Well it happened again. The dreaded phone call calling off school for the day causing squeals of delight and despair from children and parents everywhere, respectively. It’s not that I don’t LOVE to have days home with my kids. Building snow forts, playing boggle and lounging in front of the fire with a warm mug of tea are dreamy kind of days. However the frequency of these dreamy days (paired with the delays) this year alone are enough to challenge the most efficient of multi-taskers. When you run a business AND a family sometimes somethings gotta give. Or does it? Maybe it just calls for classy creativity. Well, I’m still working on that one. For today, I did figure that with the internet and call forwarding I could work AND perfect a fool-proof cocoa recipe to warm my pink cheeked, snow tunneling, snowbunnies.
Homemade cocoa is easy, healthy, delicious and brings on lots of smiles. With 4 basic ingredients it’s likely that you have everything on hand already. Have you ever looked at the ingredients on the back of the instant cocoa envelope? When I see multiple words with more than 5-6 letters and catch phrases like “artificial flavors” it’s a pretty good clue that there’s a whole lot of nothing good for you in there. Real foods are whole foods that are recognizable and don’t need added stabilizers, emulsifiers, thickeners or fortifiers OR a dicitionary to figure out. In this basic cocoa recipe we use unsweetened cocoa, maple syrup (from this neck of the woods), milk or dairy alternative and spice. Ahhh, the spice part, flavors for my heart. For the kids, I keep it fairly simple with adding in just a touch of saigon cinnamon. For me and my hubbie, however, we spice it up Cocoa Mexicano style. I add in saigon cinnamon, ancho chile powder and a pinch of cayenne. The saigon adds a sweet fieriness while the ancho brings a smoky boldness and the cayenne gives just the right kick of heat to really warm you long after the cup is empty. Hmmmm….now for the homemade marshmallows? I’m certain they’ll be another snow day for that one!
Basic Cocoa Recipe for one mug:
*Pour milk into mug to measure the amount needed and then transfer to a pot on the stove on low to warm just slightly. Whisking it adds a bubbly airiness to the milk which is fun. Do not boil!
*Add 1 ½ TBSP unsweetened cocoa directly into mug along with ½ tsp. Of cinnamon. Directly into your dry ingredients add 1 TBSP of maple syrup to mug.
*Using a spoon, stir the cocoa and cinnamon with the syrup until it is well mixed and looks like cake batter.
*Add warmed milk directly to mug and stir well.
*Garnish with cinnamon stick, whipped cream or marshmallows.
*Serve to your chilled little snow bunnies.
Cocoa Mexicano Style:
*To your cocoa in the mug add in 1/4tsp. Saigon cinnamon, 1/8tsp Ancho Chile powder and a tiny pinch of cayenne. Always spice to your liking!
This article was written for my column, The Spice Cupboard, in the Monadnock Ledger Transcript and published on February 17, 2015. http://www.ledgertranscript.com/