It’s not over until it’s over.

Let’s not call it quits on all the decadence just yet. The holiday spirit is still lingering in the air and for many of us lucky souls, our palates have become so accustomed to sweet treats. It seems that much of the country is experiencing intense weather and plenty of snow. Whether you are recovering from difficult holiday travel or tucked snug inside, my guess is that clutching a mug of spiced cocoa will hit the spot.

The spice mixture I created for this cocoa was inspired by Dutch cookies called speculaas. They have the usual gingerbread spices and sometimes an added bite from a touch white pepper. If you didn’t know the white pepper is in this recipe, you probably wouldn’t guess it by sipping the cocoa. It adds a subtle, additional warmth to the back of your throat.

I intended to make large jars full of this cocoa mix and give it as Christmas gifts but that became one more project heaped on my “didn’t get around to it” pile. Instead, I have had a bowl of the spice mixture on my counter for weeks and have sprinkled it into cocoa and most recently steel cut oatmeal, which was delicious along with a large spoon of brown sugar.

The flavor and quality of this cocoa will be determined entirely by the type of chocolate you buy. Though the price is higher, Callebaut, Valrohna or something comparable will transform this into a decadent sipping experience.

Gingerbread Spice Hot Chocolate Mix
Makes 8 servings

2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground all spice
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp finely ground white pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup vanilla sugar (or regular white sugar), see recipe below
1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder (I like Valrohna)
1 cup (about 8 ounces) finely chopped high quality dark, semi-sweet chocolate (I used Callebaut)

Mix everything except the chopped dark chocolate in a bowl with a whisk until well combined. Stir in the dark chocolate until mixed. To make cocoa, stir 1/4 cup of the mixture into 8 ounces of hot milk. Adjust the amount of chocolate you want for weaker or stronger cocoa.

How to Make Vanilla Sugar:
1 whole vanilla bean
2 cups granulated sugar

Put sugar in a bowl. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the insides with a knife. Put the small seeds in the bowl with the sugar. Stir with a whisk to combine until the small black seeds are evenly mixed with the sugar. Put the sugar in an airtight container. Press the vanilla pod into the middle (this will give some extra flavor and aroma). Let the sugar sit for at least 48 hours or ideally, up to 2 weeks. Remove the pod before using.

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8 Responses to “Gingerbread Spice Hot Chocolate Mix”

  1. Jade Says:

    This is such a fab idea! I know what you mean about piles of things that you never get round to doing but I love this mix. I think I might make a batch in readiness for the NYE recovery!

  2. The Food Hound Says:

    I am so behind on my edible gifts, too- I’m thinking I make them in time for President’s Day and I’ll still have friends, haha. This looks awesome, and I love that there’s chopped chocolate in it. Makes it more like chocolat chaud than a boring old hot cocoa!

  3. Arnold Hood Says:

    i love appetizers because they are one of the tastiest part of a meal aside from the dessert.^

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  4. Helaine Gindi Says:

    i always love to take ice crams and brownies for desserts. they are really yummy.`

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  5. Richard Woods Says:

    Gingerbread hot chocolates are delicious! They taste like Christmas in a cup, don’t they?!

  6. Lisa@darkchocolatebrands Says:

    I love chocolate, prepared in every possible way!!Thank you for this wonderful recipe!!!

  7. えせひて Says:

    Those look super yummy – how did you get your swiss meringue buttercream to pipe – I can never get mine to pipe!

  8. Marko Says:

    Thanks for the lovely recipe. I just tried it out and me and my kids are very happy with the outcome. The only thing I would change the next time is the amount of salt that you’ve suggested. Double it! I know a lot of you like it that way. I don’t know why everybody fears the salt in sweet bread. It’s a must! And if you add a bit more to it the bread will become much more intense (also the chocolate reveals more of its character).

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