Happy Endings

It's the time of the year when a mug of hot chocolate can be a truly extraordinary experience. It's a kind of comfort food for the soul. And when you add peppermint flavor and a candy cane stirring stick, you make it a holiday treat that will bring the kid out in all of us.

Most people don't think of beverages as proper desserts, but this rich hot cocoa is really exactly that. You can add a cookie or two if you must, but try to keep them low sugar versions or, better yet, forego them altogether! Snuggle up in front of the fire, hang mistletoe on the Christmas tree, or roll out sugar cookie dough. Take the opportunity to enjoy the sights, sounds, and aromas of the season. And then, take a sip from your mug and taste the holidays!

As always, I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments in the discussion board using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . Enjoy!

Peppermint Hot Cocoa

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 4 cups (1 qt./1 liter) milk
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • Dash salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon mint extract OR 3 tablespoons crushed hard peppermint candy OR 2 to 3 tablespoons white creme de menthe
  • Peppermint candy stick
  • Miniature marshmallows or sweetened whipped cream
  • Chocolate curls

Stir together sugar, cocoa and salt in medium saucepan; stir in water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil and stir 2 minutes. Add milk; stirring constantly, heat to serving temperature. Do Not Boil.

Remove from heat; add peppermint flavoring of your choice. Beat with rotary beater or whisk until foamy. Serve topped with marshmallows or whipped cream, if desired, and a peppermint stick for stirring.

  • Yields: 5 servings
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes