Sunday, February 12, 2006

Hot Cocoa

The kids came running in yesterday after playing in the almost-melted snow soaked to the bone. There were two boys aged 11 and 12 and then two little tag alongs probably about 5. I'm so used to having boys around, it's always such a joy to see the cute little cherub faces of little girls. They are so sweet and full of smiles. Of course, I was prepared for this moment. Since I was brought up in DC, it comes naturally to run to the grocers and "stock up" on the staples after the first words "snow in the forecast" are spoken. So, I had stocked up on the several gallons of milk knowing I would be making hot cocoa and because the teenager drinks it like it's going out of style.

I make my hot chocolate with the addition of some Mexican chocolate Ibarra. Williams Sonoma used to sell it, but I didn't see it on their website this time. Perhaps the stores still carry it. It lasts forever since you really don't need a whole lot and a box comes with about 5 or 6 "cakes." I always warm the milk first in a saucepan and add chocolate syrup (I grew up on Hershey's; therefore, I use Hershey's). I then use a cake of Ibarra and grate as much as I like into the pot. It has sugar, cinnamon and almonds (I think) in it, so I just grate until it tastes good. I, of course, always add a dribble of vanilla extract to top it off. Now, if you were in Mexico, you would use a "molinillo," a beautiful piece of woodwork that acts like a whisk. I use the good old-fashioned metal whisk to get the milk nice and frothy. Unfortunately, this cocoa didn't stay too frothy because I used 2% milk. If you use whole milk and a little cream, oh boy, talk about froth.

I had bought some of those fancy schmancy marshmallows at Williams Sonoma before Thanksgiving for Bubba Jim and family. I never even opened them. So, I thought I better pull them out and use them before they weren't any good. The marshmallows are HUGE and square, so I cut them up into eighths. I used little mugs for little people, so little marshmallows were in order. Well, after having a cup myself, I have to say that I wasn't too impressed with these really expensive marshmallows. Even the chocolate ones, which I thought would be delish, were a let down. From now on, I'm sticking to the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man! The tiny ones are the best.

Of course, the kids didn't mind. The huge square marshmallows were a bigger treat than the hot cocoa. Oh well. You know kids--you never know kids.....grin.

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