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Oh My Stars! Hot Chocolate

We took a Thermos and two large china mugs when we went star-gazing last night near the intersection of Tiptop Road and Highway 49.  Oak trees were silhouetted like black lace on the horizon.  The sun-glow receded, and the inky sky revealed a million stars.  The Big Dipper.  Arcturus.  The Scorpion.

Star-gazing and a Thermos are a tradition with us.  Sometimes it’s hot soup.  This time it was chocolate, and not the “instant” kind.  It’s easy and economical to make hot chocolate from powdered cocoa, and the result is delicious and satisfying– without all the mystifying additives you find in the “instant” packets.

Recipes abound on the Internet and in cookbooks.  I like  the one in an old edition of the “Joy of Cooking,” and I pep it up by making it less dilute.  Here’s how I make enough for two large mugs:

  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 1/4 cups scalded milk

In the top of a metal double-boiler I stir the dry ingredients together and add the hot water.  I leave the pan over low direct heat for a minute as I continue to stir the mixture.  Then I place it over the bottom half of the double-boiler, which contains the requisite amount of boiling water.  Now I whisk in the hot milk.  If there is time, I allow the mixture to continue to cook at moderate heat, covered, over the boiling water for 10 minutes.  Then I give it a whisk and pour it into the Thermos.

Add stars and you have the recipe for a delicious evening.

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