Winter Wonderland

by Wendy

Winter Wonderland

Sleighbells ring, are you listenin?

In the lane, snow is glistnin’

It’s a beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight,

Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland…

Aaaahhhh…..the crispness of winter air brings renewal.  It is so invigorating and refreshing to me.  I love to be outdoors in all seasons, but there is something about the crisp, clear winter air that makes my heart soar.  I continue on embracing the joys of winter.  Walking hand in mittened hand, on forest trails, cross-country skiing, sledding, and making snow angels with my little, and not- so- little boys, warms my heart. Coming back inside to a warm and cozy house filled with love and Hot Cocoa helps too! Hot Cocoa is a winter staple in our home.  It’s chocolately, creamy goodness warms the heart as much as the body.  I would love to share my recipe with you.  It only takes a few minutes to whip up, and its delicious goodness is definitely worth it.  It is a straight-forward kind of recipe so pics are not necessary.  I will post my homemade honey-mallows, featured in the pictures, soon.  I promise.  They are worth the wait!!!!  For now, I will give you my Whipped HoneyCream recipe to top your hot cocoa.  So stay tuned…..I made a batch of HoneyMallows for Christmas, and did not have time to photograph the process…..it was fairly late at night, and I have no useable light in the kitchen under flourescent bulbs…. I will whip up a new batch when the sunshine is out!!!!

*As always, use organic, whole ingredients when you can find them!  This recipe can also be non-dairy, just replace the whole milk with oatmilk, coconut milk, or almond milk!  Did you know that cocoa, or cocao is high in magnesium??? It is also choc full (pun intended) of antioxidants and other lovely vitamins and minerals!  Buy the best unrefined cocoa powder that you can afford on your homesteading budget, to enjoy these benefits…if it is labeled raw, or not dutch processed (no high heat) it will retain more of it’s whole goodness.  Makes a wholesome, nutritous winter addition to your diet.   You may also sweeten with other sugar types, for example, raw honey, pure maple syrup, agave nectar, sucanat, rapadura, or coconut sugar.  Add to desired sweetness.  You may also double the recipe for company, and place into the crock pot on the lowest setting for an all day sipping affair.  Mmmmmm……

Heartfelt Hot Cocoa

Heartfelt Hot Cocoa

1/3 c. cocoa

1 1/2 c. water

1/3 c. evaporated cane juice

Dash of Sea Salt

4 1/2 c. whole milk

2 t. vanilla

Heat cocoa, water, sugar, and salt, in a 1 1/2 qt. saucepan over medium high heat, stirring constantly, I use a whisk.  Bring to a boil.  Boil and whisk for 2 min.  Reduce heat to medium, and stir in milk.  Heat gently till warm and steamy.  Stirring occasionally, do not boil.  Remove from heat, whisk in vanilla, and ladle into lovely mugs.  Ahhhh…..

Garnish with homemade marshmallows, HoneyMallows 🙂  Or homemade whipped cream, HoneyCream, of course!

joy in a cup

Whipped Honey Cream

1 pint Heavy whipping cream

2-3 T. raw honey

1 t. vanilla

Place cream in mixing bowl fitted with a wire whip attachment.  Begin mixing on lower speeds, working up to medium, so you do not have cream on the ceiling, and all over the kitchen!  Once the cream has begun to thicken, add in the honey, honey.  😉  I really do this to taste, so add 2 T. first, taste, and decide if you want more.  I generally end up at about 2 T., but each family is different, do what fits your tastes.  Add in vanilla, and bring speed up to medium high.  On a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer you will be going no higher than speed 8.  Whip until creamy, dreamy, soft peaks form.  Err on the side of softness, as the cream will begin to breakdown if over whipped.  Do not over-whip, or you will have honey butter!  All of this takes only a couple of minutes, I usually just go by sight, no timer.  This is probably best since each mixer is different.  Do not be afraid, it is very simple….This is our go-to topping for pies, cakes, desserts of all kinds.  It is not overly sweet, but just enough sweetness with the overtures of vanilla.  Beautiful.

chocolate blessings

For a truly gourmet experience, or if you have no HoneyMallows, mound by Tablespoonsful onto your Hot Cocoa, dust with additional cocoa powder, chocolate shavings, a hint of cinnamon, or freshly grated nutmeg.

~Count Your Blessings~

 Sit down with your Lovies, and Enjoy the Winter Wonderland right outside your homestead door!