I spent the weekend huddled in at home…it’s been in the 40s here in LA. That’s a serious chill for us Angelenos. And besides, I got my car in for servicing late Friday, forgetting that I’d be without a car for several days over a pretty critical weekend when I should be out getting ‘things’ done. So I decided to get all zen about it and make the best of my house arrest. I went for a full on PJ chic, I cranked up the heat, did a little bit of online shopping, and experimented with some serious comfort food. Like this Chai Cocoa.
I love cocoa, but sometimes it can be cloyingly sweet and after a few sips I’ve had enough. These warm Indian spices make it a more sophisticated experience, and I happily traded in my morning coffee for a big mug of it. I used all the spices you normally find in Chai tea, and subbed in a rich thick cocoa for the tea. It gives hot cocoa a whole new lease on life, and I think it would be THE perfect thing to keep warm in a crock pot for a winter brunch. I particularly like this idea because, while I love the spices in chai tea, I don’t love black tea. This gives me those warm exotic flavors in a base of thick chocolate. Win win.
- 5 cups whole milk
- 4 Tbsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 Tbsp confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 4 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in 2 pieces
- 6 whole cloves
- 1/2 tsp white peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp whole allspice
- 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp cardamom pods, lightly crushed
- 3 thin slices fresh ginger
- a used vanilla bean (optional but delicious)
- Pour the milk into a saucepan and put over low heat.
- Mix the cocoa, sugar, and cornstarch with a little water to make a loose paste. Pour the paste into the milk and stir or whisk to combine.
- Add the whole spices and let the cocoa slowly heat until it just comes to a simmer. The longer you let it steep, the stronger the spice flavor will be.
- Strain into large mugs and serve with whipped cream. Garnish with a star anise if you like.
Here’s to a productive week!