Everyone Needs an Italian Hot Chocolate

Now, I am completely spoiled. I can no longer find much joy in that powder you add to hot water… I’ve tasted REAL hot chocolate. Not that thin, watered-down stuff..but the real, liquid gold, melt in your throat, not-too-sweet, just right stuff. I was ruined in Italy a few years back… I had real hot chocolate in Nemi and I doubt I will ever be able to go back to the old stand-in (and don’t get me started on comparing American Gelato!).

I’ve been searching for a recipe, an idea to work from, SOMETHING that will get me close to that small piece of wonder…but until now had nothing. Then, I found it. A recipe that, with a little tweaking here and there, has some real promise.

Homemade Italian Hot Chocolate - YUM!

Homemade Italian Hot Chocolate – YUM!

Italian Hot Chocolate Recipe
1 ½ cups half-and-half (this can also be a mixture of heavy cream and milk…whatever you have on hand)
1 ½ teaspoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons sugar
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 ounce dark chocolate

First, on a cutting board chop your chocolate into small pieces/flakes using a large knife (this makes it much easier to melt in the milk mixture later). I recommend using a high-quality chocolate, but I’ve also had great results with Hershey’s Chocolate Chips (and I’m a bargain shopper, so this happens much more frequently)! Set chocolate aside.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 c. the half-and-half (or milk) with the cornstarch, whisking until smooth. Make sure there are no lumps in the mixture. Pour the remaining half-and-half in a small saucepan over medium heat and slowly bring to a simmer (should not get to the point of boiling). When the half-and-half is hot, steaming and begins to bubble around the edges whisk in the sugar. Make sure your cornstarch mixture has not settled (you will most likely need to whisk it smooth again), then whisk it into your half-and-half mixture.

Allow the mixture to thicken slightly as you continue to whisk, this usually takes less than a minute. Remove from heat and quickly whisk in the chocolate until smooth. Pour into two cups and enjoy immediately! :)

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Usually I continue to perfect a recipe as I go, so let me know if you make any changes! My husband had to have marshmallows in his (who could do without them, right?), but I preferred mine as it should be…a deep sweetness that doesn’t make you sick after a sip. YUM.

Our Newest Additions

I’ve been neglecting my blogs for a while now, and it’s about to change. Well, everything is about to change. We got a puppy! We are also expecting a little girl, due in June!

So, first things first – meet Jaxx:

The day we picked out our new puppy Jaxx (3 weeks old)...still too young to bring home!

The day we picked out our new puppy Jaxx   (3 weeks old)…just opened his eyes and still too young to bring home!

Jaxx is a full-blood Pit Bull Terrier. He is a dark red brindle color. We decided to keep his ears long and named him after Jax from Mortal Kombat. Apparently, we’re nerdy like that. We didn’t name him for the first few days, but over half of the names on our list were from some kind of cartoon or video game… Bowser (NES Mario) and Hugo (Naruto Shippuden) to name a couple of our other ideas.

Our Pit Bull Terrier - Jaxx

Our Pit Bull Terrier at 11 weeks – Jaxx

I did a lot of research before really deciding I wanted a Pit. I just didn’t know anything about them…but my husband had grown up around them most of his life. The more I read about them, the more I realized it was the dog for me! Knick’s parents just had a third (and final) litter, so it was now or never to get one. We call him our velcro dog – he LOVES human contact.

Always looking for a lap to sleep on and already loves the coming little person!

Always looking for a lap to sleep on and already loves the coming little lady

He is so smart…learned to sit on command at 10 weeks, to walk on a leash and lay down on command at 11 weeks, to stay and lay on his side at 12 weeks. I’m home all day, so I usually spend a few hours a day playing with him and training him. He has a very high energy level..but he is usually eager to please and quick to pick new things up. I am constantly logging onto http://www.pitbull-chat.com checking out new answers for questions I have.

And, meet the newest member – Kniya Annah:

Kniya Annah - 19 weeks!

Kniya Annah – 19 weeks!

We found out last week that it’s going to be a GIRL. She’s already a mover – and I’m sure she’ll become the perfect companion for Jaxx, but making mamma feel a little sick with all her kicks! No complaints here, though, this pregnancy has been hassle-free for the most part, and the random popping in my stomach just confirms what the ultrasounds and doppler readings already told us – she’s alive and kicking. Hard.