A Brave New World Of Hot Chocolate

We are huge fans of hot chocolate here at Maple Hoo. Specifically Williams-Sonoma’s peppermint hot chocolate at the holidays, adorned with our own homemade marshmallows. Of course, the peppermint hot chocolate is really only available for eight weeks a year (and we try to be good and limit our consumption of it to more like six or even five weeks), but then we’re left for the entire rest of the frigid, bleak winter with no warm, chocolaty drinks. Sure, we used to make hot cocoa back in the days before discovering the peppermint stuff, but it was always so hard to get the right balance of sweetness and rich cocoa-ness, and often it would turn out to be only okay, but with a heavy residue of clumpy cocoa crap at the bottom of your mug. I was not interested in a winter of making and drinking that swill anymore. So when we were in Dallas and stopped in at the storefront Penzey’s near Patty’s, imagine our delight at finding Penzey’s hot cocoa mix! It’s like Swiss Miss, but from a name I trust! We bought a little jar of it, sampled it that night on Patty’s back patio (it was an accommodatingly brisk Dallas evening, too, that smelled like winter), and made plans to order much, much more of it upon our return home.

Cocoa Mix

Yes, that’s four pounds of hot cocoa mix. We started with just one, but it seemed like so little, considering we’ve got probably five months of wintry nights stretching out in front of us!

So, this past Tuesday, with Halloween behind us, and on a stressful night of election emotions (high highs!) and devastating Devils news (low lows!), we headed over to Williams Sonoma to perhaps get a sneak preview of their delicious holiday candies. We weren’t going to buy any until December 1 (last year we had so little holiday candy discipline that we burned out on the stuff well before Christmas), but Caitlin had sent us a hugely generous W-S gift card, and what better way to spend it than on than candy? What better way to drown our Brodeur sorrows while waiting on the election news? And what better way to celebrate the (literal) awesomeness that election night ended up offering?

Right. But there in the middle of the candy display was something I would have scoffed at if not for the gift card burning a hole in my pocket: an electric hot chocolate maker. Now, I have a set of wonderful pots that are perfect for everything but making hot chocolate, because they don’t have lips to facilitate pouring into mugs. In previous years I’ve used a hot chocolate pot that’s beautiful, makes lovely hot chocolate, pours like a pro, but is impossible to clean. So Boomer suggested we give this new cocoa maker a try, since it would be essentially free. Well this was shaping up to be an even better way to spend our moneys than candy! (Not that we didn’t also get candy, mind you.)

Assembly Line for Hot Chocolate

It looks so great sitting next to our bucket o’ cocoa mix! But how does it work? Well, first you have to start out with some milk — in our case, Boomer stocked up to make sure we wouldn’t run out during the weekend.

Milk in Fridge

That might be overkill.

Anyway, you pour the milk into the carafe part of the machine…

Pour the Milk

…then measure in the cocoa…

Add the Cocoa

…then set the timer on the base of the machine and wait 6-8 minutes for your cocoa to be done.

Machine in Action

It couldn’t be simpler! And more than that, Pookie thinks the little guy on the machine (“the zany Italian dude”) looks like that little guy on the glass in Sesame Street who wandered all over the kitchen. She hopes this dude prances about whenever we’re not around.

The machine froths the cocoa all up (so much so that it overflowed on our first attempt with it), but also has a frothing attachment in case we wanted even more froth. For now, we’re pretty happy with the standard version.

Frothed to the Top

The next miracle, after how insanely easy this is to use, is how easy it is to pour!

Pouring a Mug

If I could marry a kitchen gadget, it might just be this one. Thanks to that zany Italian dude, we’re now enjoying cafe-style hot chocolate. There almost isn’t room on top for when we start adding marshmallows.

Extra Frothy Hot Cocoa

Don’t worry, though. We’ll find a way. Fitting marshmallows into our super-frothy hot chocolate? Yes we can!

(Posted by Schnookie)

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25 Comments

Filed under Celebratory!, Gene?!, Kiddie Drinky-Drinky, Seasonal

25 responses to “A Brave New World Of Hot Chocolate

  1. JMS

    schnookie!! you’ve just given me the perfect addition to my christmas list!! hooray and hugs to all at maple hoo..xoxosumoJen

  2. SumoJen! I had no idea the SumoJen Exclamation Point Greeting conveys on the internet, but it totally does! :D Hugs right back at ‘cha! And this gagdet has Christmas List written all over it.

    I wish I could get in a time machine and not buy it now so I could buy it for Schnookie for Christmas. Think she’d notice if I just stole it out of the kitchen and then pretended I had no idea what she was talking about when she later asked about it? Oh! Schnookie! I didn’t see you there… Heh heh heh *shifty eyes*

  3. EEE! SumoJen! How exciting to see you here!! Mega hugs to everyone at CasaSumoJen! (And yes, CasaSumoJen will be a much better place for having this cocoa maker. :P) (Oh, and Pookie, if you take it away, how will we make the peppermint hot chocolate before Christmas? Hm? Did you ever think of that? DID YOU???)

  4. Hm? Did you ever think of that? DID YOU

    Rats! Foiled again!

  5. Yay! It looks SO COOL! I didn’t realize there was such a thing. Me so smrt.

    I’m so glad you guys got something so cool! *throws confetti* :D

  6. OK, being the dork I am…how’s it clean up? Do you have to worry about getting H2O in certain non H2O pieces? (Please answer “Yes”, or I might need to head to WS.)

  7. I didn’t realize there was such a thing. Me so smrt.

    Me neither! I mean, who would assume there’s a special machine for just hot chocolate?!

    OK, being the dork I am…how’s it clean up?

    You know you’re an adult when you consider the clean-up-ability of a fun-looking gadget! :D Boomer, the resident cleaner-upper here says, “It’s cleans like a dream! You don’t have to worry about the H20 at all!” Sorry. :P

  8. I mean, who would assume there’s a special machine for just hot chocolate?!

    Hey, it claims to make milkshakes and pudding and lattes and all kinds of things! It’s not a single-purpose machine at all. :D

  9. YUM! And a hot chocolate machine? How great is that?

    Hey, guess what I’m watching right now? Hockey! (Canucks VS. The Wild) and then…then I’ll make hot chocolate.

    Your influence stretches far and wide. And internationally.

  10. Carol, that sounds like a perfect evening! And go Canucks!! (I hope they do better tonight than the Devils did.)

    Your influence stretches far and wide. And internationally.

    There isn’t a border alive that can contain us. :P

  11. hg

    Wow. I love kitchen gadgets! I had no idea this existed! My newest piece I have my eye on is a hot water heater. When Mr.A and I were visiting some friends, they had a pot on the counter that just keeps hot water for tea. It looks cooler when the buttons are in Japanese though…

  12. Oh my goodness, HG, that gadget is so cool! I think you and Mr. A totally need one. Like, right now. :D

  13. hg

    Isn’t it though? I would like to work in a kitchen gadget shop just to fondle, I mean, gaze at all the gadgets.

  14. If I worked in a kitchen gadget shop, I would quickly run out of counter space in the unicorn kitchen. I’d just ask to be paid in gadgets. Merely fondling them in an employer/employee setting wouldn’t be satisfying enough for me. :P

  15. hg

    I worked in an outdoor equipment store and spent most of my pay in the store and ordering from companies, getting things at cost and below like my tent, sleeping bag, backpack… I also worked at an M&M Meat Shop and they have lots of frozen goodies that aren’t meat and my Christmas bonus was a giant box of food.

  16. A giant box of food for a Christmas bonus? That sounds heavenly! I’ve worked a few times in yarn stores. I, um, may have spent my salary and then some (and then some more, and some more after that) on yarn. Not a good scene. :D

  17. I’m sorry, I just noticed that you filed this in a category entitled “Gene?!”

    My people, how I heart you. :D

  18. Gene is our fridge! If there’s a picture of the fridge, that tag’s getting used. I’m glad you’re around to get the joke, Caitlin! :D

  19. OK, being the dork I am…how’s it clean up?

    You know you’re an adult when you consider the clean-up-ability of a fun-looking gadget! :D Boomer, the resident cleaner-upper here says, “It’s cleans like a dream! You don’t have to worry about the H20 at all!” Sorry. :P

    Great, I’ll have to make my way to WS. I already have a list of stuff I want from Penzey’s the next time I order. =)

  20. LizD

    So when should we shamelessly invite ourselves down for hot chocolate?

  21. So when should we shamelessly invite ourselves down for hot chocolate?

    Hee hee! Whenever you’re willing to bring Max into a baby deathtrap of a house! :P (You are always welcome, of course.)

  22. When I buy a house (someday, someday) one of the very first pictures I will take is one of my fridge with a can of mixed vegetables somewhere in the picture. :D

  23. :^:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: If you want to smear mud on your ass, smear mud on your ass. Just be honest about it, Caitlin. And now I’m going to go fondle my sweaters — er, make fondue with cheddar. We’re having fondue with cheddar cheese for dinner tonight…

  24. SHUT UP! GO AWAY! LEAVE ME ALONE!

    Into the fever, into the fire
    Taking it higher and higher!

  25. Look at me, Ma! I made it! I’m OKAAAYYY! :D

    And :^::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: heartily to you both.

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