First off, it isn't actually too weird that I'm enjoying hot chocolate in July. It hailed more than once this last week. We've come to almost expect afternoon rain (if not flooding). (I'm looking out at a bright, but very cloudy sky right now.)
Anyhow, after years of letting Smitten Kitchen linger on my to-read blog list, I read through all of the many, many archives. (I also bookmarked many, many recipes.)
And last night I tried my hand at my first Smitten Kitchen recipe: decadent hot chocolate mix.
I have a weird relationship with hot chocolate. I like it a lot. Or, rather, I like the idea of hot chocolate, but I'm just a little persnickety when it comes what I'll actually drink.
I don't like hot chocolate to be too milky (yeah, I know). And I don't like it to taste like it came from a packet. (This has to be totally in my head. I think I'm just a little, well, snobby about this. I don't know how else to describe it. But I don't at all like the idea of hot chocolate from individual packets.)
Trader Joe's used to be my go-to, with either their peppermint hot chocolate or, even better, their Conacado* dark hot chocolate, which, unfortunately, they stopped carrying quite a few years back.
TJ's only stocks the peppermint hot chocolate from about October or November until about January. I can't remember the exact months, I asked at one point, but I know they don't have it now. (At least not where I am.) So, not this past winter, but the two before that, I bought five to eight cans every time I went to TJ's, and we went there more often than we normally do, in hopes of stocking up for a year at a time. But I got a little burnt out on it. (I just found and recycled the last fifteen or so empty cans today. I was saving them because I had been giving them to my mom, but she's got plenty thanks to the last haul I brought her.)
And that's it. I'll sometimes try hot chocolate other places, and the ultimate hot chocolate at The Hub is very good, but I really like to make my own at home. (Also, I got The Hub's the other day, the second time I've had it, and I had a clump of unmelted bar chocolate in the bottom, which I don't love.)
So last night, in the midst of what is already a mess, I made an even bigger mess (think puffs of cocoa powder wafting out of the top of my tiny food processor), but I'm glad I did. And now I have my own little jar of mix to see off the empty canisters of my last hot chocolate love.
A couple of notes: I am the queen of blurry pictures. I don't know what it is. (Hmm, it could be that I've never read a camera manual.) So I took an already blurry picture and made it a little blurrier. Also, well, things are in a state of flux here in our tiny abode. That's code for it's a huge, cluttered mess, in a place where there isn't room for a huge anything. So, yes, I did use a piece of cardboard as a backdrop to this picture in the interest of hiding some of the piles of stuff.
I don't know how long this will last me, nor do I know how much it cost me. I'll try to figure out at some point how much it costs per jar. I always use more than the recommended amount of mix because my hot chocolate mug holds more than eight ounces. And I made this with water and not milk. Milk and I aren't really friends, and, like I said, I don't enjoy milky hot chocolate.
* I just realized I'd never looked this up before today.
And I realize that, at some point, I read this article discussing the difference between "hot chocolate" and "hot cocoa" and I still cannot decide which the Smitten Kitchen recipe is given the cocoa powder and the chopped chocolate (and the milk I didn't use but that shows up in the recipe). But it looks like I mean the latter just about every time I typed the former here.