First of all, I think today is National Hot Cocoa Day. It might have been yesterday. Whatever.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s every day, so I’m celebrating.
More embarrassing, though, I’m about to reveal to you all how low my level of self control actually is.
Prepare yourselves. It’s shockingly low.
My latest obsession from Starbucks these days is a gingerbread hot cocoa. It’s pretty much the only thing I’ve ordered for the last month.
I’m powerless against them. Resistance is futile, and as far as I’m concerned, there’s no real reason to resist.
Except that they’re three bucks a pop.
I have the Starbucks app on my phone; the one that lets you pay for your drinks from your phone. I always keep money on it.
I’ve finally had to do something to stop myself.
I made the Hubster change the passcode on my app, so that I couldn’t buy myself anymore hot cocoas. I had three in two days, people, and one of them was a grande. There’s no excuse for that.
They took over my brain.
So much so that when I couldn’t buy them anymore, I came home and created my own recipe for them.
Obsessive is my middle name.
But that means you get to try it, too, so I think you’re all ok with that, right?
The Hubster was helping me perfect this, and we kept going back and forth, back and forth, between the Starbucks version and mine, trying to figure out what mine was missing. I mean, it was good…really good; we both liked it very much, but there was something missing.
I sipped the Starbucks cocoa, and said, “I just can’t get that cookieness.” The Hubster took a sip and said, “Oh yeah…almost like a Biscoff.”
“Maybe I should add some Biscoff spread to my syrup?” I said.
And boom. Just like that, I had perfected my syrup.
My gingerbread hot cocoa doesn’t taste exactly like the ones that Starbucks makes, but it’s even better, because it’s all-natural, and it’s definitely just as good, if not better, than the ‘Bucks. The Biscoff spread adds a wonderful creaminess to the drink that you don’t get with the Starbucks version, and it gives that perfect bit of cookieness that you need when gingerbread is involved.
The great thing about this syrup is that it can also be added to a homemade latte for a yummy holiday coffee. The syrup is incredibly easy to make, and if you don’t have whole cinnamon sticks and cloves, you can substitute ground spices instead.
I couldn’t be happier with my new treat, and I don’t have to be locked out of my own app anymore. Now, I can overindulge in the privacy of my kitchen. And I highly recommend that you do the same.
Makes about 2/3 cup
1 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Biscoff spread (omit for gluten free)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 4-inch cinnamon sticks
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
In a small saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a soft boil over medium high heat. Reduce to a low simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, until the mixture has thickened to a syrup consistency (about the same as maple syrup). Use in hot cocoa or a latte right away, or transfer to a heat proof container, and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Gingerbread Hot Cocoa
Makes 4 servings (**to make a single serving, see below)
*This can be made vegan/dairy free by substituting almond or soy milk and vegan chocolate chips
4 cups milk
1 recipe gingerbread syrup (above)
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 teaspoons semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 24 chips)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pour milk in a bowl and warm in the microwave for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes (optional).
Transfer milk to small saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the syrup, cocoa, sugar, chocolate chips, and vanilla. Continue cooking over medium heat, whisking almost constantly, until it just barely begins to lightly boil, about 10 minutes; remove from heat.
Divide between 4 mugs, top with marshmallows or whipped cream, and any other treats you want.
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons gingerbread syrup (I like to add an extra teaspoon)
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (for a stronger chocolate flavor, add an extra 1/2 teaspoon, or more)
1 teaspoon semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 6 chips)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Prepare as directed above.
Gingerbread Syrup recipe by Darla, Hot Cocoa recipe by The Hubster