My husband Matt loves good quality things that taste good. I love good quality things that taste good as well, but I do not like to pay good quality prices sometimes. This evening I made hot chocolate, spiked with brandy, and I was able to get it tasting rich by using very simple and thrifty ingredients.
I started with Swiss Miss instant hot chocolate and added a bit of cocoa powder to it, along with boiling water and a shot of brandy. Topped with whipped cream, sprinkled with nutmeg and cinnamon, this was delicious. Matt loved it. The taste was very rich and chocolate-y, and not too sweet.
This was a perfect solution to our state of mind of "I want something delicious but don't want to pay $20 for us to go out for spiked hot chocolate." It's been pretty darn cold in St. Louis, so spiked hot drinks are completely appropriate - necessary even - in case you were confused by our selection.
I was lazy this evening and didn't want to dirty another bowl by making homemade whipped cream. But I do highly recommend you try that sometime. Just buy whipping cream, pour it into a bowl, add some sugar and milk, and whip into deliciousness (Here's a recipe http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/really-vanilly-whipped-cream-recipe/index.html). I sometimes use regular sugar, and just use a little more. It is so much better than store-bought. A little too good - you might finish the leftovers with a spoon.
In the future, I might try to make homemade instant hot chocolate mix, using milk powder, sugar, and cocoa powder. For now, I'll use the Swiss Miss till it's gone. I bet homemade would be great, though - cost-efficient, and you can make it as sweet/unsweet or rich as you want.
Some of you might be interested in using milk instead of water as the hot liquid base. Go ahead. I didn't want anything very creamy this evening. This recipe brings out more of the chocolate flavor - it literally tastes like melted chocolate - and the spike of brandy.
-12-16 oz. water
-4 tbsp instant hot chocolate mix (regular, sweetened, as cheap as need be)
-1 tsp cocoa powder
-2 oz. brandy or other liquor
-Dash of Cinnamon, plus more to sprinkle
-Nutmeg to sprinkle
-Set 12-16 oz. of water to boiling in a kettle or a pot.
-Put hot water from the sink in two mugs to warm while you prepare everything else.
-In a small bowl or another mug, mix the instant hot chocolate, cocoa powder, and dash of cinnamon (just a dash, mind you, don't overdo it - Katie, I'm thinking of you right now). Stir until it all looks like a darker version of the instant hot chocolate mix.
-Dump out the tap water from the mugs.
-Divide the chocolate mixture between the two mugs.
-Add water to fill 3/4 of the mugs and stir until it is dissolved and hot-chocolate-y.
-Add 1/2 or 1 oz. brandy to each mug. Taste and add more if needed ; ) Add more instant mix if you need more creaminess or sweetness.
-Top with a generous amount of whipped cream, and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Drink up and be happy!