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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Result of Waiting

I've been waiting all morning. Waiting for something to happen naturally that I could easily do in the microwave: soften butter. But I'm bringing both my eggs and butter to room temperature by waiting. Because I am making cupcakes. Cupcakes are worth the wait.

room temperature (noun): a temperature of from 15° to 25°C which is suitable for human occupancy and at which laboratory experiments are usually performed. The natural enemy of spontaneous bakers.

I've been whittling away the time by cleaning and reading. We've been bestowed a small amount of snow over the past two days, so things feel a bit chilly. I've bumped up my thermostat a whole half degree. I know, I'm spoiling myself. I also decided to spoil myself with some hot chocolate (or hot cocoa. Is there a difference between the two?) while reading my new book: "As Always, Julia".

In the spirit of the book (the letters between Julia Child and Avis DeVoto), where there was no internet and recipes were handed about by word of mouth, through letters, or books: I decided to not use the internet to figure out how to make hot chocolate. And then I thanked the gods for companies writing recipes on the sides of boxes. Specifically, I love you Fry's Premium Cocoa.

  • On a quick note before the recipe: I was surprised to see the New Allergen Information notice on the cocoa. I hadn't noticed it in the grocery store, so I had a mild panic attack in the kitchen. Thankfully, Fry's doesn't contain any gluten, but now it says "May Contain Milk". Seeing as how, yes, I use lactose free milk (because it makes me feel muuch better) but I am not diagnosed lactose intolerance, I decided to plunge ahead with my indulgence anyways.

  • Second side note: Does anybody else drink lactose free milk? Have you noticed 2% M.F. being much richer than you remember normal milk being, or is it just me? And do you feel like lactose free milk keeps nicely, even past the expiration date? Usually I'm a strict follower of the expiration date, but lactose free milk seems absolutely fine to me.

Enough of my gabbering: onto the richness of cocoa!
Here's the recipe from the side of the container:
Blend 1 tbsp cocoa with 2 tbsp sugar. Mix in 1 tbsp cold milk. Stir in 1 cup hot milk.

Ok. Simple. But real people don't drink 1 cup of hot chocolate, so I bumped up the portions to accomodate 1.5 cups of hot chocolate to fit in my favourite mug.

Recipe for Those With a Healthy Sugar Tolerance:
1.5 Tbsp Cocoa
3 Tbsp Sugar
1.5 cups + 1.5 Tbsp Milk

I've already placed the sugar and cocoa into the mug. The 1.5 cups of milk is on the stove. I wanted to use the double boiler method because milk is notorious for burning easily (and I have kitchen-induced ADD) but my only metal bowl somehow got a hole in it and leaked out a quarter-cup before I even noticed, so direct-pan method it was!

I've mixed in the 1.5 Tbsp of cold milk in with the sugar and cocoa. Don't worry if there are lumps, because the hot milk will smooth those right out. My dad does this step, even with powder mixes, because he says that it makes a smoother drink. I do it because I like the texture and colour of the slurry. :)

So I didn't get an action shot for pouring in the hot milk because it's a two handed job, and I'm not a mutant. Pour just a tad into the cup, and mix that in to make your original slurry much smoother. Then slowly pour in the rest of your hot milk while stirring.

For those who love Hot Chocolate but have less of a sweet tooth:
I admit, this batch had too much sugar for me. I rarely have desserts anymore, and eating less processed food has my taste buds more used to umami than anything. I'll be trying to make my hot cocoa next time with 3 teaspoons instead of tablespoons.

Other than that, I drank the whole thing before I even got a quarter through this post. It was dang good but now I feel a bit heady from all that sugar.

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