Chef Time!

Chef Time!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Tis The Season For Hot Chocolate!

Christmas and Hot Chocolate goes hand in hand, they both warms you up inside and makes you cheerful and happy. So I thought I would share my recipes of different Hot Chocolate recipes that I have made over the years. So from my kitchen to yours, have a very Merry Christmas. May it be filled with lots of love and good eats.

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.

Raspberry White Hot Chocolate
This warm, comforting drink is made with real raspberry puree and white chocolate. It's beautiful, delicious, and tastes like melted berries and cream ice cream! This is also my fiance's favorite!

12 oz. raspberries, fresh or defrosted from frozen
2 tbsp. sugar
2 c. milk
6 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch salt
2 tbsp. Milk
1 tbsp. Cornstarch

Sprinkle the sugar on the raspberries and toss to combine. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, until they start to soften and release their juices. Blend the raspberries in a blender. You should be left with about ¾ cup of puree. If you have more, save it for another use.
 Add milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer—you want bubbles to appear along the sides of the pan’s edges, but don’t bring it to a full boil. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped white chocolate. Whisk until the chocolate is melted, then add the berry puree, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix 2 tablespoons of milk and cornstarch together and add to the chocolate mixture. Stir until mixture is thickened.
Serve immediately with whipped cream and fresh berries on top. It can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for up to a week. Reheat it in the microwave or on the stove top.
For the best taste and texture, do not substitute white chips for the chopped white chocolate bar. Chips are usually made with palm oil instead of cocoa butter, and they tend to be hard to melt. If you find chips made with cocoa butter, those are a fine substitute, otherwise, look for white chocolate bars. This makes a thick drink, and if you prefer a thinner one, add more milk until you get a texture you like.

Gingerbread Hot Chocolate

Are you in the Christmas spirit yet?  If not, this will do the trick. Gingerbread Hot Cocoa is like drinking a chocolate gingerbread cookie! It’s Christmas in a cup if I ever saw one.
You know every year by the time Christmas is over I am REALLY Christmased out…like, don’t even TRY to bring me a cup of Christmas on the night of the 26th, I have already started to think about what salad creations I am going to make because I have had a little TOO much comfort, a little TOO much Christmas. But that time hasn’t come yet- boy, I am going gung-ho with the red and green, the elves, the peppermint…send it ALL my way. And bring me as many cups of Christmas right now as you want.

4 c. milk
½ c. cocoa powder
¼ c. brown sugar
¼ c. white sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. vanilla 
¼ tsp. sea salt
whipped cream for topping

In a medium saucepan over low heat, heat milk. While warming the milk, combine the cocoa powered, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, allspice and ginger in a small bowl. Whisk into the milk until hot. Serve with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Cheesecake Hot Chocolate
This white hot chocolate from scratch tastes just like cheesecake in a cup without having to wait for a whole cheesecake to bake. Cheesecake craving satisfied in 15 minutes? Done.
Ah, the day before Christmas Eve (Christmas Eve Eve?) Today pretty much marks my finish line for Christmas baking. I’m not sure why I do this every year. I cram all the Christmas things into one month and ended up posting four times a week the past two weeks because I have so many Christmas recipes to share (my average is 2-3 times a week). I have so many ideas that I even wrote up a list for next year (I’m also known to plan ridiculously ahead). I wanted my last post before Christmas to be a super easy holiday drink, and what better drink defines me best than Cheesecake Hot Chocolate? I’m not even sure where this idea came from. Of course I love cheesecake oh so very much, but who thinks of drinking it? Maybe I had a dream about it as I dream about recipes all the time. If you ever ask me at any given moment what I’m thinking about, 99.99459394 percent of the time, it’s food. 51.809843 percent of the time, it’s cheesecake. What’s best about this recipe is you can satisfy your cheesecake craving now rather than wait for a whole cheesecake to bake and cool. Whether you’re looking for a new hot chocolate recipe to try or you just simply love cheesecake as much as I do, Cheesecake Hot Chocolate is the way to go when the weather outside is frightful (sorry, I had to).
I love hot chocolate. It’s what I drink in the winter evenings when it’s too late to drink coffee or when I want something sweet but ran out of cookies and don’t feel like baking. I used white chocolate so the drink would actually look like cheesecake in a cup. I’m sure it would taste just as good with semisweet or even dark chocolate (dark chocolate is my favorite), but I do like my white chocolate version.
There is one very important step to making this cheesecake hot chocolate successful the cream cheese needs to be at room temperature, or even slightly softer (without risking food safety, of course). I’d even recommend microwaving it slightly (without the foil wrapper!) if you’re in a hurry. You see, when your cream cheese is cold, even slightly chilled, it becomes lumpy. You can sorta get away with that if you’re baking a cheesecake, but you do not want lumpy hot chocolate. Trust me. If you ignore my warning and do end up with lumps, you can use a blender to help save it. I also find that Philadelphia cream cheese melts a little more smoother than a few other brands. Just a small warning the drink does thicken as it cools down. Just heat it back up in the microwave or add some more milk.

Cheesecake Hot Chocolate
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces white chocolate, chopped
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature* and cut into 16 pieces
Graham cracker crumbs and whipped cream, for garnish

In a medium saucepan, warm up the milk over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Turn the heat down to low then whisk in the vanilla cream cheese until melted. Whisk in the white chocolate until melted and smooth. Serve immediately** with whipped cream and graham cracker crumbs on top, if desired.

Notes; *The cream cheese needs to be at room temperature or even slightly softer (without risking food safety). Otherwise, the hot chocolate mixture may become lumpy. If it does become lumpy, you can use the blender to help smooth it.
**The drink does thicken as it cools down. Just heat it back up in the microwave.

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