I remember coming in from a long day of building snow forts to my mother’s smile and warm cup of hot chocolate with that cover of marshmallow “Fluff” that stuck to your nose. We are on our third or fourth straight day of waking up to zero or subzero temps although they say we may get above the teens this afternoon, not counting the wind chill that is. Yesterday Deb and Nicole decided that a cup would be just the right thing. So Nicole and I grabbed our coats and braved the elements. I just like the walking and the company part. This morning waiting for me in email a message from Cook’s Country this recipe sounds perfect for home or office.
Why this recipe works: We wanted a recipe for hot cocoa that was creamy, rich, and big on chocolate flavor. Nonfat dry milk lent our Hot Cocoa Mix recipe a sweet dairy flavor, especially when we reconstituted the mix with hot milk instead of hot water. Confectioners’ sugar worked best in our recipe because it dissolved quickly, and cornstarch helped thicken the hot cocoa. And for complex chocolate flavor and a soft, creamy texture, we used a combination of white chocolate and cocoa powder.
Makes about 20 servings
- 3 cups nonfat dry milk
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 1/2 cups Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- Combine ingredients in large bowl. Working in two batches, pulse ingredients in food processor until chocolate is finely ground. Store in airtight container for up to 3 months. To make hot cocoa, stir 1/3 cup of this mix into 1 cup of hot milk. Top with whipped cream or mini marshmallows.
When midsummer rolls in just before the birds and chipmunks decide that their buffet is ready we grab what we can and make one of our old time favorite’s deserts, snack sometimes even breakfast. This has been one of our staples since 1991 the good thing is you choose the berries to change it up. I have tried nets and sprays but nothing really helps so with the berries, as with my garden the year before, I decided to share. If only they understood the concept. This year I only did a deck garden leaving the ground level for my herbs.
You can make this shortcake with any combination of fresh berries. Use 8 cups of your favorite mixture. 10 servings
- 2 pints strawberries
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 pint raspberries
- 1 pint blackberries
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- grated zest of 1 orange
- 10 Tbsp. butter
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
1. Wash and hull strawberries. Mash 1/4 of them with 3/4 cup of the sugar. Cut the rest in half or quarters. Combine mashed and cut up strawberries with raspberries and blackberries. Set aside.
2. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter and flour baking two 9″ cake pans. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, 1/4 cup sugar and orange zest. Cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles a coarse meal.
3. Stir in milk. Divide dough in half and put into pans with floured fingers.
4. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks.
5. Whip the cream with the remaining 2 Tbsp sugar until it holds soft peaks.
6. Just before serving put one shortcake layer on a serving plate. Top with about 3/4 of the fruit mixture, letting juice trickle down sides. Spread with about 3/4 of the whipped cream. Top with second layer. Spoon remaining
Last night Lyn and I had an appointment around dinner time. On our way back we had to make a pit stop and there it was McDonald’s staring me in the face. Although I had eaten a sandwich earlier and I was not really hungry in the back of my mind there were voices from the distant past. Niece Lauren’s quote “..they make very fine food there” toddler Mike’s voice and smile “happy meal!”, even my former road warrior days self “boy that hit the spot”. Maybe it was the blinding bright lights or the sort of happy faces of those waiting in line, I am not sure but I gave in, I was weak. So was Lyn she got a Shamrock shake minus the whipped cream.
What I thought I got
There we were back in the car and it was dark, thank you very much, safely on our way and I took my first bite. What did I just eat? All I tasted was air-filled white bread, pickle, extra sweet ketchup, onions and something else not quite sure it must have been meat. Fine food? Happy Meal? Satisfying? No, not one bit. BTW the shake was nothing but a vanilla shake with green food coloring. “They used to taste like mint” Lyn kept saying.
Probably closer to what I got
The trash can in the garage was our first stop and then for me some Tums just to play it safe.
I guess over the years my tastes have changed along with the quality of food that my palate expects but that for sure has cured me of any fast food cravings for a long long time.
Oh forgot to mention one thing remained consistent the after taste of what I can only closely associate with soap. What you never got your mouth washed out?
To those of you who still love this food more power to you and I have no less respect for you I was once there but I have changed. It’s me not you…….