Espresso Hot Chocolate with Vanilla Whipped Cream

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You can ask anyone in my family about my hot chocolate preferences, and they will tell you that I am a hot chocolate snob.  No really, that’s a thing, and I am part of the demographic.  When I was really little, my dad would make me hot chocolate every night with Ovaltine.  If it was too hot outside, he would make me chocolate milk.  I called it “brown milk” and I specifically remember asking for it while my parents read me my books.  So naturally, the first time I had the packet-mixed-with-water type of hot chocolate, I was sorely underwhelmed.  As a kid, I hated it, and I hate it now.  I don’t even want flavored hot chocolates-peppermint, orange zest, and cayenne pepper have no right.  I’ll just take my regular hot chocolate made with milk and Ovaltine or some type of pretentious homemade chocolate syrup, thank you very much.

Until now….Because in case we haven’t yet discussed my obsession with coffee or how I want to own my own cafe someday (we have), I have quite the love affair with all things coffee.  And like my hot chocolate, I don’t want extra added flavors-I want pure, good quality, black coffee, maybe with a little cream and sugar when I have a craving.

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I was fairly skeptical at the idea of mixing together my beloved espresso with hot chocolate.  While I do appreciate a good mocha every once in a while, it’s not usually my cup of tea coffee, and I wasn’t really looking to make a mocha here.  What I really wanted was a creamy hot chocolate with intense cocoa flavor.  Borrowing the idea that sometimes coffee is added to chocolate cake recipes to enhance the cocoa flavor, I decided adding a little espresso to my hot chocolate might to do the same thing.

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I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.  I will reiterate that this is not a mocha.  The espresso is definitely noticeable, but its main function is to complement the cocoa flavor.  I added some vanilla whipped cream to the top, which melts with the heat, and creates this cool layer on top that mixes in with the hot chocolate, and overall, it was probably my favorite part.  Honestly, I was worried that with only five ingredients, it would be bland, but it was anything but.

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hot chocolate recipe

Merry Christmas Eve to you and your family!  Make this hot chocolate when you’re opening presents or having dessert tonight, or even for breakfast tomorrow.  It’s the perfect mix of your favorite childhood drink and your favorite (morning) adult drink, so it will be sure to make everyone happy!

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*Song of the Day: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Frank Sinatra

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Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Truffles

 

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Hello friends!

Another recipe for another day.  Lately, I’ve been needing chocolate.  NEEDING it.  And I’m not one of those crazy, obsessed chocolate-fans.  I just enjoy it four times three times more than once a week.

Chocolate is obviously one of the most popular foods in the whole entire world.  Cocoa powder is one amazing ingredient.  Has anyone ever tried it in a savory dish?  I think I need to get on that.

Mole sauce maybe?  On cheese enchiladas?  Yes please.

And although cocoa powder has amazing health benefits (antioxidants anyone?) milk chocolate or white chocolate do not provide the same benefits.  Dark chocolate is ideal for a healthy chocolate option, but many of the brands are still filled with sugar.

And that’s where I come in.  Well, my truffles.

These truffles are made with dark chocolate and a natural sweetener: honey!  However, don’t fret; they don’t taste like honey.  They also take about 7 minutes total.  Seriously.

Another bonus: kids and men will love these and they’ll never know that they’re good for them!  Score.

*Also look for some more alternatives at the bottom of this page!*

 

Ingredients:

6 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate

4-6 Tbs. honey (sweeten according to taste)

6 Tbs. skim milk

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 c. hazelnuts (or nut of choice), optional*

Cocoa powder, shredded coconut, or nuts for garnish

 

In a microwave safe bowl, combine the chocolate, honey, milk, and salt.  Microwave in 30 second intervals until smooth, like ganache.  While still hot, add vanilla extract and hazelnuts.

Freeze for 2ish hours.  It may look firm before then, but the center won’t be.  It could help to mix it a few times.

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When it’s done, it should look like this.

Then, just scoop them out with a cookie scoop, and roll in garnish.  That easy!

Oh, and keep them in the freezer or they might melt.

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*Gluten Free Option: Already gluten free.

*Vegan Option:  Use coconut or almond milk instead of skim milk.

*Nut Free Option: Replace hazelnuts with chocolate chips, dried fruit, or leave them out completely.

*Honey Free Option: Use Splenda, agave nectar, or sugar if you want!

Let me know what you guys use in this recipe!  So yummy.

Stay Serendipitous!

XOXO Sara