I remember when we had a snow day as a kid, my brother and I would head out to the backyard and sled down the hill behind our house for hours on end. When our fingers were finally numb and our clothes soaked through, we’d tromp through the garage and down into the basement to throw our jackets, gloves and hats into the dryer. Then we were off to our rooms to change into cozy sweatpants while Mom whipped up hot chocolate and built a fire. Snow days were seriously the best.
As an adult, sometimes I get so caught up in the hassle of snow days that I forget I can still have fun. A few years ago, I remember calling my parents to catch up. My mom told me that she and my dad had been outside in the snow all day – playing. They made snow angels and built a snowman – just the two of them…for fun…because they could.
This winter, I’m committing to enjoy snow days. You’re never too old to have a snow ball fight or build a snowman – and you’re definitely never too old to warm up with a decadent cup of hot chocolate.
This recipe for Cardamom Hot Chocolate takes that childhood drink to a more sophisticated level. Rich, dark chocolate infused with smoky, fragrant cardamom makes for the perfect snow day beverage. Top it off with sweet vanilla bean whipped cream and a few crushed pistachios to reward yourself for
shoveling building the best snowman in your neighborhood.
Cardamom Hot Chocolate
Yields about 4 servings
3 cardamom pods
4 cups whole milk
200g good quality dark chocolate, broken into chunks (I used 100g 71% cacao and 100g 85% cacao)
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1. Remove the cardamom seeds from their pods. Add cardamom seeds, milk, chocolate and sugar to a saucepan.
2. Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly until the chocolate is melted, the milk is hot (but not boiling!) and the mixture is smooth.
3. Strain the hot chocolate to get rid of the cardamom seeds. (If you want to skip this task, use a spice bag to hold the cardamom seeds and then simply remove the spice bag when the hot chocolate is ready.)
4. Pour hot chocolate into mugs. Top with vanilla bean whipped cream, crushed pistachios and a pinch of salt (optional, but so delicious!)
Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream
1/2 of a vanilla bean
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tsp powdered sugar
1. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean.
2. Add vanilla bean seeds, cream and sugar to a mixing bowl.
3. Whisk the cream until soft peaks form. Add desired amount to individual mugs of hot chocolate.