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Peppermint and white hot chocolate

Taking some time to read and write blogs has made my life a little better in countless ways: it has given me the courage to make outlandish homeware decisions like buying a teal velvet upholstered bed. It has reintroduced me to the relaxing world of Lush bath bombs. It has given me a reflective, creative outlet, and introduced me to a community of thoughtful, intelligent and artistic people. And, possibly most importantly, it has led me to be the type of person who makes their own hot chocolate. Come this time of year, the supermarket aisle with the tea and coffee is stacked with all the brands and all the flavours of easy peasy just add boiling water or milk hot chocolate. So who (but maybe chefs, and chocolatiers) would forgo those aisles full of easy peasy hot chocolate to grate, and heat and simmer? Lifestyle bloggers that is who.

The best hot chocolate I've ever had was in Angelina's in Paris, where I think they just basically melt bars of chocolate and serve it in a tea cup. They give you a jug of double whipped cream to help you take away the richness. Now that is the type of hot chocolate I am talking about, one so sweet and rich that double cream waters it down. None of this add boiling water supermarket stuff.

Not being a Parisian patisserie chef I don't have the Angelina recipe (though I would suggest melting a bar of dairy milk would get you quite close) but I love this recipe from Smitten Kitchen which is still rich and intense and delicious, but is maybe a little more drinkable day to day. Every year I make Smitten Kitchen's mix to include (along side some of my own blood and sweat and tears) in Christmas hampers for my friends and family, but this year I am getting in early with a little bit of experimenting. Christmas 2017 will be a real hot chocolate treat. I've swapped a little bit of the dark rich chocolate with some sweet white chocolate, but counteracted that with some peppermint to freshen it up. The result is deliciousness, in my opinion.

Recipe for Peppermint and white hot chocolate (adapted from Smitten Kitchen's decadent hot chocolate mix)

100g of granulated sugar
Tablespoon of cornstarch (for thickening)
70g of 70% + chocolate (broken into pieces)
50g of white chocolate (broken into pieces)
40g of cocoa or raw cacao powder
1.5 teaspoons of peppermint extract

Pop all of the above into a blender and blend until you get a powdery mixture. (I just use my nutri bullet - definitely not what it was intended for! - but make sure it doesn't get too hot and then the chocolate melts).

Add 3 tbsp of this mixture to a steam cup of hot milk and stir. Add marshmallows and voila - the perfect company for a Sunday afternoon in.

PS. More comfort food - 5 ways to pimp your rice pudding.
PPS. Sorry this is a little late than promised on my about page - being a bit of a lazy bones today..

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