Besos de Suecia – Hot cocoa options from a chocolate hater

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I am well aware that I am an oddity in that I really do not like chocolate. Every few months, I will have a bit (mostly tempted into it by people raving about how much they love chocolate), but it only confirms my dislike.

Clearly my baking activities involve a lot of chocolate (and people wonder how I manage to bake so much and not eat it myself – this is how. I have no problem at all resisting chocolate!). This is usually my only use for chocolate. However, I have on occasion needed to make hot chocolate/cocoa for guests to drink… and because I don’t have any disgusting packets of pre-made cocoa ready to go, I have to experiment with making hot chocolate from scratch.

As winter cold sweeps in, there is no better time to share the three most successful and different hot cocoa recipes I have used.

Dolled-up Hot Chocolate
1 liter milk
1 vanilla bean, split, with seeds scraped out into the milk (also throw the bean into the milk)
1 cinnamon stick
150 grams of chocolate broken into small pieces
Sugar, to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg, to top

Heat the milk, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick to just boiling. Remove from heat, stir in the chocolate – whisk vigorously to make frothy. Add enough sugar to make as sweet as you prefer. Pour into mugs and dust top with grated nutmeg.

Simple Hot Chocolate
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
1 pinch salt
1/3 cup boiling water
3 1/2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cream

In a small saucepan, mix cocoa, sugar, salt and boiling water. Whisk constantly while simmering mixture for about two minutes. Stir in the milk and heat until very hot but do not boil.

Remove from heat, add vanilla. Add cream to the mixture. Serve. You can garnish with whipped cream, marshmallows, marshmallow cream, chocolate sprinkles, nutmeg, cinnamon or whatever you want.

The Third Way Hot Chocolate
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 1/2 cups hot water

In a large saucepan, combine sweetened condensed milk, cocoa, vanilla and salt; mix well. Over medium heat, slowly stir in water; stir occasionally while heating through. Do not boil. Garnish with whipped cream, marshmallows or marshmallow fluff, if you wish.

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