cocoa to die for…or from

Have you ever tasted something so good that you wanted to close your eyes and swim in it?
If not…here’s your opportunity!

I stumbled across a hot chocolate recipe a few weeks ago (thank you, Pinterest) and knew immediately that it was meant for me. First of all, I. Love. Winter. …A lot. Secondly, I also love (and own) the movie Polar Express. Lastly, because I consider myself something of a cocoa connoisseur. I can admit that I love it far more than I should and frankly, I think there is something supremely magic in a great cup of cocoa. Proper hot chocolate should taste like it was ladled out of Willy Wonka’s river, did the tango with a cinnamon stick, and then snuggled down for a long winter’s nap under a fluffy blanket of snowflakes. I warned you…I’m totally hooked.

Anyways… so when I read the following recipe (compliments of Honey & Fitz), I was very excited. Despite my cocoa love affair, I’ve never made it from scratch before. It a great decision. Plus, my sweet friend Annie was over and game for an adventure (she always is). So we gathered our ingrediments (as our choir ladies say) and got to work…short work because it’s just cocoa after all and not very difficult.

The recipe seemed like it would serve a lot so we halved it and decided to use the leftover heavy cream for homemade whipped cream (a first for Annie). It also calls for 30-40 min of stirring time so we altered the directions due to childish impatience time constraints. Here’s my adapted version of Polar Express Hot Cocoa (original here):

In a medium pot, combine the following over medium-low heat:
¾ cups of heavy cream
½ of a 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp each vanilla and cinnamon extracts
3 cups of milk (we used 2%)

In a microwave safe bowl, melt 1 cup each of bittersweet and semisweet chocolate chips by microwaving for 30 seconds and stirring alternately until smooth.

Stir the milk mixture until it gets moderately warm then add in your melted chips. Keep stirring until it reaches your desired cocoa serving temperature. (As I pointed out to Annie, if you add the chocolate straightaway to the cold milk, it will harden back, rendering all your hard-earned microwaving for naught.)

To make the whipped cream (which you should totally do), put a medium bowl and your mixer beaters into the freezer. Once they’re nice and chilly, pour your remaining heavy cream into the bowl (we had about 1 cup of cream leftover and it made plenty), add a tbsp of confectioner’s sugar and tbsp of cinnamon, then beat on medium until peaks form (usually 2-3 minutes). Just don’t overbeat it or it will get clumpy and weird. Once this is done, you can keep it right in the freezer until it’s ready to take a bath in your cocoa (lucky whipped cream).

Once you reach your desired serving temp, carefully pour it in to cute mugs (okay, they don’t have to be cute but it makes Annie’s instagramming fancier), spoon on a ton of your awesome homemade whipped cream, sit down somewhere comfy, and prepare to be amazed. It is super rich and decadent and probably should only be served in smallish cups, but it is awesome. And so is spending time with friends on a quilt desperately in need of patching (more to come on this sad tale later).

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

**Final note: our halved recipe made enough for around 4 good-sized mugs’ worth

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