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Monday, December 27, 2010

Crazy for Cocoa

I have created monsters.   When we moved to Pittsburgh eight years ago, I was hard pressed to find a bakery as delicious as the ones I left behind in Los Angeles.  I grew up on Bea's Bakery and the Beverlywood Bakery, and there was just nothing like either of those here in Pittsburgh.  So, I started baking cookies and cakes for my kids.  They have now grown accustomed to my homemade goodies and, with the exception of an occasional Mint Milano, rarely eat cookies not made at home.

My sister Jill owns a specialty baking company in Los Angeles (www.finesbakery.com) so occasionally she sends us a big box of her delicious danish and cookies.  But, with that exception, most of what Charlie and Kate indulge in comes directly from our home kitchen.

Now I have come across another reason I have created monsters.  Charlie and Kate has developed a taste for homemade hot chocolate.  For years they were happy with Swiss Miss, but now it appears that cocoa made from shaved chocolate and half and half is preferable to them.  I am not kidding.  What was I thinking when I did this the first time?

I am not saying that there is no Swiss Miss in their lives, but I think if they have their choice, they would go with the really good stuff.  But then again, who wouldn't?  I suspect that if you give this a try you'll feel the same way.  I'm just not going to experiment with my own homemade marshmallows.  There are limits to what even I am willing to do in the name of motherhood!

Hot Chocolate


2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups half and half
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chipped
4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the milk and half and half in a saucepan over medium heat until just simmering.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in both chocolates.  When the chocolates are melted, add the sugar and vanilla and whisk vigorously.  If the cocoa has lost some of its heat, reheat over low heat until just simmering.

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