Coconut Hot Chocolate (with a kick!)

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As Amanda wrote on Wednesday, inspiration can come from many sources- a memorable night out, magazine article, blog, book, phone app, museum exhibit, the sky's the limit! When looking for interesting and new ideas for cocktail and drink recipes (or any recipe really) I often start with The New York Times cooking app or website. It's a great source for trusted and tasty recipes and is free to download and use. Even better, it's chock full with gorgeous imagery, easy to read and follow instructions, and plenty of how-to videos for the novice chef. With a simple click of a button you can save any recipe you'd like to your Recipe Box and can create recipe collections to help with planning for a big meal or event. The app even starts to make recipe recommendations for you once you start saving recipes in your Recipe Box!

While brainstorming for ideas for the week, Amanda had suggested creating a new hot chocolate recipe which I thought was a great idea for this time of year when anything warm is always appreciated. I searched recipes on the NYT Cooking app and found a really rich and delicious looking recipe for Coconut Hot Chocolate. I really liked the concept of creating a dairy-free hot chocolate and the meringue topping Melissa Clark uses in this recipe sounded like such an interesting alternative to the traditional whipped cream.  Homemade hot chocolate really is super easy to make and way tastier than the powdered packet variety. I amped up the recipe with the addition of a boozy liqueur, because well why not?, and I have to say I was really happy with the results! This decadent treat could pretty much be classified as a dessert and would make a great after-dinner treat for you and a loved one or friend. Great for Valentine's Day!

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Coconut Hot Chocolate

*Adapted from Melissa Clark's recipe from the New York Times. Makes 2 decadent servings.

2 Tb. cocoa powder

2 cups coconut milk (from a carton, not a can)

2-3 Tb. white or brown sugar (to taste)

pinch of salt

1 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1-2 oz. of Bailey's or Kahlua (optional but recommended!)

For the meringue topping:

1 large egg white

3 Tb. superfine sugar

To make:

  1. In a small saucepan combine the coconut milk, brown or white sugar, and salt. Let the mixture simmer, stirring it until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add the cocoa powder and chocolate and whisk together until smooth. Add in the vanilla and stir to combine. Divide the hot chocolate between 2 cups and add anywhere from 1/2 an ounce to an ounce (or more to taste!) of Bailey's or Kahlua to each cup, stirring to combine.
  3. To make the meringue topping, beat the egg white on medium speed in an electric mixer until it begins to foam up, about 1 minute. As the mixer is running begin adding the superfine sugar, tablespoon by tablespoon. Continue beating until the egg white stiffens to soft shiny peaks, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add a dollop of meringue onto each cup of hot chocolate and enjoy!

Have a great weekend!!

-c.