Adapted a little from Cook’s Illustrated, this hot chocolate mix from Smitten Kitchen is “the ideal homemade gift to pack up for friends and family. It is both rich and deeply chocolaty, without being excessively sweet”. Add some fluffy marshmallows to dunk in or a tee-weeny bit of good quality espresso if you want to do it up further. I believe I’ll be making several jars of this chocolate mix well ahead to be sure to have it on hand as we edge towards our tropical winter. There can only be a handful of things that can make you smile on a cold, winter day and a mug of homemade hot chocolate is one of them.

DECADENT HOT CHOCOLATE MIX

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar

1 tablespoon (8 grams) cornstarch

3 ounces (85 grams) semi or bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

1/2 cup (40 grams) cocoa powder, any kind you like

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or seeds from fresh vanilla bean

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt or 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Method:

  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until they turn into a fine powder.

  • The mixture keeps well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 months.

  • To use Decadent Mix: Heat one cup of milk in a saucepan over medium heat until steamy.

  • Add 3 tablespoons hot cocoa mix. Whisk for another minute or two till it begins to simmer.

  • Mix should be completely dissolved. Pour into mug, top with mini-marshmallows or cream.

  • Yield: Just under 1 3/4 cups mix, enough for 9 cups; mixture packs up well in a 2-cup jar.

Decadent Hot Chocolate Mix

Start your Sunday with these beautiful, coffee-infused streusel muffins for brunch and relax before taking the plunge for yet another hectic day at work.

COFFEE STREUSEL MUFFINS

Ingredients:

For the Muffin Batter

225g all purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

70g caster sugar

150 ml full cream milk

2 eggs, room temperature

115g butter, melted

2 tablespoons instant coffee

1 tablespoon boiling water

50g chopped almonds

For the Streusel Topping

70g self raising flour

70g demerara sugar

2 tablespoons butter, cold

1 teaspoon ground mixed spice

1 tablespoon cold water

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 190 oC/375 oF. Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin pan and line with paper cups.
  • Sift flour and baking powder together into a large mixing bowl, then stir in the caster sugar.
  • Whisk milk, eggs, melted butter, coffee and boiling water and pour onto the dry ingredients.

  • Add the chopped almonds and mix lightly together. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin pan.
  • For the topping, mix flour and demerara sugar together in a bowl. Rub in butter with fingers.
  • Combine until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Sprinkle in mixed spice and cold water.

  • Bring the mixture together in loose crumbs. Sprinkle topping evenly over the muffins tops.
  • Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes. Cover with foil if topping browns too quickly.
  • Leave to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove and dust with icing sugar just before serving.

ITALIAN EASTER BREAD

Ingredients:

For the Bread Dough

2 cups all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons whole milk

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 orange, zested & juiced

1 sachet instant yeast

1/2 cup margarine, melted

2 eggs, room temperature

1/8 teaspoon salt

For the Sugar Glaze

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon whole milk

Coloured sprinkles

Method:

  • Place flour in a large mixing bowl. Heat milk in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • It should not be too hot. While the milk is warming, place sugar in a small bowl. Add the orange zest.
  • With your fingertips, rub the zest into the sugar until completely incorporated and sugar is moistened.

  • Once milk reaches the correct temperature, stir in sugar and zest mixture, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  • Add yeast, stir, and let sit for 10 minutes until it turns frothy. Add milk and yeast mixture to the flour.
  • Mix everything into a dough (it will be shaggy). Next, add melted margarine and orange juice and mix.

  • In a small bowl, use a fork to lightly beat together the eggs, salt, and anise oil. Add this to the dough.
  • Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is soft and elastic. It will remain slightly tacky.
  • Place the dough in an oiled medium bowl, turning to coat, and cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap.

  • Allow to rise till doubled in volume for 1 hour. Meanwhile, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and divide in two pieces, then divide each half into two pieces.
  • Roll two dough pieces into 24-inch long ropes. Loosely twist them together. Transfer to a baking sheet.

  • Bring ends of the braided loaf together to form a ring, twisting and pinching the ends together to seal.
  • Repeat the same with the remaining two pieces of dough so that you have two circular, braided loaves.
  • Brush with melted butter, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  • While the dough is rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake until golden brown for 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Prepare glaze in the meanwhile.
  • For the glaze, whisk together sugar and milk, adding more if necessary to reach the desired consistency.

  • Use a pastry brush to brush the glaze onto the top and sides of the bread, and decorate with sprinkles.
  • The bread is best served at room temperature. Wrap well in plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
  • Bread keeps for up to 3 days in an airtight container. Yields 2 large loaves or 4 medium-sized loaves.

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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