The season is changing right before our eyes.
Colorful overtones of Fall continue to tease as Summer fades gracefully into the background. I think it finally hit me that Autumn was here this morning. It was early, and I had grudgingly laced up my running shoes. I strapped on my Garmin and iPod (just started listening to These Is My Words). Usually I try to get out before the sun peeks over the mountain, but today I took my time. With a yawn, I opened the front door. Nothing could have prepared me for that cold rush of Autumn air - completely chilling my lungs in one breath. It wasn't the usual morning crispness.
It was cold.
As I headed down the road, I wished for that sun to rise faster to warm the air. Today was the first time since mid-March I thought about gloves and running tights; about corn mazes and tall boots; about the familiar smell of pumpkin carving, and the beautiful comfort of hot chocolate.
Fall, for me, has officially arrived.
Blog land has apparently caught the Autumn bug as well, and jumped right into our favorite recipes and flavors of the season. This recipe has been on my list for a while, and with my nose and ears red from the cold chill of the morning air, I decided it was time to pull out the pumpkin spice and whip up something warm in the kitchen.
I can't even begin to describe such a heavenly mug filled with velvety hot chocolate, seasoned with the familiar spices of pumpkin pie, and dolloped with freshly whipped cream. Goodness, people.
Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate
2 1/2 C milk (I used skim)
1/3 C hot cocoa mix
1/4 C canned pumpkin (not canned pumpkin pie)
1 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice (next time I'll use just 1 teaspoon)
1/2 t vanilla
pinch of salt
homemade whipped cream* (It's very easy and completely worth it. I promise.)
1. In a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat, whisk together milk, hot cocoa mix, vanilla, and pinch of salt.
2. Add pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice.
3. Heat thoroughly, whisking as the temperature rises. When desired temperature is reached, pour into 3 small mugs (or two large ones), top with whipped cream and marshmallows. Sprinkle a bit of pumpkin pie spice for a little extra love.
Recipe from: Cookies and Cups
*Homemade Whipped Cream
1 C heavy cream
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 C confectioner's sugar
1. Chill whisk attachment and bowl in freezer for about 5 minutes.
2. In chilled bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form.
3. Beat in vanilla and sugar until stiff peaks form. Don't over-mix.