A wise old bird, Fannie Farmer left her imprint on cocoa culture. She came early to the benefits of hot cocoa, and in 1886, published a cookbook that was one of the first to advocate exact measurements, instead of a pinch of this, a handful of that. It became a best-seller across America, selling over 4 million copies during her lifetime. As director of the Boston Cooking School, she taught nurses at Harvard Medical School to serve hot cocoa as a remedy for stomach maladies. Ms. Farmer, who added brandy to flavor many of her recipes, was known to take an occasional nip in the kitchen.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
- 1 pinch salt
- 4 cups milk
- 3 ounces brandy
- Combine cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. In a separate saucepan, heat milk over medium heat until it becomes hot, not quite to a boil. Add just a few tablespoons of the hot milk into the cocoa mix, and stir into a smooth paste with a wooden spoon.
- Gradually add the remainder of the milk and continue stirring until fully incorporated. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Add the brandy, then froth with an immersion blender until creamy and foamy. Divide into four pre-warmed cups.