A miniature Limoges plate painted with a winter landscape, ca.1882-1890.
One of the redeeming qualities of Winter is that it makes drinking a cup of hot chocolate especially enjoyable. Hot chocolate, which might be too heavy in other seasons, is as welcome as a warm blanket in the winter months. A cup of rich Viennese hot chocolate with whipped cream is often better than dessert. Yet I sometimes prefer a less intense version when I'm at home and so will replace cow's milk with vanilla soymilk for a lighter, but still creamy option.
Chocolate combines well with other flavors and so hot chocolate is a perfect base for inventive confections. I have used peanut butter here but one could get much more experimental, with ingredients like sesame, black pepper, curry powder, etc. I've tried many different kinds and forms of chocolate with varying success. For the recipe below I have chosen cacao powder as it is easy to find and yields a quick cup.
An English Royal Worcester Chocolate Pot and Chocolate Cup, ca. 1880.
Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate Recipe
If you have some extra canned pumpkin puree, try mixing a Tbs with the peanut butter before adding it to the milk.
1 cup cow's milk or soymilk
2 Tbs high quality cacao powder
2 tsp sugar
2 Tbs organic all natural creamy peanut butter
1. Heat milk on stove until steaming. Whisk in cacao powder and sugar. Taste and add more sugar or cacao to your liking.
2. Whisk in peanut butter.
3. Pour into a mug and top with a dash of allspice.