Monday, December 26, 2022

Homemade Barely Spiked Hot Chocolate flavored w/ vanilla, Amaretto, whiskey-soaked nibs

Chocolate of the Day

Homemade Barely Spiked Hot Chocolate
(flavored with vanilla, Amaretto, whiskey-soaked nibs)
Good +
Weight: Approx. 8 fl. oz. (30 mL) glass
Calories: 175 calories (estimate) for 1 glass
Cost: N/A - various ingredients already on hand
Purchased from: N/A - various stories

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Holiday Spirits. After over-doing it a bit this past week (multiple chocolate entries per day), I am relaxing with a homemade, very lightly spiked hot chocolate.

Today's homemade hot chocolate was a blend of hot milk, dark chocolate (2 squares of dark chocolate + 1/2 teaspoon dark cocoa powder), and a very small amount of melted butter, flavored with vanilla, 1 Tablespoon of whiskey-soaked cacao nibs (strained out after heating), and 1/4 teaspoon of Amaretto (almond flavored liqueur). The alcohol in the whiskey was no longer detectable but the flavor remained in the cocoa nibs.*

No sugar or added sweeteners. And very little alcohol. So, I was able to taste all the other wonderful ingredients. 

I've felt very grateful for being able to spend time with friends and family this holiday week. This morning, however, I enjoyed a chocolate that was less buzzy, and more relaxing. This was closer to a hot milk than a sweetened hot chocolate. The wonderful thing about cacao is that it doesn't have to be candy to be enjoyed.

Happy Holidays all.

*Spirits-infused cacao nibs (pieces of cacao beans) are very easy to make and can be used in baking and to infuse flavor into desserts and beverages. (Adding cacao nibs to brownies or cookies is worth trying.)

To make your own, put about 1/4 of a cup of cacao nibs into a small glass jar with a metal screw lid. Pour whiskey, rum (or your spirit of choice) over the nibs, enough to barely cover them. Then put the lid on and put them in a cool, dark place (dark cabinet, refrigerator door). Over time the alcohol dissipates; but the flavor remains, and the nibs are left with a more hydrated, softer crunch.

If you like the results, I recommend experimenting with different cacao bean varieties and origins (e.g. cacao nibs from a specific country if available). Different cacao origins will have a slightly different aroma and flavor. Some may be fruitier; some may have a slightly nuttier flavor. And others will smell more like "true" chocolate (brownies).

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