Hot Chocolate

by Jenn on January 25, 2013

in Beverages,Dairy Free,Desserts,Gluten Free,Photography

hot chocolate

I had a post all ready in my mind for the past couple weeks on this quinoa salad I made, our relationship with quinoa, and the effects of its globalization.  It’s a complex issue especially for us gluten free folk who often laud quinoa as the “miracle ‘grain'” for its nutritive value and just the fact that it’s one of the few starches that is naturally ok for GF people to eat.  But that will have to wait a bit.  Actually I’ve had (and still have!) a lot to say the past few weeks that I haven’t been able to type in this space, and I hope you can muster a little more patience for me.  Julia Child once said that no matter what happens in the kitchen, one should never apologize and this blog is a virtual extension of my kitchen, so I am doing my best to refrain from actually apologizing for not posting.  So why the all the pleas and protestations for time?

You see, last month I learned first-hand the perils of baby fingernails.  Babies don’t have the same sense of the “bubble of space” as adults do, and even though we do our best to keep baby girl’s nails short and trim, one evening as I had just picked her up from a nap, she turned quickly and promptly poked her finger in my eye, scratching my cornea. After various hospital trips, etc. I got to be a pirate for a few days with the ever attractive gauze patch taped over my face, and slowly things improved and by about a week later I wasn’t in pain anymore.  We decided to commence with our Christmas plans, and enjoyed a lovely week up in the mountains watching for Santa.



About a week after we got back, yet another day with searing pain in my eye, unable to open it – yep, what had supposedly “healed” in my eye was an open injury again, sent back to take care of it the same way.  And then this week, the same! At least the size of the injury is decreasing so there is progress, but it’s just freaking slow.  Now I know I really have no right to complain about a silly eye injury caused by cute baby fingernails as it really is pretty minor in the scheme of things, but it’s certainly an annoying injury to deal with, considering how much reading/writing I do on a daily basis and umm… seeing in general.  Even though one eye is perfectly fine, it gets exhausting to depend on it solely fairly quickly, and I’m beginning to realize that being crippled for six months was not as annoying as this.  But anyways, enough of my whining. Suffice to say I haven’t had much patience to stare at a screen given the circumstances.  Though actually, writing isn’t a big deal because I’m a total nerd who types with their fingers in the proper places so I can do pretty well with my eyes closed.

So what do you cook when you can’t really see? Simple, you ask your husband to cook!  And how do you take a photograph when you can’t see much besides colors and shapes out of your camera eye? Place your trust in autofocus and shoot wide so you can go in and crop it later.  This is especially useful if you are taking photos down by a lake and you open your pics on your computer finding that the lake horizon is pouring out of your photo at an angle of about 30 degrees. :)

And what do I crave when I’m feeling blue and sorry for myself and my eye? Hot chocolate. Hot chocolate is one of my favorite comfort drinks, and I think a well made hot chocolate can be a decadent treat for dessert  to finish a nice meal.  And no, I’m not talking about the boil water and dump in the packet of mix kind of hot chocolate, but real hot chocolate, made on the stove in a pot, with real chocolate added in.  That’s the kind of hot chocolate we like to make – there are no measurements, and almost no directions, and yet I assure you that this method will give you the perfect mug, every time, because you taste as you go.  It’s also super easy if you want to make something special for say, upcoming Valentine’s Day but are intimidated by more complicated chocolate confections.  Heck, I could make it with one eye, so I know you can do it!

hot chocolate


Hot Chocolate

Prep Time: 5 minutes to chop chocolate, slice and scrape vanilla bean
Total Time: 20 minutes


  • Milk (if using cow’s milk, at least 2% fat) – enough to fill a mug for each person (though dairy free milk works great here, especially rice or almond)
  • Seeds from one half vanilla bean, as well as the bean itself
  • Good quality dark chocolate, chopped – start with about 10 g per person, depending on how rich you want it
  • Good quality cane sugar – don’t use the standard baking sugar, but see out a really nice quality cane or turbinado sugar – it will make a difference.  Amount will be to taste, probably a teaspoon or so per person
  • Pinch of cinnamon (to taste)


  1. On medium-low/medium heat, bring milk and vanilla (seeds and scraped pod) in a pot to steaming, stirring frequently to avoid a film forming on the top (I noticed this film doesn’t form when I use rice or almond milk but it’s a good idea to stir frequently anyways to ensure even slow heating).
  2. Add in dark chocolate while stirring, until all the chocolate is dissolved.  Taste.  If you want more, add in more and repeat until all is dissolved.
  3. Stir in sugar to taste, add cinnamon if desired.
  4. Remove from heat, pour into mugs, top with a marshmallow if you like.  Enjoy!



MooNFaCe January 25, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Oh..that sounds like a really annoying injury to deal with. Hope you’re all healed up soon. And those are gorgeous pictures you have up there. I can’t even take these kinds of pictures with two eyes !!

Jenn January 26, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Thanks so much!

Rosa January 25, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Don’t worry, we are patient… Sorry to hear about your eye. Good to know that it’s healing, although very slowly. Lovely pics and drink.



Jenn January 26, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Thanks Rosa!

Krystal R {Mrs. Regueiro's Plate} January 25, 2013 at 5:31 pm

What a comforting & beautiful drink after such a horrible event. I’m constantly trimming Elena’s nails because of fear that she’ll do something crazy like that!! The life of a mommy is always exciting!

Jenn January 26, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Thanks Krystal, and yes keep baby nails far away from your eyes!

Rochelle January 25, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Yum! And your teacups are super cute. :)

Jenn January 26, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Thanks Rochelle!

Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts January 26, 2013 at 12:34 am

Both Mr. GFE and I have had scratched corneas before; it’s definitely no fun. So sorry, Jenn, especially since the issue is not resolved yet. Hard to manage even the basics when you have an issue like that. I think you are smart to comfort yourself with this hot chocolate though. And there are healing properties in good chocolate, right? I think I have all the ingredients for this recipe–woohoo! :-)

Oh, and I love that photo of the chalet in the snow. It looks like you were in Santa’s sleigh when you took it. 😉


Jenn January 26, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Thanks Shirley!

Amy Mak January 26, 2013 at 1:19 am

So sorry to hear about your eye! I’ve been admiring your photos and recipes for awhile, and my sister in gluten free, so this is a great place for us! Can’t wait to try the recipe; looks delish.

Jenn January 26, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Thanks Amy!

Barbara | Creative Culinary January 26, 2013 at 1:58 am

Ay Matey…not the eye! Again. I think we deserve a photo with the patch…come on. DO IT!!

You manage beautiful pics with one eye…maybe it’s really a handicap you have to suffer for others; you know, making it only fair in a very unfair sort of way?

I now want hot chocolate and it is all your fault. The good news is I have some great chocolate and while no marshmallows, some fresh whipping cream. I might have to add a touch of something stronger; Kahlua anyone?

Jenn January 26, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Haha yeah no photos of that…. lol.

Melanie C. January 26, 2013 at 3:45 am

Oh, I feel for you! About 20 yrs. ago my dog scratched me in the eye with her nail. I’ve never experienced such horrible pain! It took quite a while before my eye felt normal again, but every once in a while if I look in a certain direction, I feel a little tug where the tear was. I love your blog. My mom found out late in life she has celiac. Your blog is the perfect place for support and delicious recipes. I hope your eye heals quickly and give the baby a hug for me!

Jenn January 26, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Thanks so much!

Nicole January 27, 2013 at 2:10 am

I can only imagine how annoying that must be. I mean really, you get a speck of sand in your eye and it drives you crazy. I once got a paper cut on my cornea and it took about a week to heal. I still remember it as one of the most annoying injuries I ever had. That, and breaking my pinky finger. Do you know how often you use your pinky finger? I had no idea! Anyway…I digress. Hope you heal quickly.

Jenn January 27, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Thanks Nicole! Yes I can imagine the pinky finger is a lot more important that we notice from day to day…

BlessedBlogger January 28, 2013 at 8:16 pm

I have to know where you got your cup set because they’re really lovely!

Jenn January 28, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Thanks! The brand is called PIP Studio :)

Jimmy January 30, 2013 at 3:18 am

I came here to look at all your wonderful food photos, but I can relate with you so much more now because of your injury! The eye injury is something called reoccuring corneal erosion/abrasion. I got poked in the eye about 4 years ago and it scratched the cornea. It still has not healed fully. Every now and then when I wake up I have the foreign object sensation along with the teary eyes and pain. These episodes have reduced to maybe once every 4 months or so and it feels as if my eye was reinjured! I just recovered from an episode not too long ago and I’ve tried almost everything to get it properly healed. It seems the only full time solution is surgery =/ It’s a bit similar to Lasik so might as well get my vision corrected also!

But anyways, I love your photography and your side by side photos of all the scrumptous food!! I’ll be sure to follow you =)

AmandaonMaui January 31, 2013 at 12:31 am

Ouch! I’m so sorry about your eye injury. It may seem small in the grand scheme of things, but it’s a big deal to a new mama, especially around the holidays. Don’t size it up against the larger world, but accept it for what it is in your world.

By the way, I love really amazing cocoa too. There’s nothing like it! Especially when there’s a soft blanket, a crackling fire, and someone to cozy up with.

Jenn January 31, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Thanks Amanda – I like your philosophy on dealing with it :)

branny February 2, 2013 at 11:56 am

What an amazing winter picture.

Debi February 18, 2013 at 5:23 pm

I love that you add vanilla bean to the hot chocolate. And the pinch of cinnamon. I admit I will normally just do the df milk, raw cacao powder, and raw local honey. I love your additional touches to make it even better. 😀

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