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Christmas traditions

Spiced hot chocolate

Spiced hot chocolate

Christmas and hot chocolate go hand in hand. My humble opinion but there is something very cosy about hot chocolate and dark, winter, Christmassy nights.

From around bonfire night onwards, there's nothing that will get me into a cafe or, indeed, home like the mere promise of a hot chocolate. It's a taste my daughter has taken some time to acquire, and I am still not convinced she likes the drink or just the fact it evokes cosiness like nothing else.

I get my love of chocolate from my dear late mum. She loved chocolate but I'm not sure if she liked hot chocolate although I did once buy her a tin of spicy Mexican coco from San Diego and it was consumed, the tin remains in her house to this day with hair bobbles in it. Random but so her. And I hope to pass my love of hot chocolate onto my daughter, because why wouldn't you?

Christmas traditions, I have found as a parent, evolve over time. I want Christmas to be every bit as special for our little girl as they were for me, my memories of childhood Christmases usually involve being snug with my family. So on Christmas Eve we give my little girl a box that is essentially a cosy kit which consists of new pjs, a dvd (I refuse to download a movie onto her tablet for this occasion!), cookies, hot chocolate, and a bedtime book.

So this version of hot chocolate is inspired by the coco tin at my mum's and is truly a wonderfully warming, cosy drink. Although I have yet to try it out on the small person in our house but these quantities only serve 2. Give it a go and see what you think.

You will need:

500 ml milk of your choice (I'm a soya milk kind of girl for porridge but for hot chocolate it has to be cow's milk!), 2 tablespoons of coco or cacao powder, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, a pinch of chilli powder, 1 cinnamon stick, and 1/4 teaspoon of grated nutmeg. Optional; 2 star anise (I reckon it would take it to another level but my other half doesn't agree so I left it out).

What you gotta do:

Mix all the ingredients together over a low heat, bring to a simmer and whisk. Take the pan from the heat and leave to cool. Leave it covered in the fridge for at least an hour to let the flavours develop, up to a day is better. Reheat in a pan when you're ready for it, just before serving - give it a good whisk to make it light and airy - it's a textural thing!

Served in my favourite hug mug. Bliss!

Served in my favourite hug mug. Bliss!

Enjoy!