Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hot Chocolate Weather

The Crafty Cupboard

I am in love with McDonald's Hot Chocolate. It is so  hot and creamy and sweet. They add whipped cream and fudge sauce to it. A small nonfat serving with whipped cream has about 250 calories. The problem is, I've had a large one for the last two days. The large hot chocolate with skim milk has 460 calories so with whipped cream and fudge sauce, I'm probably looking at a 600 calorie drink. All the good foods have too many calories in them!  I wonder how many calories are in an eggnog shake? I'm not sure I want to know until I've had one because that will surely ruin it for me!

We had our first snow yesterday. It was only flurries but was very pretty. I love the first snow - hate it the rest of the winter. Snow puts me in the mood for hot chocolate.

Hot drinks are very soothing on these cold, dark and dreary days of pre-winter. They truly warm you from the inside out. Hot chocolate, coffee, tea, cider, hot buttered rum - any of these can make you feel toasty warm.

It's quick and easy to make a cup of hot cocoa by dropping a package of hot cocoa mix into a cup and adding some hot water. However, with a little time and effort, you can make a truly rich and delicious cup of cocoa using a few basic ingredients.

Hershey's  Easy Microwave Hot Cocoa
2 tbsp. sugar
2-3 tsp. Hershey's cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. vanilla
dash of salt
1 cup milk
Mix cocoa, salt, and sugar in a large mug.
Heat milk in microwave oven for 1 - 1/2 minutes or until hot.
Gradually add milk to cocoa mixture in mug stirring until well blended.
Stir in vanilla.
Variations: Use  up to 2 tablespoon of cocoa for a richer chocolate. Substitute artificial sweetener and nonfat milk to cut calories.

All has a variety of hot chocolate recipes and also some recipes of hot chocolate mixes you can make and give as gifts.

Here are some hot chocolate making tips:

 1. Using whole milk or cream will make a creamier drink but you will need to stir it more often as it cooks to keep from scorching.

2. Whisk until foamy to make a more creamier and tasty drink.

3. Garnish with marshmallows, whipped cream, cinnamon, coconut, hot fudge sauce, caramel sauce, sprinkles, or chocolate candies.

4. Experiment with different flavors. Try dark chocolate, white chocolate, milk chocolate powders or chips. Try adding different amounts or combinations of milk and cream. Add liqueurs such as Kahlua, Grand Marnier, peppermint schnaps, amaretto, rum cream, and Baileys. Add other ingredients such as a tsp. of peanut butter or a tsp of brown sugar.

There are a large variety of hot cocoa mixes that can be bought in grocery stores. You can jazz them up by using hot milk instead of water and by adding a dash of vanilla and any of the garnishes and additions listed above.

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