I haven’t been up here in a month or so and it felt good to push open the front door.  This is where I have the best kitchen – large, airy and light with lots of counter space – and where I can write most easily.  But boy it’s cold!  Even with the heat going, just hearing the wind racing across the roof, seeing the pines bend and watching two little ducks searching for a sliver of unfrozen pond, all I can think of is hot chocolate in a mug that can double as a handwarmer.

Classic Hot Chocolate (adapted from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme)

2 cups whole milk

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

Bring the milk, water and sugar to the boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves.  Add the chocolate and, stirring with a whisk, heat the mixture until one bubble pops on the surface.  Pull the saucepan from the heat and whip the hot chocolate for about 1 minute with an immersion blender or in a regular blender.  Serve immediately in large cups or pour into a container to cool.  (The hot chocolate can be made up to 2 days ahead and kept tightly covered in the refrigerator.)

To reheat the chilled chocolate, pour it into a medium saucepan, set the pan over low heat and cook, stirring gently, just until the first bubble pops.  Remove the pan from the heat, whip the chocolate for a minute with the immersion blender (or in a blender) and serve.

To make Cold Hot Chocolate (something you might want to do if it ever gets warm again):  Cool the hot chocolate, then chill it.  When the chocolate is cold, stir in 1/4 cup cold water, then whip the cold chocolate for a minute with an immersion blender or in a blender.  For each serving, put 1 to 2 ice cubes in a tall glass and pour over the chocolate.  Serve with straws.

Makes 2 servings

Dorie Greenspan