It seems like winter is officially here, and the cold winds blowing outside make us even more eager than usual to curl up under a pile of blankets on the couch to watch our favorite tv shows or pick up that book we’ve been meaning to read since mid-summer. But sometimes, even that pile of blankets isn’t enough to warm us up from the inside out. Thankfully, Ina Garten just offered up the perfect solution. She shared her recipe for peppermint hot chocolate, and it sounds like just the ticket for keeping our bodies and spirits nice and cozy during the long, cold, months ahead.
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Garten herself said it best in her Instagram post. “This holiday season will be a lot different for everyone and that’s why I think it’s even more important to mark the occasion. Whether it’s a birthday, an anniversary, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or New Year’s Eve – let’s celebrate everything this year!” We think that’s a fantastic idea, and this indulgent drink is the perfect way to celebrate.
For starters, it calls for three different kinds of chocolate, which is just so Barefoot Contessa of her. You’ll need bittersweet chocolate, semisweet chocolate, and good cocoa powder – Garten suggests Valrhona. In the recipe note, she also says “the better the chocolate, the better the drink. I use Lindt, Callebaut, or Valrhona chocolates.” For normal cup of cocoa we’re fine with the powdered packets, but this celebratory tipple calls for the good stuff.
The chocolate is melted into a blend of whole milk and half and half, which makes this hot drink extra-rich. Then, the peppermint is added by way of crushed candy candes. The cocoa in each mug is topped with whipped cream and more crushed candy canes, and a whole candy cane is added to each cup to be used as a stirrer. If you want even more peppermint flavor, we suggest adding a half teaspoon of peppermint extract to the hot chocolate along with the vanilla Garten calls for (Garten’s favorite vanilla brand, Neilsen-Massey, makes quality peppermint extract, too); a shot of peppermint schnapps for the adults in the room wouldn’t be remiss, either.
Each sip is rich and chocolatey, with a cooling effect from the peppermint, and a creamy finish thanks to the homemade sweetened whipped cream. It’s so good, even a pile of the coziest blankets imaginable can’t compare!
Before you go, check out Ina Garten’s easy weeknight dinner recipes below: