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Top 5 Hot Chocolate Recipes

Top 5 Hot Chocolate Recipes

Winter is ideal for the delicious treat we have for you today. As cold days approach and the temperatures drop, nothing can brighten your day like hot chocolate.

For some, chocolate may just be a simple ingredient. For me, it’s a way of life. There is an immense number of ways to enjoy this delight, but when it comes to chilly days, I always choose a steaming mug of thick and creamy hot chocolate.

I’m sure you will agree chocolate and holidays were made for each other, they are the perfect pair. This magical beverage has many different names. It is called drinking chocolate, hot cocoa, even chocolate tea in Nigeria. Today, you can find countless recipes for hot chocolate that will inspire you to make your special version at home. Here is my special selection:

1.   Traditional hot chocolate

We have to begin with the old-fashioned hot chocolate. Before we start savoring the endless list of hot chocolate recipes, let’s not forget where it all started.

In order to make the classic hot chocolate you will need some cocoa powder, dark chocolate chips, coconut palm sugar, almond milk, and pure vanilla extract. If you feel like it, you can use cinnamon sticks to stir it. Yummy!

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup coconut palm sugar
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 4 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Recipe details: Classic Hot Chocolate


2.  
Peppermint white hot chocolate

They say hot chocolate is like a hug from the inside. Let’s kick it up a notch and add some fire to it. You can use peppermint schnapps. Instead of using the old-fashioned dark chocolate, make this one special and use white chocolate. Stir the milk and the chopped white chocolate together and cook over medium heat. Do not bring it to a boil.

After the mixture is ready, add some vanilla and peppermint extract to enhance the peppermint flavour. To prepare others for what’s inside, use some peppermint crumbs on top of the hot chocolate. People will be pleasantly surprised by this magnificent combo.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups milk of your choice
  • 8 oz. white chocolate, chopped into small pieces (you can also use white chocolate chips)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp peppermint extract
  • (optional) whipped cream, crushed peppermints or marshmallows on top

Recipe Details: Peppermint White Hot Chocolate


3.  
Hazelnut hot chocolate

The best thing about regular hot chocolate is that you can add a lot of twists to it and make your own signature. A dollop of chocolate hazelnut spread will make your taste buds dance. It basically tastes like drinking nutella.

After having prepared the hot chocolate itself, add the hazelnut spread, but only stir once or twice. You want to have that contrasty marble effect. If you are in the mood for more hazelnut crunchiness, you can add toasted hazelnuts on top of your homemade hot chocolate.

Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup hazelnut flavored syrup
  • 3 ⅔ cups milk
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • (optional) tiny marshmallows and finely chopped chocolate on top

Recipe details: Dreamy Hazelnut Hot Chocolate


4.  
Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

If you feel like you are better suited for sunny days, I recommend you find some comfort food and drinks that will make you warm on the inside. Just like this Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate.

If you are a fan of pumpkin pie, you already know how much you’ll enjoy it. But if you’re not, I dare you to try it! It’s so smooth and creamy. Inspired by the popular Pumpkin Spice Latte, this is an amazing kids version, but can easily become adult-friendly if you add a shot of espresso. Enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • ⅓ cup hot cocoa mix
  • ¼ cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • (optional) whipped cream or marshmallows

Recipe Details: Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate


5.  
S’mores Hot Chocolate

Oh come on…. Look at that! Who would resist this? If I enter a coffee shop and see this on a poster, I am buying it! It’s just irresistible. Everything you want is in that cup…or you can even use a bowl (like we do in Europe).

If you feel like it, you can make some graham cracker crumbs and dip the rim of the cup in the crumbs. Pour that deliciousness in the cup and top it with some marshmallows. Toast the marshmallows so they melt in the mouth and drizzle melted chocolate to get that s’more effect. And yes…now I have to make one at home!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup water (or sub more milk)
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp light chocolate syrup
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp non-bitter stevia (or 1-2 tbsp more sugar)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Graham crackers (crushed // for lining rim)
  • ½ cup marshmallows


Recipe Details: 
S’mores Hot Chocolate

If you too, like me, cannot resist these easy-to-make hot beverages, choose your favorite and fill the house with that irresistible chocolate aroma.

 

Some fun facts about hot chocolate

  • This soothing drink was first created more than 2,500 years ago.
  • It was created by the Mayans.
  • It can be reheated.
  • Can be made with dark, semisweet, or bittersweet chocolate.
  • It has several health benefits.
  • It contains a large amount of antioxidants that may help prevent cancer.
  • People visiting Monticello (Thomas Jefferson’s plantation) can sample hot chocolate made the way Jefferson preferred it.
Christmas in a Cookie!

Christmas in a Cookie!

Christmas is my favorite holiday and it’s just around the corner! Ever since I was a little girl, I have longed for this day. My favorite people in one place, all that joy, coziness, carols and laughter. Let’s not forget the piles of mouth-watering food. I mean, who doesn’t love that?

Although preparations for Christmas dinner parties can be quite stressful, I see it as an opportunity to spend time with family and loved ones. Santa has his elves, so why not get a helper of your own – your partner, kids, friends – to help you in the kitchen? It is the most magical time of the year and should be spent with great people and in festive spirit.

If you are hosting a dinner party, make sure you step up your game! After all, this is the time of the year when we make the most of our cooking skills. I truly believe that Christmas treats are the icing on the cake when it comes to gatherings like these, which is why I will share some of my favorite jaw-dropping cookies that will suit everyone’s taste.

So, are you ready to serve some of that Christmas spirit on the table with these incredible cookie ideas? Here are my top five Christmas cookie ideas:

#1 Christmas gingerbread cookies

 

Gingerbread cookies are a must on Christmas! They are fun to make and delicious to eat. The fun part is that kids can help you cut them into shapes and decorate them. But why do kids go crazy over these cookies? I think it’s because they have a bit of personality. You can draw faces, outfits, and it’s a great creative outlet for kids. Make your own gingerbread village and it will definitely steal the show.

My advice is to think beyond the traditional gingerbread man cookie and be creative. The possibilities are endless. You can make different shapes, cut out edible Christmas decorations, or even build houses out of gingerbread. You can create a winter wonderland with nothing more than gingerbread, and if you do, your kids will be thrilled, I promise.

Gingerbread cookies are the perfect Christmas treats. They are moist, flavorful and will fill your house with a scent of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, whatever you decide. Be brave, experiment, add your own secret ingredient. At the end of the day, grab your hot cocoa, a blanket, a plate of your delicious cookies and enjoy the winter magic.

#2 Truffles

 

The one-and-only bite-sized indulgence. My absolute favorite. What’s not to like about truffles? They are easy to make, time efficient, inexpensive, and most important, you can prepare them ahead of time. If you have a busy December schedule but still have to feed a crowd, this is the way to go.

The name comes from a fungus called truffle. The reason why they are called the same is because of their similar shape which is rustic and misshapen. Even though they have a gourmet reputation, they are actually pretty easy to make. You only need two ingredients, chocolate and cream.

Truffles can be formed and finished in many different ways. After choosing a good-quality chocolate (around 60% cacao chocolate), chop it and pour the heated cream on top. While whisking it, you will start to get a silky and shiny mixture called ganache. The ganache is the base upon which truffles are formed.

Give the ganache enough time to cool down and then start making your truffles. The easiest way to do them is to roll them in your hand and create small heavenly bites. For decorating them, you can choose whatever comes to mind. Dip them in chocolate, roll them in cocoa powder, cover them with luster dust or sprinkle them with chocolate shavings – the list goes on and on. Hurry up, make a wonderful presentation.

#3 Peanut butter cookies

 

If you are a fan of peanut butter, these are the cookies that will satisfy your cravings for chocolate and peanut butter at the same time. The incredible thing about this is that you can use whatever you have in your pantry. There are crunchy peanut butter cookies, there are smooth ones, you can even go for a no-bake version. Simple as that.

It goes without saying that the star of these cookies is the peanut butter. So, try using creamy peanut butter instead of the natural type where the oil separates in the jar. Remember, you are aiming for perfection.

Peanut butter cookies, I believe most of you will agree, are best made soft. To make this happen, bake them only for about 10-12 minutes. After removing them from the oven, let them cool down on the baking sheet. In no time, you will have your soft peanut butter cookies. However, if you prefer crunchy cookies, let them bake for a few more minutes and you are good to go.

#4 Brownies

 

There are so many different ways of making brownies, let alone decorating them. Fluffy brownies can easily win everyone over. It is a one bowl dessert, suitable for any occasion. Are you wondering if something as delicious as a brownie can really be this easy? The answer is YES. They are so easy to make, you will think there’s something wrong with the recipe.

That being said, it is still puzzling why many people use the store box mix for brownies. You need less than 10 ingredients. What you need is some butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, cocoa powder, flour and a bit of salt. I’m sure you already have all of that at home. Just mix the right amount in a bowl, pour it in a pan and pop it into the oven.

Your brownies will be ready before you know it. You can top them with cream or berries, or glaze them with ganache. The best way to do this is to wait for them to cool down before cutting into them. The real question is, does anyone wait?

#5 Christmas sugar cookies

 

Speaking of Christmas sugar cookies, tons of ideas come to mind. Don’t you agree? They are ideal for decorating. You can shape them into countless festive symbols and top them with any frosting you decide.  There’s nothing better than a Christmas sugar cookie with a cup of hot tea.

Icing a sugar cookie is a ritual. You need piping bags and small piping tips to make it adorable. After you make sure the icing has the right consistency, outline the Christmas sugar cookies first, then fill the center and use a toothpick to spread the icing around.

Another way is to flavor them with almond extract or vanilla extract. If you like sugar more, what you can do is flatten the sugar cookies with the bottom of a sugar-coated glass. Trust me, it tastes as delicious as it sounds.

I hope you got inspired by these incredible and easy cookie ideas. Now, you have all the tips for creating the flawless sweet table for your guests. You know what they say, “Christmas isn’t a season, it’s a feeling”. Make it memorable!

10 Easy and Delicious Pancake Toppings (That Are Much Better Than Pancake Syrup)

10 Easy and Delicious Pancake Toppings (That Are Much Better Than Pancake Syrup)

Over the period of my pancake obsession (which has lasted for almost a year) I’ve learned that pancakes are one of the most versatile dishes. Don’t get me wrong, classic American buttermilk pancakes are amazing, but why not use your creativity and make chocolate, pumpkin, or even lavender flapjacks?

Next step – toppings. Standard toppings include maple syrup, pancake syrup, and a pat of butter, with occasional fruit slices and maybe chocolate chips. Well, it’s time to put that behind us and think big. I offer you a bunch of quick and easy delish pancake toppings you can throw together in no time.

Prepare your favorite pancake stack and get ready to rock your pancake world!

 

#1 Lemon Curd, Mascarpone, and Almond Topping

Sweet and slightly tart combo that will wake you up instantly. These creamy griddlecakes are perfect to pair with a warm cup of coffee! Note: You can replace mascarpone with cottage cheese or ricotta.

Ingredients:

  • 3¼oz mascarpone
  • 1oz. toasted flaked almonds
  • 6 tablespoons lemon curd
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar

Preparation:

Beat the cheese and icing sugar, adding the sugar gradually, until smooth and uniform. If this is not sweet enough, add some more sugar to taste.

Spread the lemon curd over the flapjacks. Top with a dollop of the mascarpone mixture and sprinkle the almonds.

 

#2 Peach Syrup

This is the perfect summer topping! The best part about this topping is that it can be varied by just changing or adjusting the spice – you can replace cinnamon with ginger, clove, nutmeg, allspice, or make a combination of your own! Don’t have fresh peaches? Frozen ones will do just fine.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup water
  • 4 peaches
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 pinch cinnamon

Preparation:

Peel the peaches, then immerse them in boiling water for about half a minute. After that, place the bowl in cold water. Leave the peaches cool off, then remove their skins. Halve, pit, and chop the peaches (if you want a smooth sauce, puree them with a blender).

Combine the water, peaches, sugar, butter, and cinnamon in a saucepan set over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and serve with your pancakes.

 

#3 Chocolate Sauce

You’re probably wondering why everyone’s favorite pancake topping is no.3 on the list. That’s what I was wondering too, especially since this recipe is not only super-easy but also extra tasty!

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup hot water
  • 2oz. caster sugar
  • 1¼oz. cocoa powder

Preparation:

Whisk the water, sugar, and cocoa together in a small pan set over low heat. Adjust the amount of water depending on how thick you want your sauce to be. I like it dense and creamy so I use only a little water. Drizzle over your pancakes. Better yet, SPLASH!

#4 Boozy Vanilla Pancake Sauce

This is a sauce that will turn your stack of pancakes into a real dessert! You can use vanilla bean, vanilla extract, or vanilla paste in this bourbon-based recipe. And don’t worry about the alcohol content; it is quite low and most of it will evaporate so your little ones can still enjoy this delight.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon

Preparation:

Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan. Let the mixture simmer until the sugar dissolves, then cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes (it is done when the color turns amber).

Add the heavy cream and cook over medium-low heat until the sauce is completely smooth & silky. Add the butter, vanilla, and bourbon and stir until fully incorporated. Let the sauce cool before serving.

 

 #5 Peanut & Butter Sauce

What pairs best with chocolate pancakes? Peanut butter! Actually, scratch that; peanut butter tastes great with any kind of pancakes! For this simple but incredibly rich sauce, all you need is some peanut butter and honey. Your microwave will do the job in no time! Note: if you have no honey, feel free to use maple syrup.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup honey

Preparation:

Combine honey and peanut butter in a bowl (make sure it is microwave-safe). Heat for half a minute, then remove and stir. Return and heat for half a minute more, then stir again and serve.

 

#6 Crepe Suzette Sauce

Crepes Suzette is a French classic we can’t get enough of. However, the sauce pairs beautifully with fluffy American pancakes as well!

Ingredients:

  • Juice from 3 oranges (4 if they’re smaller)
  • Zest from 1 medium orange
  • Zest and juice of 1 small lemon
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoon brandy
  • 2oz. unsalted butter

 

Combine all the ingredients, except the butter in a medium bowl. Melt the butter in the pan, pour in the sauce and heat at low heat. Pour the Suzette sauce over your pancakes.

The original recipe requires flaming at this point but I think you can skip this step unless you’re skilled and confident enough you won’t set yourself or the entire house on fire!

 

#7 Apple Topping

We haven’t forgotten about fruity toppings. We love them because they are super-tasty but somehow manage to remain healthy. Apple is especially comforting and perfect for early fall days.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large apples (peeled and sliced)
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup plus apple cider
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation:

In a large saucepan, combine 1 cup of the apple cider and brown sugar. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Add the apples and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes, until tender. Combine 2 more tablespoons apple cider with cornstarch in a small bowl. Add this mixture to the apples and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened. Remove from heat, add the vanilla and serve.

#8 Sugar & Cinnamon Sauce

Homemade caramel sauce made with brown sugar and complemented with cinnamon? This is exactly it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • a splash of lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Preparation:

In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar and set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Add the lemon juice and cinnamon. Serve warm.

 

#9 Blueberry Sauce

For this sauce, you can use both fresh or frozen blueberries but I think frozen ones are more flavorful!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups blueberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ tablespoons cornstarch

Preparation:

In a small saucepan, place 1½ cups blueberries. Add sugar and water and set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the blueberries break down.

Add the cornstarch mixed with three tablespoons of water to the pan, stirring frequently. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, and simmer for about 3 minutes, until the sauce thickens. If you want to make it thinner, just add a bit of water. Remove the pan from heat, then stir in the remaining blueberries. You can serve this sauce warm or chilled.

 

#10 Sweet-Savory Feta & Honey Topping

Add a Greek twist to your pancakes with this sweet and savory topping. If you want it more on the sweet side, add an extra tablespoon of honey. If you don’t have thyme at hand, replace it with dill.

Ingredients:

  • 3½oz. feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme

Preparation:

Crumble the feta cheese over the flapjacks, drizzle with honey and scatter the picked thyme leaves over the top. That’s it!

The Best Sweet and Savory Indian Pancakes to Try

The Best Sweet and Savory Indian Pancakes to Try

Maybe you have heard of the most popular Indian pancake variety, dosa, but that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bread-like delights originating in the sub-continent. We wondered how different they are from the classic American pancake recipes we cover in rich syrups and sauces so we made a research.

Savory Indian Pancakes

 

  1. Dosa is a thin and crispy pancake originating in Southern India but is well-loved throughout the whole country. It is made by combining black gram and rice and then letting the batter ferment overnight. Dosa is served hot, with coconut chutney or sambhar on the side.

 

  1. Uttapam is very similar to dosa and also originates in South India. It is made from the same batter that is used to make dosa but is usually topped with tomatoes, onions, cabbage, capsicum, chilies.

 

  1. Besan Chilla is a crispy and healthy snack popular in the Northern parts of the country. It is very easy to make, rich in protein, and low in calories. Besan Chilla is made of chickpea flour (known as ‘besan’) and flavored with mild spices. Some varieties of the recipe also contain seasonal vegetables and are served with sweet chutneys.

 

  1. Appam is a white, flavorful flapjack made with coconut milk and fermented rice. It is crispy on the outside but soft and fluffy in the center. Appam is often served with chicken or veggie stew on the side.

 

  1. Sarvapindi is a crispy flapjacks made with rice flour and peanuts. The batter is often complemented with onions, chili powder, ginger, and sesame seeds.

 

  1. Thalipeeth is a healthy multigrain pancake made from roasted rice, tapioca, amaranth, wheat, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, as well as lots of spices. Thalipeeth is usually topped with ghee and served with pickles.

 

  1. Kholasapori Pitha is a flapjack from the Northeast of India, made with rice flour, carrots, onions, mustard oil, and water. This pancake is generally served at festivals.

 

  1. Pathiri is a recipe originating in Kerala. It is made with a dough based on crushed rice and then baked on special pans called ‘oadu’. After the pancake is prepared, it is soaked in coconut milk to maintain soft and become more flavorful. Pathiri is usually served with fish or various types of meat.

 

  1. Pesarattu is very similar to French crepes in texture. Its batter contains green gram and it is usually served with tamarind chutney and ginger. This pancake is usually complemented with onions, ginger, and chili.

Sweet Indian Pancakes

 

  1. Malpua is probably the most popular sweet Indian pancake. The batter is prepared differently depending on the region. In the Northern regions, malpua batter is made with Indian wheat flour called ‘maida’, semolina, yogurt, and milk. Other regions add mashed bananas into the batter.

 

  1. Meetha Pooda is a pancake recipe that makes use of wheat, fennel seeds, sugar, and water. It is generally very quick and simple to make and people in India usually enjoy it during rainy days, served with kheer pudding. This pudding is made with rice, tapioca, broken wheat, milk, and sugar, and then flavored with raisins, cardamom, saffron, pistachios, cashews, or almonds.

 

  1. Ale-Bele is a soft pancake originating in Goa. It is made with eggs and maida, then stuffed with coconut and palm jaggery. Ale-Bele is often served at teatime.

 

  1. Pati-Shapta is a sweet recipe originating in Bengal. It is usually served during festivals like Pati Shapta, the day that celebrates the rice harvest. Pati-Shapta pancakes are stuffed with jaggery and date palm and often topped with coconut.

 

  1. Bobbatlu is a sweet flapjacks filled with plain flour, yellow gram, ghee, sugar or jaggery, and cardamom powder.

 

Eat Pancakes to Fight Tiredness

Eat Pancakes to Fight Tiredness

A week ago, my doctor told me I was deficient in magnesium and recommended I either take supplements or increase the intake of magnesium-infused foods. To be honest, I am not very careful about what I eat but the recent fatigue and chronic tiredness I’ve been feeling made me think about changing that.

I started searching for magnesium foods and I was surprised to see that chocolate is one of the items on the list. This really inspired me. So, I set out to make healthy, magnesium-infused pancakes (they were the easiest thing I could think of at the moment 😊).

Why Should You Infuse Your Pancake Recipes with Magnesium?

If you search for magnesium online you’ll find that it is an amazing mineral – it regulates over 300 biochemical functions in the body.

It is credited for regulating blood pressure, blood sugar levels, metabolic and nerve functions, antioxidant production and more!

Magnesium deficiency can result in fatigue, depression, osteoporosis, diabetes, hormonal imbalance, heart issues. So, the real question is: why NOT infuse your favorite pancake recipes with magnesium?

Make the Pancake Batter Healthier

Before you start looking for magnesium-enriched additons, why not make some crucial changes in the pancake base? I have stopped using sugar and refined white flour over a year ago. Instead, I use stevia (which is a 100% natural sweetener) and whole wheat flour. I admit it was a bit strange at the beginning, but you can introduce the changes gradually to make it easier.

Plain yogurt is one of the top ten magnesium-rich foods and, luckily, it is commonly used in pancake recipes to contribute moistness, softness, and fluffiness. Besides magnesium, yogurt contains high levels of protein, calcium, and vitamin D.

Magnesium-Rich Pancakes

Here is what else you can add to your pancake recipes to strengthen boost your energy levels in the morning.

Almonds

Almonds are truly amazing! They are not only packed with healthy fats and magnesium, but they also come in different forms: chopped or ground, as flour, milk, or butter. Besides, these amazing nuts combine well with almost everything from chocolate to fruits.

Avocado

One mashed avocado into the batter will make your flapjacks extra rich, silky, and creamy. Combine it with raspberries and a cup of chocolate chips for a fresh and sweet breakfast, or add a poached egg on top for a savory twist.

Banana

Banana is the perfect ingredient for pancakes. Mashed banana is thick enough to replace the flour and add texture to your flapjacks. It is also sweet enough to replace sugar. Combine it with chocolate chips and/or natural peanut butter.

We have finally arrived at my favorite magnesium-rich ingredient on the list. Whether in the form of chips, melted, or as cocoa powder, dark chocolate will make your flapjacks absolutely delicious. But that’s not all – dark chocolate is very rich in antioxidants that protect you from a number of chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease.

Figs

I am not very big on figs (I actually hate them) but my friend insisted I tried them in a pancake recipe she’d made. It calls for a cup of chopped figs combined with nuts and cinnamon. Not bad at all!

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