Growing up, I had a a grandpa that loved peppermint ice cream. Actually, it was peppermint and Neapolitan, but it was the peppermint ice cream that stands out in my memory. Each evening, he would methodically place 2 scoops in crystal sundae cups, then sit at the kitchen table and slow eat his evening treat, savoring each bite.
What was even more unique about his love for peppermint ice cream, was that he was able to have it almost year round. It wasn’t just a holiday treat, found on a grocery store end cap, but regularly stocked at the Jack & Jill where Gram would shop. I loved visiting them and getting my own 2 scoops to eat at the table with Papa.
Beyond this nostalgic memory of peppermint ice cream, I haven’t really been a big fan of peppermint anything…until this winter. On a whim, I strayed from my usual Starbucks green iced tea and ordered a Peppermint Mocha…tis the season for peppermint and candy canes…so why not? It was that lovely cup of chocolate-minty-ness that inspired me to try it at home, using our own hot cocoa recipe.
I made a big pot of hot cocoa, and added just a 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint oil extract (a little goes a long way). My willing taste testers (aka my three boys) gladly reached for mugs filled with this newly inspired, hot drink. They happily approved and have since asked for another pot of ‘Christmas Hot Cocoa’.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2/3 cup hot water
- 8 cups milk (dairy or nondairy)
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
- Over medium heat, in a large pot, combine sugar, cocoa powder, salt and water.
- Bring cocoa mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Add milk and heat through to desired temperature.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and peppermint extracts.
- Serve immediately.
- Any left over cocoa may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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