Hot Chocolate Spices up Wintry Day

Another blustery wintery day in southwestern Ontario!

A perfect afternoon to stay indoors, curled up with a book and a steaming mug of spiced hot chocolate. To complement the beverage choice, and in honour of this sweet month of February, I picked out JoAnna Carl’s chocoholic mystery, The Chocolate Cat Caper, from my library of culinary mysteries.

Spiced Hot Chocolate with Chocolate Rim Trim

Before filling my mug with hot chocolate, I dipped the rim in a mixture of cocoa powder, sugar and ground cinnamon. Hardly essential, but it made for a pretty presentation – and an extra bit of spice and sweetness with every sip!

Spiced Hot Chocolate
(Makes about 4 cups/1 L)

3 oz (90 g) semisweet chocolate
3 tablespoons (45 mL) water
2 teaspoons (10 mL) sugar
3/4 teaspoon (4 mL) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) ground allspice or nutmeg
Pinch salt
4 cups (1 L) milk

In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate, water, sugar, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Place saucepan over low heat and stir until chocolate is melted and ingredients are blended together. Remove from heat. Add milk. Return to stove. Over medium heat, stir frequently until milk is not, but not boiling. Remove from heat. Whisk until frothy or use a frother to froth. Pour into mugs and serve.

Optional: To decorate mug rims, combine about 2 tablespoons each (about 30 mL) sugar and cocoa powder with about 1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground cinnamon; stir to blend. Pour mixture into a plate; give plate a shake to spread mixture out evenly, about 1/4 inch (5 mm) thick. Dip rims of mugs in water, then into the cocoa powder/sugar mixture. Fill mugs with hot chocolate and serve.

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