Today is one of those blustery kind of days, where all you want to do is burrow in a cozy spot with a good read. I find that a special coffee drink can do wonders to elevate the mood. These short days of winter can leave you longing for a bit of color and merriment and it seems like this long holiday period this time of year is in fact a time of lights and merriment and feasting on all of the wonderful foods that have been put away for this very time of the year. The harvest and hard chores are done for now and so, why not a bit of holiday cheer? One of my favorite ways to dispel the mood and bring a bit of occasion to an ordinary gray winter day is to make a Bicerin(Bee-chair-reen). What in the world is that, you are probably asking, unless you have visited this part of the world and have partaken of one of Turin's specialties.
|Il Bicerin ...photo by Regione Piemonte|
|My home style version of Il Bicerin|
- 1/2 c (150ml) half and half or whole milk, with a bit of heavy cream for rich version
- 3 oz (90g) semi sweet chocolate, chopped fine, do use a high quality brand
As I don't have a double boiler, I usually put the chocolate and milk/cream together in a small metal bowl and set it over a smaller metal bowl with hot water and melt it together this way. Whisk together when hot and melted. Remove from heat and let stand over the hot water to keep it warm, but not boiling.
**I just used my Bicerin, chocolate hazelnut liqueur today instead of the chocolate mix as an easy alternative.**
- Brew 2 cup pot of espresso or make two shots of espresso
- Whip some heavy cream (1/2c/ 100g) to thicken but not to full peak for your top layer. You can sweeten the cream it if you like, although I didn't as the liqueur was plenty sweet.
Heat your clear glass cups or glasses with hot water to keep your drink warm and not break it when adding hot liquids.
Pour the water out.
Divide the chocolate mixture between the 2 glasses for your bottom layer.
Slowly pour half the espresso over the back of a spoon to get the layer effect into each glass.
Add your cream to the top and serve with some of those cookies you have hanging around the house for a appealing pick me up from old world Europe. Now imagine you're in a cozy cafe and the spell will be complete.