Don't get me wrong. I love getting gifts. And chocolate. I love the constant presence of chocolate during the month of December.
When I think about it, though, I don't think many of our traditions are all that unique. For example, every year on Christmas Eve, my husband and I get each other Christmas PJ's for that night. Predictable, right? I do the cookie parties, decorate the house incecently the day after Thanksgiving, and blare Mariah Carey like it's 1994. I believe in Christmas, and I believe in traditions.
But for us, there's one tradition that rises above the rest. See, my husband is a student pastor. Christmas is a big holiday in the ministry. He tends to spend a big part of Christmas Eve at the church helping prepare for what they consider to be the "Super Bowl" of church services. Because of this, we make one thing abundantly clear to both of our families:
Christmas Eve is at our place. You may choose to come, or you may choose to not come. Either way, we're stayin' home.
Some people might shirk at this responsibility, but the theme is simple: junk food. While the other people of the world are sitting down to a traditional Christmas feast, we're serving up arterial-clogging, lifespan-shortening dishes. Chips and dip? Absolutely. Tacos? Bring it on. We leave the sophisticated dishes for Christmas day.
Our normal spread consists of sub sandwiches made with a real honey baked ham, an array of chips and dip, chicken tacquitos, buffalo wings, cake pops, homemade Reese's peanut butter cups, cookies that stretch far beyond the horizon, and so much more. For some reason, though, I could never shake the feeling that something was being neglected. And then, I realized...
...it's the chocolate.
You can never give chocolate enough attention. It's the needy middle child who always wants to please. And to be frank, it's my favorite child. So this year, we're making Red Velvet Hot Cocoa with Cream Cheese Whipped Cream. This is not a new recipe, but it's one that has stood in the background far too long. It's time for it to make its debut, and the stage is my table.
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp. red food coloring
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 3 tbsp. cream cheese
- Cocoa powder for garnish
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
We're going to start by pouring the heavy whipping cream into a stand mixer.
Add the sugar. Begin mixing on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.
Right before it peaks and stiffens, stop mixing.
Add the cream cheese. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes.
Yumm. That's it for the whipped cream. Store it in the fridge while we work on the hot chocolate.
Heat the 4 cups of milk in a saucepan on medium heat.
Mix in the chocolate chips and salt, stirring continually until combined and completely warmed. Add the food coloring and stir to combine.
Top with cream cheese whipped cream and lightly sprinkle with cocoa powder.
This is one of those decadent treats that you only feel okay having one or two times a year.
Merry Christmas to you all!