Drink Chocolate and Eat Tea

17 02 2013

Cool, drippy days are best began or concluded with warm, homemade drinks and pastries. My kids love cocoa, so we go through quite a lot of it, which means I usually purchase the instant powdered variety. But, occasionally, it’s special to make it from scratch with real chocolate. It’s decadence in a cup! I have a few versions of my homemade hot cocoa. I’ll share the basic one, which is great on its own, but for us big kids, adding a splash of Bailey’s Irish Cream or Kahlua is extra special. We call it Happy Cocoa. Did I say that out loud? For those of us who don’t believe in the phrase, “too much chocolate,” adding one chopped chocolate bar transforms this drink into the Chocolate Bomb. Refrigerate the cocoa and add it to coffee for a mocha—which is my favorite drink on the planet. Chocolate actually causes a chemical change in our brains similar to being in love or on a high. Aztecan King Montezuma and the legendary Casanova might not have had the scientific proof but certainly knew the effects of chocolate, since both regularly gave the ladies in their lives chocolate at opportune moments. Ok, enough said about that, so let’s get down to business.

Homemade Hot Cocoa:

½ C. cocoa powder
½ C. granulated sugar
12 oz. milk (any kind, even a can of evaporated milk)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat in a small pot on the stove, stirring continually until all ingredients are thoroughly melted together. Do not allow the chocolate to settle on the bottom and burn, so heating it to just under a simmer is best. Ladle it into a mug and top with whipped cream and shaved chocolate or a sprinkle of cocoa powder.

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This Chai Latte Muffin recipe came about through trial and error. I actually thought up the idea of using Chai latte as the wet ingredient to a muffin and was a bit dismayed to discover I was way not the first. Oh well. At least that meant that I could piggyback on other recipes to discover my own version. Win, win! My husband doesn’t like coffee and is not a fan of hot drinks in general (I hear that collective gasp from Pacific Northwesterners), but he does like Chai lattes. My daughter loves tea but is not a fan of muffins. They both like this Chai Latte Muffin recipe.

Chai Latte Muffins:

1 C. prepared instant Chai Latte
¼ C. oil
½ C. vanilla yogurt
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 C. all-purpose flour
¾ C. granulated sugar
2-½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt

Mix the wet ingredients in one bowl and the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and then combine thoroughly. Pour into muffin liners or a greased muffin tin and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. It makes 12 muffins. Once cool, sprinkle tops with powdered sugar, ground cinnamon and nutmeg.

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An interesting fact is that Chai tea came from India by way of Asia and across the Pacific Ocean to Oregon. Not only is Oregon the state that introduced Chai to America, but still is the leading consumer of the drink.

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