This luscious, rich hot cocoa gets its kick from added spices, and also from a little added liquor at the end if you want. This recipe makes enough cocoa for a crowd so it’s perfect for a large gathering on a cold, rainy winter day over the holidays. Make it ahead of time and keep it warm over the low setting in a crock pot and let guests serve themselves. Santa would also very much appreciate you leaving a cup out for him on Christmas night!
2 12-oz bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (you can add more to taste if you like yours sweeter)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
8 cups milk
8 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1 tablespoon whole cardamom pods
1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
4 eggs, beaten
splash vanilla vodka, spiced rum, coffee liqueur, bourbon or other liquor of your choice (optional)
whipped cream for garnish
You can find everything you need to make this crowd-pleasing cocoa at your local Safeway, Cosentino’s or Trader Joe’s markets.
- In a double boiler of a heat-proof bowl set over a sauce pan of simmering water (note: do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water), heat the chocolate chips, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, chili powder and cayenne. Stir constantly just until chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside.
- In a separate large saucepan, heat the milk, cream, whole cloves, peppercorns, cardamom pods, ginger and split vanilla beans over low heat just until the milk begins to bubble but do not let it boil. Remove from heat and pour through a fine strainer. Discard the whole spices.
- Whisk the melted chocolate mixture into the hot milk mixture.
- Briskly whisk a couple of tablespoons of the hot chocolate/milk mixture into the beaten eggs to “temper” the eggs (so the eggs do not scramble). Briskly whisk a couple more tablespoons of the hot chocolate/milk mixture into the eggs. Then slowly add the beaten egg mixture into the remaining hot chocolate/milk mixture, whisking constantly to blend completely.
- Place the saucepan back on the stove over low heat for a few minutes, whisking constantly, to heat again before serving.
- To serve spiked, pour a splash of your favorite alcohol into a mug or cup then fill the rest of the mug with the hot cocoa. Top with a dollop of whipped cream if desired. To serve un-spiked, simply leave out the alcohol.
For other warm-you-up cocoas, try:
- Coconut Almond Cocoa
- Dark Chocolate Chili Cocoa
And because Santa wants cookies with his cocoa:
- Brown Sugar Pecan Shortbread
- Cappuccino Cookies
- Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Scones
- Espresso Hazelnut Shortbread
- Maple Toffee Pecan Sandies
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- S’mores Cookies
- San Jose Food Examiner’s Sweet Potato Brown Sugar Pound Cake
- Winona Cooking Examiner’s Italian Pinoli Cookies
- Santa Clara Cooking Examiner’s Stained Glass Cookies