Inverted Crescent

One Woman's Journey Over the Moon and Beyond

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Joy to the Chef

During Christmas, I succumb to my inner Rachel Ray, and break out my store of exceptionally yummy recipes which are, otherwise, hidden from the light of day, enjoying their hermetically sealed life in an archaic edition of the Joy of Cooking.

This book, long ago stolen for me by a friend, from a hometown library, has been the treasured repository of family recipes written on scraps of paper, the backs of envelopes, and the occasional true recipe card. Though there is no substitute for your own personal HVAC system to protect the treasured recipes from yellowing with age, a Joy of Cooking will suffice.

This Christmas, for the first time in years, my Joy is in storage, and as it is too mammoth a task to locate one book in a roomful of boxes, there is no Christmas baking in my immediate future. (Also, did I mention that our oven burned up in the great “roast pork debacle of 2005”?) Yea, so no Christmas baking this year.

Alternatively, I’ve gotten up close and personal with my stove top, and have determined that Hot chocolate really is one of the gifts the wise men would have gotten to Mary and Joseph, if they had known about it.

Therefore, here’s a little recipe for the non-bakers…

Real Hot Chocolate
(inspired by Chocolat and a recipe I read once upon a time)

2 cups of boiling water
1 chile pepper, with seeds removed
2 cups of light cream
3 cups of whole milk
1 vanilla bean
1 cinnamon stick
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 squares DARK choclolate
Whipped cream (small container)

Boil water with chile pepper in it until it is reduced to 1 cup. Strain the chile out of the water and set aside.

Combine cream, vanilla bean and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat. Look for bubbles around the edge of the saucepan as an indication as when to reduce the heat to low. Add chocolate and sugar. Stir continuously until the chocolate is melted.
Turn off heat and remove cinnamon and vanilla. Add the chile water, a little at a time, to make sure it doesn’t set your tongue on fire.
Whip the cream in a COLD bowl. Serve on top of the chocolate.


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