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Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

hot chocolate, hot chocolate recipeThis — this right here — is like a warm peanut butter cup in a mug. For real. It’s not surprising that the best of culinary friends — chocolate and peanut butter — pair up well when heated until smooth and turned into a thick, frothy concoction with the assistance of a hand-held immersion blender. Peanut butter blends right into hot chocolate as if it was born to be there. Why did I not think of this sooner?

hot chocolate, hot chocolate recipePeanut butter adds a richness and mouth-feel to hot chocolate that few ingredients can; it’s not heavy, but substantial, like a warm peanut butter cup. You can, of course, swirl a spoonful of peanut butter into any hot chocolate (made with cocoa or warmed chocolate milk), but if you really want to do it up right, mix up a batch on the stove top when you want to win friends and influence people. They really will love you more for it.

A wire whisk will blend everything together, but a hand-held immersion blender does an even better job of emulsifying everything to a perfect smoothness that won’t separate. Top with whipped cream or marshmallows, if you like. And do share — ’tis the season.

Creamy Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

If you want it salted, add a pinch of flaky sea salt at the end.

1/4 cup sugar or honey
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup water
3 cups 2% or whole milk
2-4 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (Lindt 70% cocoa is great)

In a saucepan, stir together the sugar and cocoa to get rid of lumps; stir in the water until smooth, then whisk in the milk over medium-high heat. Heat until steaming. Remove the pan from the heat and add the peanut butter and chocolate. Let it sit for a few seconds, then blend it with a hand-held immersion blender. Or for individual cups, divide the chocolate among the cups and pour the warm milk over top. Whiz with one of those little frothers to make it very smooth and foamy.

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