Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!  I realize that it is an incredibly commercial holiday, but it's so much fun.  I went into Wegman's yesterday and it seemed Cupid became store manager over the weekend.  Roses were everywhere, of all shades of pink, orange, red, and yellow.  Bunches of balloons tied with ribbons hovered at the ends of every aisle.  Oh, and of course, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!

Right now, Valentine's Day doesn't have too much meaning at our house.  Max was born this day four years ago, so we're in birthday mode.  We'll probably be feasting on a gourmet meal of McDonald's, Max's favorite, and having an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins.  Maybe, after the kids are asleep, Ed and I will try and watch at least part of a movie together before I drift off.

However you are spending the day, with a singular special someone, with friends, or just hanging out on your own, I hope you stay warm.  Winter seems to be making sure that we don't write it off quite yet.  Here, it threw a small tantrum over the weekend, but I see it's been more stubborn elsewhere.  Make up your own hot cocoa mix to have on hand when the cold is getting to you, or when you just need a rush of endorphins.

Drinking Chocolate adapted from Making Artisan Chocolates by Andrew Garrison Shotts

Apparently, his staff calls this a "liquid brownie."  The moniker is apt.

To make the powder:

8 1/4 oz of bittersweet chocolate, chopped.  (He specifies 64% cocoa.  I typically use  a combination of Ghirardelli 60% and 70%)
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk
1 cup sweet ground chocolate

Combine the chopped chocolate with the dry milk in a food processor.  Pulse until the chocolate is ground into small granules.  Be careful that the chocolate doesn't start to melt from the heat of the processor blade.  If it looks like it is starting to melt, take a break and come back to it in a few minutes.  Once the chocolate and milk are mixed in a fine powder, add the sweet ground chocolate powder.  Pulse until completely combined, and then store in an airtight container.  The chocolate powder should keep in a cool place for six months.

To make the hot drinking chocolate:

Add 3 heaping tablespoons of the chocolate powder to 8 oz of whole milk in a small, heavy saucepan. (I suppose you could use 2%, but it just won't be the same.)  Whisking constantly, heat over medium heat until all powder has dissolved and mixture reaches a rapid boil.  Immediately remove from heat and serve.

Shotts also suggests an adapting this for a chocolate martini.  You simply allow the hot chocolate to cool down in the refrigerator, add some Kahlua and vodka and shake it over ice.  Yes, please!  

1 comment:

  1. It's snowing here too, brr. Great day for a hot drink..with a little bourbon. The monasteries in Greece did it best on cold days...here-have a shot of ouzo little kid on tour bus. LOL Happy Birthday little nephew! Wish we were there.