Philadelphia may not be Buffalo, NY but we have our share of cold winters and this one has gotten cold rather quickly. The other night, in keeping with fine winter tradition, I decided to make one of my favorite winter comfort foods. Hot Cocoa, oh ambrosia.... sweet nectar of the chilly gods.
Kaity's Hot Cocoa
4oz half & half or cream
1.5 Tbsp quality cocoa
1.5 Tbsp sugar (I like to use Sugar in the Raw for the molassesy goodness, but any will do)
1 tsp chili pepper powder
1 big fun cheerful mug
Combine milk, cocoa, sugar and chili powder in a pan and heat; stirring regularly. When the powder is mostly dissolved into the milk add the half & half or cream. Keep stirring until hot and without clumps. Do not boil:)
Adjust chili powder to taste. Personally, I really like capsaicinoids (pepper's 'spicy' compounds) so I usually double the chili powder for myself. No worries for those that don't like spicy foods, the milk fat in the cocoa will help to eliminate a lot of the 'spiciness' anyway.
Pour into mug, pad back into living room and enjoy the spicy, sweet, chocolatey goodness.
There's a good reason why both the Mayan and Aztec cultures held cacao plants in high esteem.
We now know that cacao (chocolate) is a good source of antioxidants and theobromine an alkyloid with mood enhancing effects.