While you are gathered around the fire opening gifts, playing a board game or catching up with family and friends this Hot Chocolate recipe would be a nice accompaniment. Its warm, rich and full of holiday cheer. You may think that hot chocolate and hot cocoa are the same, but they are slightly different. Hot chocolate is made from real chocolate that is finely cut up and melted, while hot cocoa is flavored with cocoa powder. Depending on the recipe hot chocolate is typically heavier and more filling due to the melted chocolate.
You can see the chopped chocolate melting in the milk.
Two of my friends came over the other night and we made a batch of homemade hot chocolate ourselves. It was so wonderful to make memories with them in the kitchen. We had a blast. Bring some family in the kitchen and have them assist making hot chocolate on Christmas Eve! Maybe even leave some out for Santa ;)
Here's me, Courtney and Jenn making homemade hot chocolate!
Check out the beautifully photographed step-by-step process to making homemade hot chocolate on this blog. The recipe calls for whole milk and heavy cream, but we just used skim milk because we didn’t want it to be too rich. I thought the addition of maple syrup as a natural sweetener was very unique.
Our Homemade Hot Chocolate and biscotti!
It has been a wonderful past 23 days celebrating Christmas and the holiday season on the blog with you all. Thank you for reading along and for inspiring me. This will be my last post as I will be spending time with family the next two days, and I hope you will be too! But if you need any ideas for cooking or baking scan the posts from the past month, send me a Tweet or write on the Facebook wall. I’d love to help with any last-minute needs! :)
Merry Christmas and Happy Baking + Cooking!
Several years ago when I was probably 12 or so, my mom and I made hot cocoa for dessert one night during the Christmas season. She told me about how when she was little she would dunk buttered toast into her hot cocoa. At first it sounded like a crazy idea to me, but after trying it I was surprised by how delicious it really was. Last night when I was craving hot cocoa I remembered that it would not be complete without a piece of buttered toast.
The toast acts like a sponge soaking up the rich, chocolately cocoa. The salty butter on the toast adds a dimension of savory contrast. The combination is perfect. Need I say more?
My mom and I did not use a specific recipe, so last night I found this Hershey’s Hot Cocoa recipe. It is simple and quick to make. With only a few ingredients and a few minutes you can make homemade hot cocoa for yourself. Pop some bread in the toaster and spread some butter on top. The key is to cut your toast at a diagonal so you have the perfect shape for dunking.
The holiday season is a time for traditions, new and old, but it is always important to hold on to the ones that mean the most. Gathering family members for a baking day, enjoying hot cocoa and toast, midnight mass and opening stocking stuffers on Christmas morning are a few that I will always treasure.
It’s always fun exchanging ideas and sharing memories with others, so I’d love to hear what your Christmas traditions are. Let’s talk about memories in the comment section below!
5 days until Christmas!
Yesterday my family and I had our annual baking day. We make our favorite traditional recipes just in time for the Christmas festivities. I blogged about several of these recipes last year, but I want to share them with you again because they are so sweet and so easy. Here are a few photos from the day, some captured by Instagram.
Me wearing the holiday baking apron my Aunt Buffy made for me!
My Aunt Carol’s Almond Bark Mix is the best combination of salty and sweet. The recipe is so simple–mix together the cereal, pretzels, nut and M&M’s and add melted Almond Bark. Lay out to dry and ta-dah! All done.
Pretzel Buttons are just as simple. M&M’s pressed into Hershey’s Hugs melted on top of pretzels. Just a few simple steps for a must-bake recipe.
Haystacks are made of chow mein noodles, chocolate, peanut butter and butterscotch. That’s all! A little touch of holiday sprinkles and you’re set for Christmas.
Remember the Scrabble Mix I blogged about a few days ago? Well here it is! Savory, crunchy, inexpensive and addicting in the best way possible.
My aunt, cousins and I!
One week until Christmas!
My Aunt Patty shared her recipe for these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies a couple years ago and I always look forward to the holidays so I can enjoy them. The pumpkin spice flavors compliment the rich chocolate chips so well. Pair these cookies alongside a cup of coffee or some vanilla ice cream for dessert. Yum!
Patty’s Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 can pumpkin (or 1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups milk chocolate chips
- Measure all dry ingredients (except sugar) into a separate smalls bowls cream butter and sugar together in larger bowl.
- Beat in egg, pumpkin and vanilla to butter and sugar. Blend/add in dry ingredients to wet. Add chips once well blended.
- Drop on lightly greased cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350 degrees, 12-20 minutes depending on cookie size.
- Bottoms should be light brown and cookies soft.
9 days until Christmas!
The combination of sweet and spicy in this Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies recipe is what makes them a perfect 10. They are chewy, but a bit crispy because of the cinnamon-sugar-chile crust. Plus, these cookies are a sinch to make. Dunk them in a cold glass of milk right out of the oven and you will be in paradise. The chile powder might sound odd, but it is subtle, so go for it!
Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies from The Naptime Chef and Martha Stewart.
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ¾ cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon chile powder
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 ½ cups sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down side of bowl. Add eggs and beat to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat until combined.
- In a small bowl, combine remaining ¼ cup sugar, cinnamon, and chile powder (if using). Using heaping tablespoons, form balls of dough and roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place, about 3 inches apart, on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are set in center and begin to crack, about 10 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cookies cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to racks to cool completely.
- Makes about 28 cookies. Store in an airtight container, up to 1 week, or freeze.
10 days until Christmas!