Breakfast of Champions
When you want to start the day off with a smile, start it with a comforting cup of cocoa. Thick and decadent, creamy and rich, there’s no better way to give yourself a treat first thing in the morning. The gift of morning cocoa is like an act of self-love. And what better way to show yourself how much you love you than by finding just the right breakfast – as if to say, “You are wonderful, and you deserve a treat!”
I once heard it said that “pancakes are love,” and I cannot argue with this sentiment when I’m enjoying a plate of lemon ricotta pancakes alongside a frothy mug of hot chocolate. The gentle tang of the citrus and velvety mouthfeel created by the ricotta provide both an exquisite contrast of flavor and complement in texture to the cocoa. It truly is a breakfast of champions.
If pancakes are love, then waffles are pure adoration. Make me waffles, and chances are I will adore you forever. Norwegian sour cream waffles (or vafler, as I’m delighted to call them) boast just a hint of cardamom, making them unlike any waffle you’ve ever had – and trust me, you’ll be so glad you broadened your horizons. Continue your waffle tour with sweet potato spiced rum waffles. Warming cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove lace their way through every bite, waking up your senses as your body wakes up for the day. Both of these waffle recipes are fantastic accompaniments for hot chocolate because neither one is overly sweet, leaving the cocoa to do most of the heavy lifting in the sugar department, and they both incorporate warm, fragrant spices that pair gorgeously with chocolate.
Dutch babies are another well-loved breakfast treat. This lemon marionberry Dutch baby does not disappoint, offsetting the traditionally prepared Dutch baby with a zesty and sweet berry compote, both enhanced with a lovely moiré of vanilla bean. Berries and chocolate are never a miss, and once again, because the Dutch baby itself is not too sweet (there is no sugar in the batter), it won’t overpower your cocoa. No better way to start your day!
Sometimes the middle of the day calls for a cup of cocoa, a nice little pick-me-up to help you survive those long hours between lunch and dinner. Hot chocolate in the afternoon is the perfect excuse for an afternoon snack: an understated cookie, a hearty scone, a slice of tea bread – all wonderful sides for your mid-day cocoa!
Cocoa and cookies are a dynamite combo, and shortbread may be the ultimate hot chocolate/cookie pairing. Shortbread is simple extravagance, rich, buttery, and beautiful in its minimalism, a delightful companion that does not compete with, but instead enhances, the decadence of your hot chocolate. Rosewater shortbread includes a hint of floral elegance, and Earl Grey butter cookies bring a sophisticated touch of black tea and bergamot. Rosemary honeyed shortbread is nuanced and unique, infusing a touch of herbal mystique into your hot chocolate experience.
Nutty cookies are also highly enjoyable with hot chocolate! Almond afternoon tea cookies include a triple threat: almond flour, almond extract, and a whole almond atop each cookie that almond lovers will go nuts for. (I’m not even sorry about that pun.) Maple walnut tassies are a fun deviation from the classic cookie (and classic cookie flavor profile). Technically it is a tiny tart, but close enough, right? The maple and walnut provide a nice, dark sweetness and toothsome twist. Coconut and chocolate is another winning duo; try gingerbread spiced macaroons with your next cocoa mug and your tastebuds will swoon.
Scones are a definitive teatime snack, but who says they’re just for tea? Scones and hot chocolate are lovely together, and there are so many to choose from! Maple walnut, raspberry lemon, ginger, dark chocolate and sour cherry, apricot chocolate chip... There are over forty varieties of scones in the Plum Deluxe recipe index alone! You could literally try a new recipe every day of the month.
Breads and tea cakes are another tried-and-true mid-day munch that would be an absolute dream next to a mug of cocoa. Strawberry tea bread with almond cream cheese filling is a gooey delight that, surprisingly, is not overly sweet. The bread is buttery and tender, the filling is luscious and well-balanced, and the dominating notes of strawberry, cinnamon, and almond extract are all phenomenally suited to the chocolatey delight that is cocoa. Hazelnut tea-infused cake is another stellar choice, bringing the lighter flavors of hazelnut and vanilla to a simple, wholesome confection. No fuss, no frills, just a straightforward tasty cake.
Chocolate chip cinnamon bread is a lovely choice if you like a little side of chocolate with your chocolate. The chocolate chips provide just a touch of extra chocolate, so it’s not like you’re dipping a fudge brownie directly into your cocoa, and the subtle sprinkling of cinnamon, as we know, is an ideal complementary flavor. Cardamom bread is another heavenly treat that, if you have not yet experienced, I cannot recommend enough. I’m a huge fan of cardamom (check out these peach cardamom scones or this to-die-for Earl Grey cardamom ice cream). Its scent is absolutely intoxicating and its taste is sweet, spiced, and wholly unique. Cardamom is a striking pairing for hot chocolate, and it’s definitely worth trying at least once. If citrus is your thing, check out this citrus and cardamom grapefruit bread. So good!
Please, Dessert, May I Have Some More?
Some people (not you and me) may think that hot chocolate is a dessert in and of itself. And, of course, it could be. It is liquid chocolate, after all. But some people (that’s us) know that hot chocolate is sometimes only half of the dessert equation. Sometimes you want to sip your dessert, and sometimes you want to chew it. And sometimes you want both of those things in the same sitting.
For those times, you want something that isn’t going to send you into chocolate coma overload. A nice peppermint patty, perhaps, or an herbaceous matcha mousse. Chai monkey bread will satisfy that sweet tooth and is perfect for dipping into your hot chocolate. (And if you like to dip, try almond biscotti for breakfast, snack time, or dessert!)
Spice cake with cream cheese frosting features those same chai-inspired flavors: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove – a glorious medley of aromatic spices that never fail to deliciously offset hot chocolate. For something completely different, try a cranberry macadamia nut tart. You get a pleasant bit of crunch from the macadamias, a subtle tartness from the cranberries, and depth of flavor from brown sugar and real maple syrup, all swaddled in a buttery yet nourishing wholegrain shortbread crust.
Earl Grey honey cake with lavender frosting has a delicacy of flavor that may be light, but it is mighty. Chocolate and Earl Grey or chocolate and honey or chocolate and lavender would all, as individual combinations, pique my interest. But throw them all together? I’m definitely on board!
I can’t include a section on desserts and hot chocolate without devoting a whole segment to cinnamon. These two flavors are a match made in heaven, and any hot chocolatey night would benefit from the addition of a cinnamon-y dessert. Try cinnamon babka studded with nuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon; Russian krendl packed with cinnamon, dried fruit, and honey; or kuchen filled with maple, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cinnamon swirl apple pie and apple pandowdy bring another classic combo into the mix: apples and cinnamon. Plus, fruit for dessert – that’s healthy, right? Any way you slice it, choosing a cinnamon dessert to enjoy with your nighttime hot chocolate is a delightful way to end your day.
Comfort in a Cup
Any time you’re searching for what goes with hot chocolate, you have a plethora of options to choose from. Once you’ve made your choice, whip up a mug of hot chocolate using Comfort Cocoa hot chocolate mix. Made with just raw cocoa, sugar, vanilla bean, and a hint of cinnamon (delicious!) it is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan-friendly, organic, and fair trade! What’s not to love? Try classic chocolate, or change it up with any one of the enhanced blends: mint, lavender, caramel, or spice (with cayenne and cardamom). Although I say, why choose? Try them all! And let us know which one is your favorite on social media @plumdeluxe. Happy hot chocolate times, my friend!