• Winter warmers

    by  • November 5, 2012 • Out & About • 0 Comments

    Brrrr… the weather has suddenly taken a turn for the worse – snow? We are barely out of October?

    At Living Beautifully, we are taking the cold snap as an excuse to indulge in a luxury hot chocolate with delicious recipes from artisan chocmeister, Paul A Young.

    Paul A Young's Aztec Hot Chocolate

    Paul’s aztec-style hot chocolate

    (Makes 2 very large mugfuls)

    25g light muscovado sugar (more if you like it sweet)

    20g dark cocoa powder

    100g Caribbean 66% dark chocolate, broken into pieces

    Spice of your choice, such as chilli, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom or ginger

    Put the the sugar and cocoa powder in a pan, add 500ml water and bring to a simmer for three minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate to the pan and, using an electric hand mixer, blend for one minute, adding spice to taste. Bring the hot chocolate back to simmer for two minutes and serve.


    The Whiskey one  (fabulous on those cold evenings in the run up to Christmas Day).

    Follow the Aztec recipe above, adding the following at the beginning of the  recipe:

    1 teaspoon of black cardamom (which is smokey and has the aroma of burning wood and bonfires).

    1/4 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper (for a sultry warmth and kick)

    1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger.

    When cooked, pour into mugs and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Just before drinking, add a generous snifter of your favourite whisky.

    To get the real smoky, peaty and woody aromas, Paul suggests using an Islay whisky, such as Laphroig for its intense peaty flavours. But do use any variety that you will really enjoy.

    And by adding the whisky after cooling, the alcohol isn’t cooked off, leaving complex flavours and a warmth that really will get right through to your bones.

    The Christmas Day one ( a delicious alternative to mulled wine).

    Follow the Aztec recipe above, replacing half the water with your favourite red wine, and adding the following at the beginning of the  recipe:

    Zest of one orange

    1 cinnamon stick, broken in half

    1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

    1/2 teaspoon of cardamom.

    Once cooked, remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 5 minutes. Strain into a serving jug and add a delicate sprinkle of cinnamon on the top before serving.

    This recipe includes red wine but it’s also gorgeous with red grape juice or prune juice for an alcohol-free version.

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