French Hot Chocolate for Bastille Day

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Here’s another recipe curtesy of my teenage daughter’s inspiration.  She absolutely loves studying French and decided that we must celebrate Bastille Day.  This French Hot Chocolate is unbelievably decadent.  Unlike hot chocolate in America, this drink is very thick.  A little goes a long way.

French Hot Chocolate

The most decadent dark hot chocolate recipe that tastes just like the French hot chocolate found in Paris cafes. Intense, rich, and absolute heaven for any chocolate lover. Recipe based off of the famous Cafe Angelina in Paris.

YIELD: 2 large, intense cups of hot chocolate or 4 more reasonably-sized cups

PREP TIME: 3 minutes

COOK TIME: 5 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 8 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional, but delicious. Will intensify chocolate flavor)
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, at least 72%, chopped*
  • Giant bowl of whipped cream, for serving


  1. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, whisk together the whole milk, heavy cream, powdered sugar, and espresso powder until small bubbles appear around edges. Do not allow the mixture to boil.
  2. Remove from saucepan from heat and stir in the chopped chocolate until melted, returning the sauce to low heat if needed for the chocolate to melt completely. Serve warm, topped with lots of whipped cream

*Choose the best quality chocolate you can, as the flavor really carries the drink. I love Guittard for a splurge or Godiva, but the Trader Joe’s Pound Plus 72% dark bar is quite good too. I do not recommend chocolate chips, as they contain stabilizers and do not melt as well.

Leftover French hot chocolate can be cooled to room temperature, then refrigerated in an airtight container (empty mason or jam jars work particularly well). Reheat gently the in the microwave or in a saucepan over low heat.

Recipe based off of Cafe Angelina’s Le chocolat chaud à l’ancienne dit “l’Africain,” as interpreted by several sources, including Tastebook and Cooking by the Book.

Recipe (taken from )

Buttercream Truffles

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What do you do with your extra buttercream after decorating a cake?  Eat it with a spoon?  Lick the bowl?  Those are always worthy options.  If you want to turn that extra buttercream into a new dessert then try whipping up some buttercream truffles.  It’s easy, tasty, and makes for a presentable new dessert.

Directions:  Take the extra buttercream and place it in a sealed container.  Store in the refrigerator overnight.  Spoon out about a tablespoon of frosting and roll it into balls.  Place the balls of frosting in the freezer for about 30 minutes.  Melt enough decorating chocolate for whatever amount of buttercream that you have.  Remove the frosting from freezer and dip and cover with melted chocolate.  Allow to cool and dry on wax paper.  Keep at room temperature so that when you bite into these truffles it has a soft gooey inside.

Other ideas:  If you are starting with vanilla buttercream, try adding other flavors to the frosting before placing it in the refrigerator overnight.  The ideas are limitless: coffee, mint, Bailey’s, Rum, chocolate, lemon, or almond extract (just to name a few).  Also, altering the color of chocolate used for dipping can help make these truffles appropriate for any holiday or festive occasion.


Should desserts that center around a holiday be limited to those dates?


Should desserts that center around a holiday be limited to those dates?  Is that what makes the dessert special – the fact that you know you will only get the dessert once a year?  Do the desserts add to the nostalgia of the holiday, creating memories for years to come?  Would you want to eat Xmas shaped cookies in May?  What if it were your absolute most favorite cookie?  Would you make an exception in that case?

As I’ve mentioned before, I am equal opportunity celebrator of holidays if they include fun and tasty desserts.  My daughter’s favorite springtime dessert are these jello eggs that I make for Easter.  Unfortunately, these jello eggs require that I am at home for 7 hours straight.  Each layer must be added precisely one hour after the preceding layer.  If not, the layers will not adhere to each other and will fall apart when separating the molds.  This year, I just couldn’t manage my time to make these on Easter.  Is it wrong to be serving/eating these weeks after Easter has past?  It doesn’t seem to bother my daughter at all.  In fact, I’m grateful that she was understanding that I couldn’t get these done on Easter.


Peanut Butter Fudge

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Fudge is a deceptive dessert.  It doesn’t look very special – simply cut into cubes of some sort.  You can’t always tell whether it is soft or hard by just looking at it.  But when it is perfectly smooth and the balance of flavor and sugar is ideal, fudge is heavenly.  Tonight, it turned out superb.  (Which was a good thing, because last week’s fudge was a disaster)  Whether the fudge is yummy or nah, baking with my daughter is a heartwarming occasion.

Nanaimo Bars – A Canadian Dessert

Naniamo Bars

I first found this recipe during the 2010 Winter Olympics in British Columbia.  Oddly enough, I had a recent request to make the bars again. They are a great textual blend of sweets.  The base is a mix of graham, chocolate, coconut, pecans and sugar.  It is dense and a bit nutty.  The middle layer offers a smooth creamy vanilla compliment.  It is then topped off with a thin layer of chocolate.  If cut into bite size portions, one can enjoy all the flavors at once.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Buckeyes

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Chocolate and Peanut Butter is almost always a good thing.  These are definitely good-to-eat treats.  But what in the world is a buckeye?


Just what exactly is a buckeye and why is it Ohio State’s mascot?

“In preparation for Monday night’s national championship game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Oregon Ducks(more on that in another story), it seems appropriate to clear the confusion up.

According to The Ohio State University’s athletics department website, a buckeye is “a small, shiny, dark brown nut with a light tan patch that comes from the official state tree of Ohio, the buckeye tree.”

According to folklore, the Buckeye resembles the eye of a deer and carrying one brings good luck. It has been the official Ohio State nickname since 1950, the website says, but it had been in common use for many years before that.”

See the full article at

Cheryl Wray | cwray@al.comBy Cheryl Wray | 

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on January 12, 2015 at 5:45 AM, updated January 12, 2015 at 9:06 AM