Recipes from Maria's Kitchen

Christmas Cafe au Lait
Cook Time - 6 mins

Servings - 6-8

The strong coffee balances out the sweetness of the chocolate mixture. It's a perfect holiday drink and so easy to make.

* 1 1/2 cups whole milk
* 2/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
* 2 ( 2-inch) cinnamon sticks
* 1 strip orange peel, about 1/2 inch by 3 inches
* 10 whole cloves
* 2 to 2 1/2 cups hot brewed strong coffee
* 1/4 cup cold heavy cream
* Ground cinnamon, for garnish
* Cocoa, for garnish

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, 2/3 cup of the sugar, and cocoa until smooth. Add the cinnamon sticks, orange peel and cloves and bring to a simmer, stirring, to dissolve the sugar and prevent the cocoa from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whip the cream with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar until thick and frothy, and peaks form. Set aside.

Strain the milk mixture into a coffee pot or carafe and add 2 cups of the hot coffee (2 1/2 cups for stronger coffee flavor, to taste). Pour into cups or small mugs and top each with a dollop of the sweetened whipped cream.

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