of a daredevil in the eyes of this city, venturing out through the perilous blizzards (about 4 inches of snowfall), to pick up more mittens and canister after canister of cocoa mix.
You see, we do not drive in snow. If it is on the road, we are not. That is just how it is in this fair city and we like it that way.
I myself am not ambitious to learn the tricks of my father's daring trade, but am more than happy to be a passenger. Especially if there are sledding hills and warm drinks on the other side.
This year, however, I am more than content to stay in the warmth of Norwyk Manor (our humble apartment's not-so-humble title), and enjoy the wintery world in all of its snow-covered glory.
My pantry is stocked with cookie supplies - an obligatory endeavor on snow days - and the refrigerator loaded with whipped cream for the most necessary of snow day treats.
Even in its simplest form it remains a masterpiece.
This year, however, I have ignored classicism and taken my chocolate down alternative paths of warm, chocolatey delight.
So, when the snow warnings arrived this morning, I knew exactly what needed to be done.
As a child, I claimed to hate peanut butter and chocolate. Thank goodness I woke up from that nightmare and entered into the land of all that is wonderful.
Creamy peanut butter is whisked into steaming milk that has been scented with nutmeg.
Chopped milk chocolate is tossed into the fragrant pot and finished with vanilla extract.
Of course, cocoa would not be cocoa without whipped cream, and a marshmallow or two wouldn't go amiss.
It can snow until I run out of chocolate, but then I might need to call in a ride from Dad.
May your weekend be cozy, and your cocoa rich.
Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa
- 1 quart whole milk
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 8.5 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- whipped cream, optional, but not really optional at all
In a 3-quart saucepan, combine milk and sugar. Place over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is steaming.
Remove from heat and whisk in nutmeg and peanut butter. If the peanut butter does not appear to be melting, return the pot to the burner and stir over low heat until smooth.
Stir in chopped chocolate and vanilla extract.
Serve immediately with whipped cream (1 cup cream whipped with 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar). Enjoy!