The weather’s warming up in our area, but we’ve had some cooler, rainy evenings that are still perfect for mint hot chocolate. And with everything that’s going on, the slightly slower process of homemade cocoa feels more satisfying than just grabbing a packet mix.
Using Barbie’s cocoa recipe as a base, I added mint for springtime flavor. I also swapped some of the milk for heavy cream, which makes it just indulgent enough to suit the Jeff Goldblum mug that Alana got me a few years back.
Jeff’s Favorite Mint Hot Chocolate
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 bunch mint leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons cocoa
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- dash of salt
Put the cocoa, sugar, and salt into a large saucepan, slowly add hot water, and stir together to combine. Heat the cocoa mixture, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil. Continue to stir and let it boil for 1 minute.
Remove pan from heat and add milk, heavy cream, and chopped mint. Warm gradually while stirring until it’s hot, but don’t let it boil. Then turn off the burner and stir in vanilla.
Pour (or ladle) through a fine mesh strainer into your swankiest mugs. Serves 2-4.
-Inspired by Barbie’s Easy-As-Pie Cookbook
My first impulse for changing up this recipe was to hit the spice rack, but spring makes me want to throw fresh mint into everything. Thankfully I’ve had no trouble finding mint in either the big grocery store down the street or the cheaper neighborhood place that I’ve been alternating between for my weekly shopping trips. The exact amount of mint isn’t super important, but here’s how much I used:
Going to a grocery store once a week is starting to feel stranger now that I’m staying home on the other six days. On my last visit, I saw a lot more people wearing masks. Shoppers are better about leaving distance while waiting in line now, but I still saw folks stopping in the middle of an aisle to stare at their phone for five minutes, which basically blocks anyone from either grabbing food from that area or moving past them.
It’s not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things; we’re all still trying to figure this stuff out. But I’ve been trying to stay aware of both how closely I approach others and how my newly increased “bubble” impacts them.
I don’t know what any of this has to do with the hot chocolate, except that maybe that all these new complications are making me appreciate things as simple as mint, cocoa powder, and ceramic eye candy.
- You may be tempted to leave the mint leaves whole so you can spoon them out of your hot chocolate instead of straining, but it’s important to chop or tear them some in order to get as much flavor as possible into your cocoa.
- If your local shops are short on mint, other herbs, or produce in general (or if you just have the money and energy to look for locally produced food at the moment), check to see if there are any farmers, farmer’s markets, or farm share boxes in your area that offer either delivery or contact-free pickup. It’s a great way to support local businesses, and ordering at least some of your food will make your shopping trips faster, which may reduce your exposure to COVID-19.
- If you want to add some extra mint flavor and a bit of a kick, pour a glug of creme de menthe in there.
When I tried Barbie’s cocoa recipe, the measuring and stirring and extra dishes seemed like a lot of effort for a few cups of hot chocolate. A month and a half (and one global pandemic) later, I am suddenly in the mood for doing things the slow way.
And sure, I miss my friends and my usual routine, but there are worse ways to spend an drizzly evening than sipping chocolate out of a great gift mug while your dog tears around the backyard at full speed just for the sheer joy of running.