Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate (or Mocha)

***Addendum: I've recently changed this recipe.  Instead of pumpkin spice I add a few drops of peppermint extract.  I also add a few drops of peppermint extract to the whipped cream (if I do whipped cream, which I don't always do).  Yum.my.***

Just last week the hubs and I had the following conversation:

(As per the usual, the hubs was trying to be funny.  Bless his heart, he married the only person in the world who doesn't think he's that funny.  But I think it keeps him humble!)  It's true, though.  I was in line at Starbucks and for some reason I got a huge craving from their pumpkin spice latte.  Maybe because it was the first grey day in awhile.  It just looked like fall outside, and what tastes more like fall than pumpkin?  But I stuck with a regular latte.  Whole milke, espresso, and honey.  Can't go wrong with that.  Although I usually love a Starbucks latte, I was pretty disappointed that day because I couldn't get pumpkin spice out of my head so the regular latte seemed bland.  Alas, being committed to eating non-processed ingredients requires sacrifices, right?

Wrong!  Imagine my delight when I got to the office that very day and saw a post on one of the blogs I follow for . . . wait for it . . . pumpkin spice hot chocolate!  Very exciting!  I couldn't wait to try it.  Two nights later the hubs (who doesn't like chocolate -- what is WRONG with him???) was out of town so it was the perfect opportunity.

Community (like a modern day Saved by the Bell.  And who doesn't love Saved by the Bell?) and pumpkin spice hot chocolate.  Perfect evening home alone.

Ingredients (adjust to your own flavor preferences)

2 teaspoons honey
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (found on the baking aisle of most grocery stores)
1 - 2 teaspoons unsweetened dark cocoa
1/2 - 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup milk (preferably raw, if not lightly pasteurized whole milk)
homemade whipped cream topping*
Optional: 1 shot espresso, which will make the drink a mocha)

* Homemade whipped cream is so easy!  Pour cream into a small bowl and whip with a handmixer until it is stiff.  If you prefer sweet whipped cream, stir in some honey after it is stiff.


Pour milk into a small saucepan and warm over medium heat.  Mix together the honey, cocoa, and vanilla in a mug.  Add hot milk (and espresso if desired).  Top with whipped cream.  Serve immediately.

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