December in Amsterdam is slowly but determinedly getting colder, reason the more I am super happy to not be outside hunting down gifts. Instead of that, I am spending time in my warm home. My kitchen and living room dining table have become the center of making Christmas presents.
The last couple of weeks I have bought extra things every time I went for groceries and have steadily filled a box with all supplies to make some special treats. Altogether it has been really easy and I could recommend it to everyone. Just make sure you find a good supplier for your jars and bottles to be delivered, so you don’t have to drag them around (I would recommend this one for jars, and this one for bottles)
I really love the idea of giving someone a personal gift and in this case I am happy to give my good friend and colleague a present that he can carry through the airport security without any difficulties and enjoy with some good candle light and company at home. Just to make sure he and his absolutely awesome fiance will get through the cold winter in Dublin (who am I kidding, sure they will, but it just feels nice to contribute:)).
With all the advantages of cacao (we will undoubtedly turn healthy, glowing and pretty this winter), I consider this a very comforting breakfast, but it might not be very socially accepted to have warm cacao before the break of dawn, therefore my official recommendation is to drink this ‘any time of day’.
Cacao Mix makes two pint jars
- 350 grams of unsweetened, good quality cacao powder
- 175 grams of palm sugar (or dark brown sugar)
- teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon of mixed spices (pumpkin spice or koekkruiden)*
Simply mix all together in a large bowl. It is easy to adjust the measurements, but I like to keep the mixture very much on the chocolaty side without too much sugar.
Add two tablespoons of the dry mixture per mug to prepare. Add a little warm milk and stir this through. Making this little ‘roux’ prevents the cacao from forming lumps in your drink and will make a perfectly smooth drink. Slowly add the rest of the warm milk
I really like to make this with hot steamed milk. I whip the warm milk until it is foamy and glossy and use it like I would use normal milk.
I have used palm sugar in this mix, because it has a very aromatic taste and a very fine structure, that mends very well with the cacao powder. Besides being labeled healthier than normal sugar, there is no objection to replacing it with dark brown sugar (I would not use white sugar, simply for the reason that it won’t look pretty and because it will eventually land on the bottom of the jar as the grains are much heavier than the cacao).
* Although it is easy to buy the spices premixed, I find that it takes very little time to grind a mixture to your own likings. I have used a mix of 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon of cardamon pods, 5 large cinnamon sticks, 1 teaspoon black pepper corns and 5 pieces of star anise.