PERFECT COCOA
WITH WHIPPED CREAM HEARTS

I heard a rumor last year.  Not the ugly sort of rumor this results from unseemly gossip, but the good kind that you hope is true.  I can’t remember where I read it or who said it, but I tucked it in the back of my mind until just last week when I put it to the test.

Here’s what I heard: whipped cream, when spread thin, freezes up like a dream and can be cut into charming shapes using garden-variety cookie cutters.

Who knew?

And guess what, it does work like a dream. A creamy, chocolatey dream when whipped cream hearts are set over steaming cups of hot cocoa and served to your beloveds come next week on Valentine’s Day.

Making your own cocoa is dreamy too, and easy, and better than what comes in those little packets that my kids, and I’m guessing yours too, are always trying to slip into the shopping cart. I almost bought a box a few weeks ago, a weak moment in the supermarket with persistent children at my side. But I stopped in my tracks once I read what’s in there:  partially hydrogenated oil, corn syrup, artificial colors, and a small handful of other unsavory items I don’t know how to spell or pronounce.

So I’ll keep making my own.  And hope you do too.  It’s so good.  And with a pretty whipped cream heart on top? The cutest cup of Valentine’s Day cocoa ever.

HOT COCOA WITH WHIPPED CREAM HEARTS 

Winter and cups of cocoa go hand-in-hand in our house, and making your own is worth the little bit of extra effort it takes.  Adding whipped cream cut-outs is a charming, special-occasion addition to an already delicious treat. You can modify the whipped cream as desired by adding sugar and/or vanilla to taste. The cocoa recipe makes one cup; multiply the recipe for as many cups as are needed.

For the  Whipped Cream Hearts:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Line a 9X11-inch baking pan with parchment paper so the paper drapes over two sides.

Pour the cream into a large bowl and use an electric mixer to whip the cream just until it forms stiff peaks.

Spoon the whipped cream into the prepared pan and  spread it out until it is about 1/2-inch thick.  It won’t cover the entire surface of the pan. Put the whipped cream into the freezer until it is frozen, at least an hour.

Once frozen, remove the pan from the freezer. Hold on to two sides of the  parchment to lift the cream out of the  pan and set it on your work surface.  Press a heart-shaped cookie cutter into the cream, cutting out as many  hearts as will fit.  Store the hearts in a covered container in the freezer until ready to use.

Makes roughly 8 to 10 hearts (the number will vary depending on the size of your cookie cutter).

For the Cocoa:

3/4 cup low-fat milk

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (optional)

Put the milk, cocoa powder, and sugar in a small saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Whisk vigorously to incorporate the cocoa powder and sugar into the milk.  Once the cocoa powder is mixed in, stir occasionally until the cocoa is warmed to your liking, being sure that the sugar dissolves. Add the vanilla and stir again.

Pour into a mug, sprinkle the optional chopped chocolate over the cocoa, and top with a whipped cream heart.

Serve immediately.

Makes one cup of cocoa.

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38  Comments

Comments

  1. Pamela
    02.04.2013 at 7:47 AM #

    Wow~~~what a great rumor! those whipped cream hearts are great and the hot chocolate too.Thanks~~

  2. 02.04.2013 at 8:12 AM #

    Sweet idea. I always like to have make ahead items on hand. I wonder how long the hearts will be good kept in the freezer. Will definitely make this on the 14th.

    • katiemorford
      02.04.2013 at 9:11 AM #

      Hi Robin,
      Good question. I made my hearts about 10 days ago and have a few still in a covered container in the freezer. They look as good as new.

  3. felicia
    02.04.2013 at 10:28 AM #

    Super cute idea! My kids love hot chocolate so this is a keeper.

    • katiemorford
      02.04.2013 at 10:45 AM #

      Thanks Felicia!

  4. Heather
    02.04.2013 at 5:46 PM #

    Oh I am so making these Right. Now. Great idea! Thanks!!!

    • katiemorford
      02.04.2013 at 5:57 PM #

      I want to see a photo of the girls …cocoa in chubby hands.

  5. 02.05.2013 at 9:50 PM #

    Adorable idea. Can’t wait to try it!

    • katiemorford
      02.05.2013 at 10:18 PM #

      Thanks Stacy…and they can even be floated in something savory like a bowl of butternut squash or tomato soup since the cream isn’t sweetened.

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  33. Heather
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    Hi! I love this idea, how quickly do they melt at room temperature? I’m wondering if anyone has used these for parties? If you have, what was your experience keeping them cold?

    • katiemorford
      08.25.2014 at 10:13 PM #

      Hi Heather

      It’s been since last winter that I made these so speed of melting isn’t fresh in my mind. I usually just keep them in the freezer until just before serving and then pop them in the cups of cocoa.

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