Tuesday, December 13, 2011
National Cocoa Day
Today is National Cocoa Day. And yes, you're looking at a picture of a warm drink made with white chocolate rather than with actual cocoa. Please don't write to chastize me!
"Cocoa" technically should be made with cocoa powder, but you know me - I always like to tweak things a bit. And I think that the word, in general usage, could include any form of hot chocolate drink even if that drink is made with white chocolate which actually isn't a form of chocolate at all. Don't think too hard, just suspend disbelief.
This white cocoa is the first recipe that ever won me a prize - $50 that thrilled me to such an extent that I became a veritable "contester," with membership in a cooking contest site and travelling to various competitions on a regular basis. I'm proud to say that I've won or placed in more than 60 contests, and it all started with this recipe. "I'm cooking and baking anyway, and someone might give me money for it??? Whee!"
Unfortunately, I don't have much opportunity for this endeavor anymore, as my jobs - both the full-time day job and the part-time writing gigs - take up the bulk of my waking hours (of which there are many, since sleep and I aren't usually very chummy). But every so often I still throw my proverbial spatula into the ring.
I'd entered this recipe into the AAA Michigan "Zero-Proof Mix-Off" in 1997 on a whim. They were seeking non-alcoholic beverages to support their campaign against drinking and driving at the holidays, and this was a perfect option. I was invited to demonstrate my recipe and serve it to judges at a live event, and was one of only five finalists.
I received an honorary prize simply for making it to the finals, while someone else won the $250 grand prize. But that was okay - I'd had success on my first try! I'd had a fabulous time. I'd learned a lot about presentation for future competitions. Everything about it was wonderful.
This is a ridiculously simple drink to make, and is a nice change from plain ol' hot chocolate (even though I do happen to love hot chocolate). Warm up with something a little different on our cold Michigan winter evenings, and be sure to celebrate National Cocoa Day somehow!
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup Vanilla Caramel Coffee-Mate
whipped cream and sprinkles, for serving
Place the white chocolate chips into a small saucepan and melt them over low heat. Add the milk and the Coffee-Mate, whisking until smooth. Heat until there are small bubbles around the edges and steam is just starting to form.
Divide the drink among two mugs, then top with whipped cream and sprinkles if desired.
Serves 2, but is easily multiplied.
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