Diana's Desserts - www.dianasdesserts.com

Decadent Hot Cocoa

Servings: 4
What a warm and very special drink to wake up to on Valentine's Day. Serve this "decadent" hot cocoa to your sweetie (on a pretty tray), when he or she wakes up in the morning, or just serve on a chilly day for something just a little bit different and special.

2 cups milk
1 vanilla bean
4 strips orange peel (orange part only), each about 2 inches long
3/4 cup chopped semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons purchased caramel, butterscotch, or fudge sauce (or 1 tablespoons each of any 2)
About 1/2 cup whipped cream
Store-bought chocolate syrup
Semisweet chocolate curls (optional)

1. In a 1 to 2 quart saucepan, combine milk, vanilla bean, and orange peel. Warm over low heat to blend flavors, about 15 minutes, stirring often; do not boil. Discard orange peel; remove vanilla bean and save (dry used vanilla bean, and store for another use(.

2. Add chopped chocolate and caramel sauce to hot milk; stir over low heat until chocolate melts.

3. Pour hot cocoa into mugs (about 8 oz.), top with equal portions of whipped cream, drizzle with chocolate syrup, and sprinkle with chocolate curls (optional). Serve with spoons.

Makes 4 servings.

Date: January 9, 2004