For those of you not currently expelling green gunk from your nose and lungs, the timing of this post may make you scratch your head. After all it is Spring, right? Time to start waxing poetic about watercress soup and the anticipated first peas and asparagus? But I know there are other folks out there afflicted with the dreaded Spring-cold-of-copious-snot and to you I say this "Spicy Hot Chocolate".
We all know that hot peppers (capsicums) make your nose run when eaten in sufficient quantity. And we all know that a good cup of hot chocolate can comfort even the most miserable sick human (provided that the stomach remains stable and thank god this has not been a vomiting sickness or else I would never hear the end of Ian's discussions that throw up shouldn't really be called vomit but chyme. I really don't like being corrected on picky technical terms when I am sick.).
Unfortunately, dairy products can exacerbate mucus formation and when already drowning in the green goo, hot chocolate made with milk and perhaps topped with a blob of whipped cream doesn't sound like such a good idea. However I think I have come up with the hot-chocolate-comfort-vs-mucus-production-conundrum with an antidote.
By combining the following with hot milk (and a little extra sugar because let's be honest, one needs a little extra sugar when sick)
you get spicy hot chocolate and the capsicum from the cayenne pepper actually cuts through any added mucus production that the milk might inspire! Add enough cayenne and you can blast pretty much any nose open (I know, pretty vision, yes?).
My inspiration for this beverage came from this:
Vosges Red Fire Bar with two kinds of chili peppers and cinnamon mixed in dark chocolate. At $6-7 per bar, it isn't a daily indulgence in these parts.
So I've been making myself at least one and sometimes far more than one cup of Spicy Hot Chocolate every day and it has made being sick just a little more tolerable. You don't have to be sick to enjoy this, and being a bit of a junky for spicy food I suspect I'll be sprinkling cayenne pepper into my hot chocolate whenever I get the chance.
Spicy Hot Chocolate
One mug full of hot milk
One heaping spoonful of cocoa or hot chocolate powder (the Ghirardelli sweet ground chocolate and cocoa is my favorite)
Sugar to taste
1/8 t cinnamon
1/8 t cayenne pepper
big gob of whipped cream
Mix together the first 5 ingredients, make sure you stir well. Then top with a poof of cream. Settle back and grab the Kleenex box and let 'er flow!