I have a problem. Whenever I come across a great recipe, video, product, concept, etc, I get all excited and want to write about my discovery but then I’m like, Nah, everyone knows about it already. Because if I know about it, then surely everyone else does, too.
I’m not sure if this problem is unique to me or if everyone deals with it (oops, here we go again. I told you it’s a problem). Maybe it harkens back to my TV-less childhood in which I never knew what was going on (and didn’t really care). I just learned to (correctly) assume that everyone knew things before I did. I was cool with that.
But now, as A Possessor of the Internet, I find myself discovering interesting things in real time. And as a blogger, I have the means to share. Except everyone is A Possessor of the Internet—because that’s how they access my blog, see?—and so there’s a very real probability that no one needs me to share anything because they already know everything.
And so I discover Things Most Marvelous, rave to the people around me, take photos, and then do nothing. Because what’s the point? Also, I reason, if I wait an extra week or two to share my find, maybe everyone will have forgotten that particular Thing Most Marvelous and it will seem new and fresh. And then everyone will be like, Ooo, she is SO on top of things!
All that to say, I made Deb’s hot chocolate and it is the best hot chocolate mix ever.
There. Did you already know that? This is not a rhetorical question! I seriously want to know how many of you: 1) knew about Deb’s hot chocolate mix, and 2) made it and loved it. Tell me! Tell me! This is an experiment in sociocultural psychology! (Or something.)
Anyway. About the hot chocolate. I am quite picky about my hot chocolate. I can’t stand it when instructions say to mix together sugar and cocoa and then add hot milk. This is wrong. The cocoa turns out gritty. Don’t do it. To skip the cocoa grit, proper hot chocolate must be made like so:
*combine the cocoa and sugar in a saucepan
*add a bit of water to make a slurry
*BOIL (this is what dissolves the grit and makes everything creamy-lush)
*add milk and heat through
*before serving, add a pinch of salt and a drizzle of vanilla
And don’t even get me going on powdered milk mixes—i.e. cocoa and sugar with Whiff of Barnyard—or, heaven forbid, the packaged junk.
But Deb’s mix breaks all rules. She uses cocoa and sugar, yes, but she also adds cornstarch and chopped chocolate. I thought for sure it’d be gritty, but it wasn’t! Well—full confession—there is a slight, ever so slight, sandiness to it, but it’s due more to the ridiculous chocolatey thickness of the drink and less to the non-dissolved cocoa. At least that’s what I think.
Perhaps it helps that the dry ingredients are pulverized in a food processor. Or maybe it’s the addition of cornstarch (which is brilliant because cornstarch). Or it’s the real, melted chocolate that smooths things over. Whatever the case, it works. It’s like drinking molten chocolate: intense, thick, rich, delicious. Willy Wonka would be proud.
(It’s a little too good, maybe. Ever since I discovered this mix, I spend most of my days just waiting till I can have my bedtime cocoa.)
Hot Chocolate Mix
Adapted from Deb of Smitten Kitchen.
½ cup cocoa
½ cup sugar
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
Put all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the chocolate chips are indistinguishable (though I let my processor run for a good minute or two and I still had a few itty-bitty chunks). Store the mixture in a pint jar.
To make hot chocolate:
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons hot chocolate mix
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
marshmallows or whipped cream, optional (but not really)
Heat the milk in a small saucepan. When the milk is steamy-hot, add the mix. Whisk well for a minute or two. (If the milk boils, remove the pan from the heat.) Add the vanilla. Pour the hot chocolate into a mug and top with marshmallows or whipped cream.
Marshmallow trick: tear your marshmallows into fourths. This way, instead of sip-wrestling with two giant marshmallow blobs, you get an easy-to-manage, foamy, evenly-dispersed marshmallow cap. Such an improvement.
This same time, years previous: stuffing, constant vigilance!, sunrise, sunset, light painting, my elephant, the quotidian (12.12.11), cracked wheat (or cooked oatmeal) pancakes, Sunday vignettes: human anatomy, and iced gingerbread men.