Photograph by Molly Yeh
A love of winter runs in my family. We love soup and sweaters, and we look forward to the shorter days when that means we have fewer people convincing us to go and do outside things and more reasons to stay inside with cookbooks, a fire in the fireplace and a batch of cookie dough or two. We’re cozy folk and we know it.
So consider my move to one of the coldest cities in America a big old love note to winter. People thought it was a bit odd, but last year, for my first winter, I got to buy new sweaters and had every reason in the world to stay inside and bake — sometimes the people on the news even told us to stay inside! It’s like they knew me.
These days, no drink goes down that’s not warmed up and served in a mug. Hot cocoa is obviously a perfect cold weather companion, but I have to admit that in recent years around the holidays it’s taken a back seat to sweets of higher priority, like sufganiyot and more sufganiyot.
A recipe I recently discovered in Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley’s new cookbook, “The Art of Eating Well,” encouraged me to revisit my old favorite chocolaty drink, using coconut milk and just a touch of honey. It reminded me of the joy and comfort of coming in on a snowy day and wrapping your hands around a nice hot drink while it warms you inside and out.
This recipe is inspired by the Hemsleys’. It has a beautiful richness from coconut milk, but not so much sweetness that you crash before the sufganiyot. It’s perfect for those cold winter Hanukkah nights, and a great dessert for when you feel like topping your latkes with pastrami.
Coconut Hot Cocoa
Makes 2 servings
13.5 ounces light coconut milk
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons honey
A pinch of kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond or coconut extract
1) Whisk all ingredients together in a saucepan over medium heat until warm.
2) Serve with whipped coconut cream
Molly Yeh is a food blogger who recently moved from Brooklyn to a farm outside of Grand Forks, North Dakota. Her blog is mynameisyeh.com.