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Hot Cocoa to help Light the Night

Congratulations to the Skepchick teams for raising over $2,500 for Light the Night and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! I promised to create a warm non-alcoholic beverage in honor of this achievement. However, I’m so proud of you all that I decided to make two recipes, one with booze and one without! Both are variations on hot cocoa, and I hope you enjoy–the treat is well-deserved! (By the way, it’s not too late to donate to the cause.)

(Since this wouldn’t be a post of mine without a little food science thrown in, I wanted to share this link to the Serious Eats’ Food Lab, where Kenji explains why it can be so hard to dissolve cocoa powder in a liquid (if you’ve ever made hot cocoa at home, you’re sure to be familiar with the little clumps of dry, undissolved powder). It turns out that when the starch in the powder gets wet, it expands and forms a seal, keeping the powder on the inside of the clump dry. When the clumps rises to the top, the surface tension breaks the seal and exposes the dry powder. To keep this from happening, dissolve the powder in just a small amount of liquid first–this is the explanation for step 3 in the directions below.)

 

Thai Lights CocoaThai Lights (non-alcoholic)

1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 navel orange

 

 

  1. Add the cocoa powder, brown sugar, and ground ginger to a mug.
  2. Put the whole milk and coconut milk into a microwave-safe vessel and microwave on high for 1 minute, until hot.
  3. Add enough hot milk mixture to the mug to cover the cocoa and sugar and whisk or stir briskly with a fork until the cocoa and sugar are dissolved. Add the rest of the milk mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Peel a strip of orange zest and set it aside, then squeeze some fresh orange juice into a cup or bowl and add 2 tsp of orange juice to the cocoa mixture and stir.
  5. Squeeze the orange zest over the top of the drink to express the oils, then drop the zest in to garnish.

~~~

One of my first ideas for a warm drink was a Hot Toddy, an old-fashioned warmer with spirits and sugar in hot water. But I was also inspired by Todd Stiefel and the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, whose generosity continues to help this movement reach its potential for impacting the lives of others. With that, I give you…

Hot Todd CocoaThe Hot Todd (contains alcohol)

1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth (also called red vermouth or Italian vermouth)
1/4 ounce Cointreau or other orange liquor
Angostura bitters
1 strip of navel orange zest

 

 

  1. Add the cocoa powder and sugar to a mug.
  2. Heat the milk in the microwave for 1 minute, until hot.
  3. Add enough hot milk mixture to the mug to cover the cocoa and sugar and whisk or stir briskly with a fork until the cocoa and sugar are dissolved. Add the rest of the milk mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Add the sweet vermouth, Cointreau, and a dash of Angostura bitters to the cocoa mixture and stir.
  5. Squeeze the orange zest over the top of the drink to express the oils, then drop the zest in to garnish.
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Anne S

Anne S

Anne Sauer is an atheist with an appetite for science, good food, and making connections between the two. She is currently pursuing her MBA in Sustainable Management at Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. Her favorite foods are salted caramel ice cream and chicken tikka masala. You can find her on twitter @aynsavoy.

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