But there's been something missing, in spite of so much beauty. It's a simple thing, but something that usually teams up with cold weather, the kind that condenses your breath every time you walk outside.
Mention a cup of steaming hot cocoa in the winter, and even hardened coffee addicts will lose focus, and gaze dreamy-eyed into distant childhood memories.
Everyone has his/her own version of what constitutes a perfect cup of hot cocoa. Yes, the basic pleasurable taste is something most people can agree on, but what actually goes into the experience of warm, smooth melting chocolate drink as it slides down the throat requires a bit more explanation.
Cocoa and drinking chocolate are very different. The most important difference is that drinking chocolate is actually melted chocolate, has added sugar and a much higher fat content than cocoa.
Cocoa bean processing creates two distinct types of cocoa; naturally processed, which is very strong and bitter, and Dutch processed, in which alkali is added to the beans, and which then forms a darker but less bitter powder, with many complex chocolate flavour tones.
Just like wine sommeliers, experienced chocolatiers are able to define many different tastes within the group of Dutch processed cocoas, and for taste and solubility this is the recommended type.
Cocoa can impact your health!
There are some truly astounding statistics regarding demonstrable health effects from daily cocoa dietary intake. Some studies have been funded by Mars inc., who have patented a cocoa process that preserves the rich, health preserving flavonols in cocoa. That's why the quality and type of cocoa is so important for that perfect cup.
Cocoa flavanols and dementia
Can you believe it? That's one of the best reasons you can imagine to smugly justify drinking lots of delicious cocoa! It's practically a duty!
Everyone has different ideas about what constitutes perfection in a mug or cup of cocoa, but this method is really probably the ultimate taste of heaven on a winter's day.
The ultimate perfect cup of cocoa!
The first step is to make a chocolate syrup.
For this mix together 1/4 cup of water, 1 teaspoon of sugar (or to taste) , or a dash of stevia, and 2 tablespoons of cocoa in a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Now zap the mixture in the microwave for 40 seconds, or until really hot.
Add 1 1/2 cups milk, zap again until just about to boil. ( coconut milk would be fine, too.)
Remove from the microwave, add just a dash of vanilla.
Now find the nicest large mug you own, and pour the cocoa into it. Top your creation with a puffy swirl of whipped cream, definitely not the fake kind. Now that is perfection, lightly disguised as the creamiest, most decadent hot cocoa you have ever imbibed!
Someone has to do it!
In closing, here are a few links to the latest posts in the Weeblyhood...
- flashPress presents, Indie Biz: New Harmony's Antique Emporium via the Pumpkin Run Pulse
- marcoujor's musings presents, Meet Shauna Bowling: The Inside Story via Inspiration Station
Thank you for the visit and the read, and wishing you a beautiful weekend.