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Grown-Up Hot Chocolate

Even Your Little Ones Will Love this Twist on a Classic

"This year, spend some time recalling your favorite childhood holiday activities," says the National Confectioners Association 's Susan Fussell. "Then think about how you can introduce your family to these customs – maybe even with a new twist. When I was a child, I always looked forward to a mug of hot chocolate decorated with a peppermint stick after coming in from the cold. Today I make a grown up version of this treat with gourmet chocolate, peppermint whipped cream and crushed peppermints on the rim of the glass."

For the peppermint whipped cream you will need:

  • 3 candy canes
  • 2 cups heavy cream

Directions:
  • Use a small food processor (or a spice grinder) to make a fine powder out of the candy canes.
  • Measure 3 - 4 tablespoons and set aside. Preserve the rest of the powder in plastic storage bag for use the next time you make whipped cream. (Do not use fewer than 3 candy canes as the powder will be lost in the food processor).
  • Pour cream into a small bowl and beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Remove from mixer and fold in the 3 - 4 tablespoons of candy cane powder. For a subtle taste use less or for a more powerful taste use all 4 tablespoons.
  • When your hot chocolate is ready, use a spoon to add a dollop of cream on top.

For the hot chocolate you will need:
  • 8 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 10 crushed mint candies on a small plate

Directions:
  • Reserve 2 teaspoons of chocolate and combine remainder with milk in a small saucepan.
  • Warm over moderate heat until the mixture comes to a simmer.
  • Moisten the rim of a tall glass mug with water and press gently on the plate with crushed mints to rim the glass.
  • Pour hot chocolate into the mug, top with peppermint whipped cream and sprinkle with the reserved portion of chopped chocolates.

Serves 4