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Warm hot chocolate flavors sweeten taste buds

Friday, November 9, 2007 | 1:00 p.m. CST; updated 7:34 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

I scoured downtown Columbia for the perfect cup of hot chocolate. Trek completed, these four stood out.

I found two at Kaldi’s Coffeehouse, one at Lakota and one at Coffee Zone.

Hot cocoa at home

This recipe from Martha Stewart uses both cocoa powder and melted chocolate, creating a medium-bodied drink. Serves 4.

Ingredients

1 quart milk 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract Pinch of salt Whipped cream, for serving Marshmallows

Directions

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, chocolate chips and cocoa powder. Cook, whisking, until chocolate chips melt and cocoa powder dissolves. Stir in vanilla and salt. Remove from heat. Ladle into mugs and top with whipped cream and marshmallows. Source: Everyday Food magazine


The Aztec hot cocoa at Kaldi’s, 29 S. Ninth St., sounded intriguing, and I was hooked after the first sip. The smooth chocolate drink has a hint of cinnamon that lingers on your taste buds moments after each swallow.

I’m a dark chocolate person, but Kaldi’s white hot chocolate surprised me. The white chocolate taste was subtle, and the consistency wasn’t too thick or thin.

Kaldi’s also serves a dark hot chocolate, and all three are priced from $2.45 to $3, depending on size.

Lakota Coffee Co., 24 S. Ninth St., starts its hot cocoa with Ghirardelli powdered cocoa. I opted to add a shot of hazelnut syrup to my cup and was pleasantly surprised with the balanced flavors. Sans syrup, the beverage costs $1.95.

Coffee Zone, 11 N. Ninth St., only serves one kind of hot cocoa, but it’s made with the house cocoa powder. Blended with steamed skim milk, the result is a light chocolate flavor.

Not too sweet, this hot cocoa is perfect for those who appreciate bitter chocolate taste. One size is offered for $2.10.

After sampling frothy beverages all afternoon, I went home and took a nap — no blanket needed.


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