Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ultimate Peppermint Hot Chocolate

We were given a very large bag of leftover peppermints after a family reunion I helped organize. Besides eating them and sharing them, I have looked for ways to use them. The Everyday Cheapskate, Mary Hunt, has the same problem and in addition to decorating with them (not an option for me where its humid), shared some recipes. This hot chocolate recipe sounded divine so my husband and I decided to indulge after putting the kids to bed. ;)

The hot chocolate mixture is super rich and dark chocolate-y. I think we would prefer it with more mint and a bit more sugar itself, and less dependent on the sweet whipped cream mixture you add as a topping.  But it is fun, and delicious, and RICH. Not something you can drink a huge amount of in one sitting. (or maybe I'm getting old and can't indulge like I used to be able to? Gasp!)

I think in the future we will probably make the whipped cream topping with crushed peppermints but use a different hot cocoa recipe (Alton Brown's is one of our favorites) and add more peppermint extract.

The recipe is originally posted here.

Ultimate Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Whipped Cream:
1 cup (8 ounces) heavy cream, chilled
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 tablespoons crushed peppermint candy

Hot Chocolate:
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, grated
1 quart (32 ounces) whole milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Place the cream, powdered sugar and peppermint extract in a chilled mixing bowl, and beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the crushed candy. Refrigerate the whipped cream.

Place the chocolate in a large metal mixing bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally with a rubber spatula.

In the meantime, pour the milk into a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan. Whisk in the sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk begins to simmer and bubbles form around the edge. Turn off the heat.

Once the chocolate has melted, reduce the heat so the water under the pan barely simmers. Pour 1/3 cup of boiling water into the melted chocolate, and whisk or beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Slowly add the hot milk mixture as you whisk. When the ingredients are well incorporated, remove the bowl from the pan of simmering water and stir in the vanilla and peppermint extracts.

To serve, ladle the hot chocolate into mugs, and top with a generous dollop of peppermint whipped cream. Garnish with more crushed peppermint candy. Serves 4.

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