I don’t drink coffee, but I do love how cozy coffee shops are. I decided to transform my house into a coffee shop last night. Only hot chocolate was on the menu though. No espresso, sorry. It was homemade hot chocolate with real milk and dutch cocoa and white chocolate and sugar. And marshmallows. Can’t forget those. And I made biscotti to dip into it and it was delicious. And I made apple crisp from the apples I canned a few weeks ago. MMMMM. It was good.

Last night was my night to host book club and our theme was “Anything Orson Scott Card.” This author has a ton to choose from and writes across many genres. He is very interesting and writes very well. So we all came having read different books and it was fun to see what everyone read, didn’t read, liked and didn’t like. I am excited to read more after hearing what everyone else liked.

We all had fun and most everyone stayed until midnight! Amazingly, I am not too bad off today even though I definitely should have gotten my beauty sleep last night.

They gray skies of today just make me want to curl up with another book and some of my left over hot cocoa and biscotti. I guess that this rainy weather is good for cozy reading.

Here are the recipes I used in case you were wondering. These come to me from Maresa, my friend who happens to be a fabulous cook. She definitely has taught me some addicting recipes.

Best Ever Hot Cocoa Mix

3 cups nonfat dry milk 2 cups confectioners sugar

1 1/2 cups dutch-processed cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

1/4 tsp salt

Combine ingredients in large bowl. Working in two batches, pulse ingredients in food processor until chocolate is finely ground. Store in airtight container for up to 3 months. To make hot cocoa, stir in 1/3 cup of cocoa mix into 1cup of hot milk. Top with whipped cream or marshmallows.

Spiced Biscotti

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp ground white or black pepper 1/2 tsp ground cloves 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp ground ginger 1/4 tsp salt 1 cup sugar 2 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk dry ingredients (except sugar) in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Whisk the sugar, eggs, and yolks in large bowl to a light lemon color; stir in vanilla extract. Sprinkle dry ingredients over the egg mixture, then fold in until the dough is just combined.

3. Halve the dough and turn each portion onto the prepared baking sheet. Using floured hands, quickly stretch each portion into a rough 13 by 2 inch loaf. Place the loaves about 3 inches apart on the baking sheet; pat each one smooth. Bake until the loaves are golden and just beginning to crack on top, about 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place it on a wire rack.

4. Cool the loaves for 10 minutes; lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Use a wide metal spatula to transfer loaves to cutting board. With a serrated knife, cut each loaf diagonally into 3/8 inch thick slices. Lay slices about 1/2 inch apart on baking sheet, cut side up, and return to oven. Bake, turning each cookie halfway through baking, until crisp and golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and cool completely. (Biscotti can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 month.)


Steffenie November 20, 2008 at 9:45 p.m.

I am very jealous of the Orson Scott Card night. He is one of my most favorite authors. When I am done reading my current series I plan on reading the Seventh Son series. We finally have one day of cold weather. It was around 80 the last two days. Today was around 35. We played in my bedroom today with a spaceheater on!

Karen November 21, 2008 at 2:07 p.m.

It was a lot of fun Ily. Thanks for hosting such a fun party!!