One of the reasons holiday season is everyone’s favorite time of year is that it’s such a feast for the senses. In particular, our sense of smell is an important memory trigger, which is why the whiff of certain aromas can take us back to childhood. One perfect way of conjuring up Christmas is by filling your home with the festive aroma of warming spices in mugs of hot cocoa.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 cloves
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon whole allspice
- 2 star anise
- 4 cups milk
- Combine cocoa powder and sugar in a saucepan. In a separate saucepan, add cinnamon stick, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and star anise to the milk over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until almost simmering (don’t boil).
- Set aside, covered, for 10 minutes to let flavors develop. Strain solids and discard. Re-heat the milk until it becomes hot, not quite to a boil. Add just a few tablespoons of the hot milk into the cocoa mix, and stir into a smooth paste with a wooden spoon.
- Gradually add the remainder of the milk and continue stirring until fully incorporated. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, then froth with an immersion blender until creamy and foamy. Divide into four pre-warmed glasses, and serve each with a cinnamon stick.