Chef Time!

Chef Time!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Baby It's Cold Outside!

When Old Man Winter flexes his muscles and it gets cold outside, nothing beats a nice cup of hot chocolate.
So to get warm and toasty, grab a cup and start making some hot chocolate by using one of these delicious recipes.

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate

Just when I thought I had made everything with red velvet that was under the sun, I thought of another fun way and it is sooo sinfully delicious too. In fact, drinking this is like having a whole cake in one cup.

Red velvet cake is a classic dessert. However, sometimes a classic needs a little change. When it's cold outside, this hot chocolate recipe will warm you up and keep that fun red velvet look!
Red velvet cake is synonymous with delicious. It's a classic Southern treat that has hit it big in bakeries all across the nation. However, don't be scared to think outside the box when you want this sweet treat.

A fun way to switch things up is by taking the idea of this traditional cake and turning it into a delicious hot chocolate recipe. Its bright color and delicious chocolate taste will tickle both children and adults with delight. Plus, it's a few less calories than devouring a whole cake.

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1/2 teaspoon red gel no taste food coloring
Whipping cream
Vanilla sugar (see Chef’s Note below)

Vanilla sugar whipped cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar ( see Chef’s Note below)

For whipped cream: Add heavy cream and vanilla sugar to a cold metal bowl. Either whip by hand with whisk or with hand-held mixer until soft peaks form.
For hot chocolate: In a small pan, combine milk, chocolate morsels and food coloring. Gently simmer until hot and all the chocolate is melted. I like to use a small whisk to make sure everything is incorporated. Top with freshly whipped cream.

Chef’s Note: To make Vanilla Sugar without having to use Vanilla Beans (Which are rare and expensive in Grocery Stores) just use Vanilla Extract and Sugar in a ratio of one teaspoon of Vanilla Extract to every two cups of regular granulated sugar. Then spread the well mixed vanilla sugar on a baking pan lined with wax paper to dry.

Traditional Hot Chocolate 

This is the only one of the group here that includes chocolate pieces, which creates a beverage with more fat. That said, this recipe will yield a beautiful cup of hot chocolate that will still be better for you than a chemical and preservative laden cup made from an instant mix.   

1 c. milk 
1/2 vanilla bean, split 
3 oz. dark chocolate, cut into small pieces  

If using unsweetened chocolate you may want to add a sweetener to taste- honey, agave syrup, stevia, and natural sugar cane are healthier options. Heat milk to scalding in a medium saucepan, add vanilla, and let steep with the heat off for 10 minutes. Strain and return milk to saucepan to reheat milk. (You can use 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract instead and skip the steeping process.) Whisk in chocolate until melted and frothy. Serve.

Maple Cocoa 

Maple syrup is one of a wholesome-cooking cook’s best-kept weapons in avoiding refined sugar. It not only adds a punch of sweetness, but that special almost-smoky maple taste adds incredible depth to baked goods and sweets that are hearty in flavor (meaning, great with chocolate and nutty things, not so good for angel food cake). This one is nice with the neutral flavors of regular dairy, but you can use any alternative milk you’d like as well.
1 c. milk 
2 tbsp. cocoa 
1 tbsp. maple syrup 
1 tsp. vanilla extract 
Pinch of salt   

Combine ingredients in a medium pot and warm on medium-low heat, whisking until frothy and hot.  

Mexican Hot Cocoa 

Hot cocoa in Mexico and other southern realms retains the heat, which is very clever since chocolate and spice go together as well any pair of flavors possibly could.   

1 c. soy milk (or regular milk) 
1 tbsp. Sucanat (see Chef's note) 
2 tbsp. cocoa powder 
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract  
Pinch of salt 
Pinch of cinnamon 
Pinch (or more, go crazy!) of cayenne   

Combine ingredients in a medium pot and warm on medium-low heat, whisking until frothy and hot.    
Chef's note: Sucanat is the trade name for “Sugar Cane Natural,” a non-refined cane sugar that is made by crushing sugar cane, extracting the juice then heating and drying it. It’s a more wholesome sweetener than refined sugar – but if you don’t have it, agave syrup, stevia, or regular sugar can be used instead.  

Ancient Mayan Hot Chocolate

Indigenous Maya people still drink the following ancient hot chocolate recipe. In ancient times, Maya never mixed the cacao bean paste with milk, instead they used hot water; it was the Spaniards in Colonial times that began to add milk, cream, and sugar to the cacao paste to create a soft creamy taste similar to current hot cocoa.
Chocolate lovers will find a truly rich, deep, bittersweet chocolate flavor with a pinch of soft chili pepper touch enhancing the deep aroma of this pure and authentic traditional hot chocolate. Remember, the quality of the Kakaw or cacao paste, you use, makes all of the difference when it comes to nutrition value, aroma and flavor. Pure organic cacao butter is filled with antioxidants and mood smoothing polyphenols that aid a healthy body. If you find Maya hot chocolate a bit too strong and unfamiliar, just exchange the traditional use of water for milk, but then you will have altered that which makes a hot chocolate an authentic hot Maya drink. Great to revitalize the senses and energize your mind!  

3 c. boiling water
1 to 2 cinnamon sticks
8 oz. bittersweet Maya Kakaw or Xocoalt (chocolate paste) or 3 tablets Mexican unsweetened chocolate, cut into small pieces
2 tbsp. pure honey
Pinch of dried red chili (This is what makes the difference so try it!)
1 dried organic grown vanilla bean, split lengthwise  

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add the cinnamon sticks to boiling water. Cook until liquid is reduced to 2 ½ cups. Remove cinnamon sticks; add the vanilla bean and lower the heat a bit, wait until bubbles appear around the edge to reduce heat to low and drop the chocolate pieces and wild pure honey, mix well and whisk occasionally until chocolate is melted. Turn off heat, remove vanilla bean. Whisk vigorously to create a light foam effect, sprinkle the dried chili pepper and serve.
If chocolate is too rich and you prefer to thin it, do so with a little milk to smooth its taste, but remember doing so will change the chocolate from Maya to a European style hot chocolate!  

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