Baby, it’s coooooold outside! There’s only one way to warm up right now and that’s with a steaming cup of hot cocoa with a toasty sweet biscotti to dip into it. Now, hot cocoa and biscotti are two treats that most people rarely make themselves, something to pick up on the go from a convenience store. So most people don’t know how much better these treats taste when you whip them up in your own kitchen. You’ll go ga-ga for them, I promise. The hot cocoa can be made in minutes, and the biscottis make a big batch that can last in an air tight container for up to two weeks, giving you access to this soul-warming, mouth-watering treat whenever you need it most.
Homemade Hot Cocoa
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/3 cup boiling water
3 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla or rum
1/2 cup cold half-and-half
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cocoa powder, sugar, and salt with the boiling water. Stir constantly until mixture has dissolved and comes to a low boil. Simmer for 2 minutes, then stir in milk and heat until liquid is hot, but not boiling. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla or rum. Transfer to four individual serving mugs and add a pour of cold half-and-half to reduce the temperature and add creaminess.
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Biscotti
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter, room temperature (smooth or chunky)
1 cup dry roasted peanuts (optional)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter over medium heat until slightly browned. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whip eggs together and add in sugar, vanilla, butter, and peanut butter. Slowly add in flour mixture until just absorbed. Fold in peanuts and chocolate chips.
Divide mixture in half, and use wet fingers to form dough into a long, flat log, about 15 inches long and 4-5 inches wide, and less than two inches tall on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, turning once, until edges appear golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool while the second log bakes. On a diagonal, slice the cooled log with a serrated knife (a bread knife works best), into 1/2-inch cookies. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees and toast the cookies cut-side down for 8-10 minutes, then flip them over and toast the other side an additional 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.