While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.
Cuckoo for cocoa? December 12 is National Cocoa Day!
The weather outside may be frightful, but cozying up with a mug of hot cocoa can make the day more delightful.
The Mayans are first credited with cultivating the cacao bean to brew xocoatl, an unsweetened version of modern-day hot chocolate. Much later in the 17th century, Spanish doctor Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma published the first recipe as an elixir, adding different spices to treat a number of ailments. Even President George Washington washed down his breakfast of cornmeal hoe cakes with a cup of hot chocolate.
In 1828, Dutch chemist Coenraad Van Houten patented his process of extracting some of the cocoa butter from the beans, leaving behind a cocoa powder with a reduced fat content. He added alkaline salts to the cocoa powder so that it would dissolve more easily with liquid. The final product is “Dutch-process” or “Dutched” cocoa power. An added advantage to having a naturally lower fat cocoa powder is that you can pile on the marshmallows and whipped cream!
Need a way to perk up those winter blahs? Try these mouth-watering, taste bud-tingling variations of hot cocoa.