A few weeks ago,
James and I clambered out onto my sister’s fifth-floor fire escape and festooned the spindly iron rails with cedar and pine and boxwood in the name of December and the holidays and a hefty dose of weekend work.
Correction: James clambered out onto the fire escape. I dictated bossy orders from the safety of the apartment. Marriage.
When all was good and finished,
we perched on the fire escape for a romantic cup of hot cocoa.
Right. Well, here again, it was James who perched on the fire escape. I leaned on the window ledge and pretended like I wasn’t too scared to take my life in my hands and float above the street with nary a care. But whether or not I actually sat fancy free on the frigid fire escape to enjoy this steaming cup of chocolate is entirely beside the point. The point, clearly, is how to achieve the perfect cup of hot chocolate. And that is something I actually did. Herewith:
Fire Escape Hot Cocoa
What you’ll need:
– cocoa powder (any kind’ll do)
– whole milk
– a vanilla bean, sliced open lengthwise but not cut in half
– grated nutmeg
– turbinado sugar
– ice cream (i used van leeuwen earl grey…)
How to do it: The amounts that you use should really be left up to you. Keep a wooden spoon or two nearby and stir and sip routinely until the cocoa has reached just the perfect temperature and flavor that you’re looking for. This isn’t science, it’s art. When enough cocoa has been added to the milk that it’s sufficiently dark and chocolatey and when enough spice and sweet has been added to suit your fancy, pour the steaming concoction into your favorite mug and top with a scoop of ice cream and grated nutmeg and giggle at your genius as you sip.
For more on festooning the fire escape see Gardenista.