Strawberry Hot Chocolate

 

 

I meant to post this for valentines day…. but life has been hectic since christmas. So, here it goes! If you’re like me, and appreciate some hot chocolate any day of the year, this one’s for you! (If not, just keep it in mind for the next cold snap…)SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Strawberries may very well be my favorite thing to pair with chocolate. (Nothing personal, peanut butter!) They’re just such a lovely balance of sweetness and acidity, fragrance and fiber, crunch and juiciness… My very favorite kind of strawberries are fresh off the plant, still warm from the sun. When they’re out of season, though, any strawberry is a treat.

This strawberry cocoa is the genuine article! My husband isn’t usually a fan of hot chocolate, and he finished his mug really fast! So, without further ado, the recipe:

 

1/2 cup dry cocoa

12 oz can sweetened condensed milk

1/8 tsp salt

7 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Roughly 2 cups diced fresh strawberries

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Stir together wet ingredients (including strawberries) in a large pot on low to medium heat. Add cocoa and salt slowly, to prevent clumping. Stir until combined, and heat the mixture until it’s the desired temperature for drinking. Once you have all the ingredients in, you could even turn the burner up a bit, so that it would get hot faster. Just be sure to stir all the way down to the bottom of the pot, so nothing gets stuck or burnt down there.

Alternatively, you could do the cocoa in a crockpot (on high for 2 hours or low for 4) However, if you do, I would recommend keeping the strawberries out until right before serving.

The strawberry goodness soaks into the cocoa more as it cooks, so I’d recommend the stovetop method, for optimum strawberry-ness in the cocoa, as well as keeping some firmness intact in the strawberries themselves.

If I did it again, I’d have it with whipped cream, because everyone knows that strawberries and cream are amazing together!

 

Amazing Cookie Cupcakes

Oh, Pinterest Recipes. I have yet to be steered wrong by a recipe I’ve found on Pinterest.

What is it this time, you may ask?

Chocolate chip cookie cupcake.

For some reason, carrot sticks are a perfect companion to these!
For some reason, carrot sticks are a perfect companion to these!

Oh, yes.

I just couldn’t resist taking a bite out of this lovely thing while it was hot.

I found the truly wonderful recipe here. It was a great idea, but as I read it, all I could think was… “does it have to take so long?”

It didn’t. Once I mixed everything together, (with mini chocolate chips in the place of normal ones) the dough was so thick, I didn’t think it needed to chill. I patted the dough down into greased muffin tins, and baked the whole batch (8-10 cupcakes) for 15-20 minutes. Don’t let it cool. You’ll miss out.

From first glance to first bite, all in under an hour! Time to kick back and enjoy the delicious “fruits” of my labors. 😀

Cookie Alterations

I have a cookie recipe that I love dearly.

Gingersnaps.

photo courtesy of iStockphoto

They have ginger, molasses, wheat, and eggs! Surely these are healthy.

Right???

I have a problem. I mean it. These cookies are invading my thoughts on a regular basis.

I have a recipe. And I know how to use it. But the problem was this: I grew up with another kind of gingersnap, which I love even more. Oatmeal gingersnaps! In fact, I never had a plain gingersnap until I had grown up, married, and moved out of the state.

I was nearly into my third trimester, bemoaning the first of many evenings with swollen feet as I went through the steps, finally taking the perfect product from the oven.

I loved them. My husband loved them. The baby kicked like she was ready to swim the English Channel. They were a hit! But I couldn’t quite drown out the voice in my head that insisted on gingersnaps with OATS!

Fast forward a few months.

Sleepy little screecher. :) How sweet.
Sleepy little screecher. 🙂 How sweet.

Eve is nearly six months old, and teething. My husband and I are constantly nursing matching headaches, these days, because of how very verbal she is. She screeches, babbles, yells, etc– constantly. Sometimes it’s nice, hearing her “bblaa da da da” away as she chews on her toys, but her screeches are serious business. Earsplitting.

We do what we can for her, but she still leaves our heads achey.

But wait! Ginger is a natural painkiller!!

Cue baking montage. This time, my brain nags, use oats!!!

So I do. Double the ginger, for the natural ache-soothing, raw sugar on the outsides, and Done!

It's past the baby's bed time. Do YOU know where your cookies are?
It’s past the baby’s bed time. Do YOU know where your cookies are?

Here’s the recipe:

Extra-Strength Oatmeal Gingersnaps:

  • Cream:

3/4 cup shortening

1 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup molasses (next time, I’m going to try blackstrap molasses!)

1 egg

  • Beat until slightly fluffy.
  • Sift together:

2 1/4 cups sifted AP flour (someday I’ll try whole wheat)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ginger

1  teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

  • stir into molasses mixture.

Add 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats.

  • Mix into dough.
  • Form into small balls, and roll in raw sugar.
  • place 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 375* for 12 minutes.
  • Allow to cool and solidify.
  • makes 2-5 dozen, depending on your ball size. I usually do 1-inch balls, and I’ve never gotten more than 2 1/2 dozen out of this recipe.