For a fun treat the whole family can enjoy on a chilly enening try my cocoa…
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
8 cups milk
1 Tbsp vanilla
Marshmallows or whipped cream, spices, instant coffee (optional)
1. In a 3-1/2 to 5-quart slow cooker combine sugar and cocoa powder. Stir in milk until combined.
2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 3-4 hours or on high-heat setting for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
3. Serve immediately or keep covered on low-heat setting for up to 2 hours. Just before serving, stir in vanilla. If desired, carefully beat milk mixture with a rotary beater until frothy. Ladle cocoa into mugs. If desired, top each serving with marshmallows or whipped cream. Makes 10 (6-ounce) servings.
Spicy Cocoa: Prepare as directed, except add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg with the cocoa powder before cooking.
Mocha Cocoa: Prepare as directed, except add 3/4 teaspoon instant coffee crystals to each mug of prepared cocoa; stir to mix.
Coffee, one of the world’s favorite beverages, has a mysterious past…
Although coffee’s origin is still unclear it is known that the history of coffee begins at least as far back as the thirteenth century. Even though there is no direct evidence, it is believed that ancient Ethiopians might have first recognized the energizing effect of the coffee bean plant. But there are legends of how coffee was discovered. On account talks about the Yemenite Sufi mystic Ghothul Akbar Nooruddin who was traveling in Ethiopia. He observed birds of unusual vitality and , upon trying the berries that the birds had been eating, experienced the same vitality.
Another story talks about a goat-herd Kaldi, who noticed the energizing effects when his flock nibbled on the bright red berries of a certain bush. After chewing on the berries himself and becoming energized, he took them to a Muslim holy man in a nearby monastery. This holy man disapproved of them and threw them into the fire. When the beans began to roast an enticing aroma filled the room. The roasted beans were quickly raked from the embers, ground up, and dissolved in hot water. And like magic – the world’s first cup of Joe! But these are only legends.
In the Sufi monasteries of the Yemen in southern Arabia about the middle of the fifteenth century, can be found the earliest solid evidence of coffee drinking and knowledge of the coffee plant. It was in Yemen that coffee beans were first roasted and brewed as they are today. From there, coffee spread to Egypt and North Africa, and by the 16th century, it had reached the rest of the Middle East, Persia and Turkey. From the Muslim world, coffee drinking spread to Italy, then to the rest of Europe, and coffee plants were transported by the Dutch to the East Indies and to the Americas.
Ice cream is a great treat anytime – try this fun and easy recipe when you crave ice cream and chocolate with your coffee…
Chocolate Cupcake Ice Cream Sandwiches
6 purchased or homemade unfrosted chocolate cupcakes
2 to 3 cups chocolate chip or mocha ice cream
1 10-oz. jar maraschino cherries, drained and chopped (1/2 cup)
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
1. Remove papers, if present, and slice cupcakes in half horizontally. Place cupcakes on a tray or baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Cover with waxed paper; freeze for 1 hour. Line another tray or shallow baking pan with waxed paper. Using a miniature ice cream scoop (#60, about 2 teaspoons), place 18 to 24 scoops of ice cream on prepared tray. Cover with waxed paper; freeze for 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, in small bowl combine chopped cherries, pecans and jam.
3. For each serving, place cupcake bottom in a dessert dish. Top with 2 to 3 scoops of ice cream. Top with cherry mixture, cupcake top and remaining scoops of ice cream. Makes 6 servings.
Here’s a simple twist on a holiday treat that might just become a family tradition…
1/4 cup ground coffee, any variety
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp. sugar
2-1/2 cups cold water
1 cup eggnog, warmed
1/2 cup thawed Cool Whip topping or whipped cream
Place coffee in filter in brew basket of coffee maker; sprinkle with nutmeg. Place sugar in empty pot of coffee maker. Add water to coffee maker; brew. When brewing is complete, stir in eggnog.
Pour into 4 cups; top with whipped topping. Enjoy!
For a cool coffee treat try this smoothie recipe….
1 cup fat-free milk
1 medium banana, peeled, cut into 1/2 –inch slices, and frozen
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar or honey
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant coffee crystals
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup small ice cubes or crushed ice
In a blender combine milk, banana, sugar, cocoa powder, coffee crystals, and vanilla. Cover and blend until smooth. Add ice cubes. Cover and blend until nearly smooth.
Makes 2 servings