It’s Progressive Eats time; when 11 of my food blogging buddies get together with me for our monthly adventure when we share our dishes for a meal with a theme. This month our newest member, Susan Pridmore from the blog The Wimpy Vegetarian, wanted to host a Weekend Ski Party. Of course Susan decided that before anyone knew that the Northeast would be engulfed in snow AND the Super Bowl would be televised on Sunday so between the notion of skiing, football or being stuck inside and desperately needing sustenance to combat the cold; we’ve got you covered for any of those adventures! Not enough? January 31st is National Hot Chocolate Day and this would be perfect!
Living near ski country does not mean that I ski; as a matter of fact a ruptured disk in my back the year after I moved here guaranteed it would never happen but I’m not adverse to visiting ski areas and keeping the sofa warm while friends brave the cold. A good book, a warm fire and a great view of the slopes works for me…and a great, warming cocktail while I’m enjoying those makes for a perfect day. I’ve had some great cocktails that warm the soul on the coldest of days but I don’t think anything evokes the perfect beverage for winter, snow or skiing quite like hot chocolate. And this hot chocolate? Well, it’s sort of the quintessential version; I would even say it’s TOTALLY DECADENT!!
With some irony there have been two discussions I’ve been privy to on Facebook discussing the word decadent and some of that discussion has centered on dictionary descriptions that are a far cry from the meaning I attribute to it. Over the top, sinfully good, beyond delicious, all words that evoke something that is not the norm, that exceeds expectations. That is this drink and a quick peek at the ingredients make it very clear why. The title is Totally Decadent Hot CHOCOLATE with Amaretto, not Totally Decadent Hot COCOA with Amaratto…ah, c’est la difference!! Hot Chocolate typically uses bittersweet chocolate that is melted to achieve the richness; hot cocoa is just that; it’s made with dry cocoa and milk. I not saying it’s not good, but once you try this, you will know the difference and you may never go back!
I’ve had this rich and dreamy confection once before at a downtown outdoor event during the winter. When your feet are so cold you can hardly feel them. And I recall it as a rich, warm drink that almost made that pain disappear. I don’t plan to test my version but with a bit of Amaretto liqueur in the mix…well, a bit more warmth never hurt anyone right?
Looking for some guidance to make my own version; I searched and found this article on BuzzFeed featuring Jacques Torres recipe for hot chocolate. And you know what? Don’t hit me but I don’t agree with it. I don’t want to add either dry milk or cornstarch to my hot chocolate; I was looking more for an idea of quantity of milk versus chocolate but not this! So I just started combining until I found my own nirvana and not a speck of anything dry to be found. Maybe Amaretto made mine smooth and silky without the dry ingredients I decided to forgo. (No? Let’s pretend then, OK?).
This stuff is RICH. Which of course is why I topped it with whipping cream! But really the whipping cream is a great foil for the hot chocolate; the two together make for the perfect sip or as I found, the perfect bite. I did use a spoon; it was just that kind of drink. I included some of the hot chocolate mixture in the whipping cream and loved it; topping the completed drink with toasted almonds was the perfect accent that not only highlighted the Amaretto but in a nutshell (HA!) made for a great presentation. That matters!
Skiing or not, snow or not, football or not…this is a must have. Make one for yourself and those you love; and then send them off skiing while you sip in front of the fire. But before that? Make sure you check out all the wonderful dishes and drinks from my friends that are listed below the recipe. I only wish we could really get together and party; this menu sounds divine!
Totally Decadent Hot Chocolate with Amaretto
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 10 ounces good-quality milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 Tbsp dried espresso
- 1/4 cup Amaretto
For the Whipping Cream
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup of hot chocolate mixture, cooled
- Combine the milk, cream and chocolate in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook until simmering; whisking until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.
- Add the vanilla and espresso and whisk until incorporated. Just bring to a boil and turn off heat.
- Add the Amaretto and whisk in. Remove 1/4 cup of mixture and allow to cool. Keep hot chocolate covered on low heat.
- Whip cream on high until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
- Fill mugs just above halfway with hot chocolate and top with whipped cream.
- Garnish with toasted almonds.
Join Us for a Weekend Ski Party!
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a progressive dinner party. This month’s theme is Weekend Ski Party and is hosted by Susan Pridmore who blogs at The Wimpy Vegetarian. Don’t consider yourself snowed in…consider it a party!
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.
We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.