We spent Christmas with family in Toledo and Chicago, and with all of my promises of snowmen and sledding, wouldn't you know - it rained! Most days the highs were in the 40s - cold enough to want to stay indoors, but not cold enough for that long awaited Christmasy white blanket to appear! Now, we're back home in sunny South Florida, and tonight our low will be in the 30s - with frost warnings! All of the fragile plants are covered with white gauzy cloths. Squint carefully and it almost looks like snow!
Welcoming the cold, I made a big pot of minestrone soup. For dessert, Frothy Hot Spiced Milk. I started making this warm treat last Epiphany, and it was an instant classic, one I wouldn't want to miss! Comforting without the sugary sweetness of hot chocolate, it's easy to whip up too!
First, you'll need milk, about a cup of milk per person. Skim cow's milk is my milk of choice for this application. When we were little my mom use to shake up the last cup of skim milk in the jug until it was all bubbly - a milkshake, we pretended! I can't explain the science behind it, but skim milk just froths beautifully.
Pour the milk into a pot, and heat gently while adding your choice of warm spices and vanilla. If you have them on hand, toss in whole cinnamon sticks, pieces of star anise and the scrapings from a vanilla pod. Or, add a hefty splash of vanilla extract and spoon in some cinnamon or Chinese five spice - a blend of cinnamon, anise, cloves, fennel and ginger. It's so nice and Christmas-y smelling! Stir the milk regularly as it heats and add a touch of the sweetener of your choice. This year I'm going to try it with agave nectar. Add spice and sweetener to taste - no exact recipe here!
Once the milk is warm and just starting to form little bubbles around the edges where it touches the pan, remove the cinnamon sticks, anise stars and vanilla pods because it's time to foam your milk! I love my immersion blender! In no time you have frothy deliciousness. Alternatively, you could probably whisk the milk by hand or carefully transfer it into a blender. For garnish, I like to float a piece of star anise a top the foam for a little Epiphany festivity!
Follow the links below to enjoy your Frothy Hot Spiced Milk while looking over the Epiphany readings!