the cocoa runneth over

One of the things I used to look forward to when I would come home from college was the food.  No matter how good the cafeteria service seemed, there’s nothing like home cookin’.  So when I get a chance to visit with my much-younger college-age friends and their family, I like to put on a good spread.  A few of weeks ago, we had a brunch that left us wishing we could stuff more into our already full tummies.  Our mouths were clamoring for more while our stomachs were saying, “Are you crazy?”

Here’s the menu: Malted Hot Chocolate with Vanilla-Infused Cream, Classic Breakfast Casserole, Cinnamon Rolls.  A while back, I used a vanilla bean in a custard recipe.  It’s a shame to throw away the vanilla pod after you’ve scraped the seeds, so I stuck it in a jar, poured granulated sugar over it, and sealed the jar.  After a few days, the sugar had a wonderful vanilla aroma.  Perfect in whipped cream, tea, or coffee.

I have tried many breakfast casseroles, and this is the easiest and most consistently successful recipe.  I found this years ago in the Edwards of Virginia cookbook, which my Dad gave me for Christmas (I think he hoped to be the taste tester).  You must use Jimmy Dean (mild or hot; not sage) or better quality sausage to get the delicious flavor.  Cheap sausage will feel rubbery and won’t brown nicely.  This dish is assembled the night before, then baked for only 30 minutes.  The edges will be slightly puffed and crisp, with the cheese melted and bubbling on top.  One casserole will feed about 8 people.  Click here for the recipe.

I will describe the cinnamon rolls, along with lots of photos, in another post.  I want to be sure to capture how easy they are because the word “yeast” seems to strike terror into the hearts of many.  Really, you need not fear.  They are worth the bit of effort and can also be made ahead and baked fresh in the morning—perfect for the upcoming holidays!

Malted Hot Chocolate with Vanilla-Infused Cream

from foodie plus 4

[print recipe]

  • 5 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup malted milk powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Dash of salt
  • Whoppers for garnish
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2–3 tablespoons vanilla sugar, depending on your sweet tooth
  1. In a heavy saucepan, gently heat milk until the edges begin to bubble.
  2. Turn heat down to low.  Whisk in cocoa, malt, sugar, and salt. (If you like a stronger malt flavor, increase the malt and decrease the sugar).
  3. Whip cream with an electric mixer and add sugar when almost done.
  4. Divide cocoa into mugs, dollop on the cream, and top with a Whopper.
  5. Serves about 6.

4 thoughts on “the cocoa runneth over

  1. Yum.

    And yes, yeast does strike fear in this heart. I make homemade pizza dough with yeast, but that’s a quick bread. I did do yeast cinnamon rolls once, and while not fearful — they did take a loooong time.

  2. This hot cocoa sounds divine.
    G.R.E.A.T. vanilla pod idea.
    And may I roll back the tape for a minute and say that I bought and tried the 600# Pound Gorilla cook dough? FANTASTIC.

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