While the Florida panhandle isn’t exactly known for harsh winters, we catch a chill every now and then. And when we do, I embrace it wholeheartedly. This weekend, I’m excited to say we’re expecting low temps in the thirties, just in time for Christmas! A blazing fire will be in order, furry slippers, a cat on my lap and this spiced hot chocolate.
For the hot chocolate:
3 1/2 cups whole milk
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 cinnamon stick
4 oz. milk chocolate
4 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 oz. bourbon (optional)
For the whipped cream, if using:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
One heaping teaspoon confectioners’ sugar
About 1/8 of a teaspoon ground cinnamon
To make the hot chocolate, in a medium pan, heat 1 cup of the milk with 3 tablespoons cocoa powder over medium-low heat. Whisk until no lumps remain.
Add the cinnamon stick and remaining 2 1/2 cups of milk and bring to a simmer. Roughly chop the chocolate and add to the warm milk mixture, along with the sugar. Stir gently until the chocolate melts completely and the mixture is just below a boil.
If using bourbon, pour the desired amount into a mug and ladle in hot chocolate. Top with whipped cream if desired (recipe below).
To make the whipped cream, pour the cream into a clean, medium-sized bowl. Then, using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the cream on high speed until the cream begins to thicken. When you see ripples start to form, stop the mixer and add confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon. Continue to beat on high speed until medium peaks form. Do not overwhip.
Note: It's unlikely, but if you end up with any leftover whipped cream, don’t let it go to waste! Save it in the refrigerator and dollop your coffee the next morning.