I practice self-deceptive bird watching. Telling myself I am doing important scientific observation, I while away chunks of potentially productive time staring out the window. I never get tired of watching the chickadees.
We’ve kept a bird feeder attached to the window near the kitchen for many, many years, and we host whole flocks of winged friends all year long; cardinals, finches, nuthatches, juncos, woodpeckers, jays, and titmice are frequent guests. But the chickadees are my favorite. They seem cheerful and energetic, gracious, and friendly. Unlike the cardinals, they are not shy. Unlike the jays, they are not competitive, territorial, greedy, or loud. I think if more people were like chickadees, the world would be a much more agreeable place. So, how about a new movement? Chickadees for President!
I was hanging out thus occupied during the nor’easter the other day, thinking how cozy it was to be in my warm kitchen while the wind howled and sleet lashed the windows. It occurred to me that the only thing that would make the afternoon more perfect was hot chocolate. My dear friend and tech angel, Mary agreed with my assessment and came over to join me (these are Mary’s pretty, nonpotter hands in the process photos).
Mary is eating vegan these days, so I had a confab with my culinary advisor and sister, Wendy, who made a few suggestions about the best combo of milks; Mary and I got cooking. I pulled out some Magic Meringues for garnish.
I like really rich, really chocolatey, thick, hot chocolate that is like warm, liquid pudding. It is so intense you really don’t want a whole mug. Sip it from an espresso cup or shot glass.
Totally Luxurious Comforting Vegan Hot Chocolate
Makes about 4 servings, 2 oz each.
¾ cup almond milk
¼ cup coconut milk*
2 tbs. cane sugar
2 tbs. cocoa powder
½ tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cornstarch (optional)
*You may use either full fat or “lite” culinary coconut milk.
optional garnishes: shaved chocolate, meringues, and/or marshmallows
optional additions: cayenne pepper, cinnamon
Mix all ingredients except cornstarch in a small saucepan. Bring to boil. If you want to add the cornstarch, mix it with a teaspoon or so cold water, and add to the pot. Continue to heat until the chocolate thickens.
Pour the hot chocolate through a fine sieve to insure that it will be smooth. Serve immediately with or without garnishes or additions.
Feel free to add rum, bourbon, or vanilla vodka.
Variation: If you enjoy dairy, you may substitute 1 cup of whole milk for the two alternative milks. Or, to be really rich, use 3/4 cup whole milk and 1/4 cup heavy cream. A lighter version can be made with 2% milk, but I wouldn’t go lower fat than that.
Make this for your sweetie on Valentine’s Day! Drink it while gazing out the window; bird watching is optional!