Peppermint Hot Chocolate Affogato // Not Without Salt

“Do you want ice cream with caramel sauce or hot chocolate?” I ask Ivy. Her face brightens with the choice. She and I plan to take full advantage of a quiet house and the ice cream that sits idly in the freezer.

“No wait!” I interrupt just as she is ready to answer. “How about we have hot chocolate AND ice cream.” She doesn’t argue.

She scoots the stool over while I reach for a saucepan. Putting herself in charge of the chocolate she sneaks a taste before plunging into the hot milk speckled with floating dots of perfumed vanilla seeds. Cocoa powder, rich and nearly black, follows turning the white milk dark and thick. A scoop of ice cream sits in each bowl as a warm bath of hot chocolate pools around its base. A breeze of peppermint hits my nose, cooling and crisp, and immediately the ice cream puddles at the edges.

Her little hands wrap around the bowl smiling at what she sees. I notice her fingers; more slender than last year with chipped hot pink sparkly polish on her nails. Our legs weave together on the couch, a Christmas movie plays in the background as we give full attention to our dessert; warm and cold and appropriately indulgent.

This is the sort of scene I’ve longed for as the last several weeks were filled with deadlines and what I now describe as noise – too loud for me to notice the simple joys like this. Our December has been set aside for quiet – an intentional move during a season that tries desperately to threaten quiet and contentment. Books are being read, candles scented of Bergamot are lit, the tree stands tall in the corner with the lights beaming continuously. We will find snow, we will bake cookies, write notes, drive around oohhing and ahhing at our neighbor’s Christmas lights and warm ourselves with cup after cup of hot chocolate. Closets are purged of their unnecessary clutter and toys are being reexamined and donated. We’re finding joy in a simple sheet of white paper and a sharp pencil, some chalk and a giant game of tic tac toe in the driveway and watching icicles shatter into tiny pieces as it bears the brunt of a kung-fu chop.

There’s reality too, like a sick boy sitting next to me home from school, three-year-old tantrums about forgotten stuffed kitties, dishes that don’t clean themselves, email that needs someone to respond to and comments that threaten steal the joy of creating – it’s noise, it’s life but right now I’m working valiantly to find the quiet. It’s good to be here, in this space – imperfect and comfortable, warming and quiet. Thanks for being here and for your patience when it was a bit too quiet around here. Stay tuned for Toddy’s and cinnamon-swirled rolls, sweet and cardamom spiced. For now, hot chocolate AND ice cream.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Affogato // Not Without Salt




Peppermint Hot Chocolate Affogato


Serves 8 to 10 (affogato-size portions)


2 cups milk

6 tablespoons cocoa powder

4 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

pinch salt

few drops peppermint extract


In a small saucepan over medium heat bring the milk to a gentle boil. Whisk together the cocoa powder and sugar in a small bowl.

Remove the saucepan from the heat then whisk in the cocoa powder mixture along with the chocolate, salt and peppermint extract or oil to taste.

Strain hot chocolate if any little lumps remain.

Hot chocolate will keep, covered and refrigerated, for two weeks.


Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to a small bowl or mug. Pour 1/4 cup of warm hot chocolate over the ice cream then finish with crumbs of candy cane.


36 Responses to “Peppermint Hot Chocolate Affogato”

  1. Daytona

    Ah, it makes me so happy to hear you have the opportunity to savor the quiet moments this month. I, too, have been seeking ways to strike a balance between the wonderful commitments of parties, to-do lists, and obligations and the essential time spent cozying up in a warm house with those nearest and dearest to me. Your post echoes much of what I’m striving for this season and as a result offers encouragement. Thank you–and may these holiday weeks bring much cheer, blessing, warmth, and love to your family.

  2. Kathleen

    Oh, hello! Yes, please! I think my boys would convulse with joy if I placed this before them. I just might even put caramel on top. Why not all of the above? 🙂

    I am with you on embracing the quiet as much as possible during Advent. We are saying “no” much more around here these days and it’s been really good for our family. Peace, quiet, playtime, giving, creating. (PS- Thanks for your stunning work, for opening a little window into your life, for being vulnerable. I know those awful comments can be hard to brush off.)

  3. Lorrie

    What a lovely post.
    Reading it brought back memories (long forgotten) of a restaurant that I worked in–there were ‘those kind of days’ and when things slowed up a bit, I would make extra dark hot cocoa for the waitstaff and myself, filling our cups with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, pouring on the cocoa, and then slathering on whipped cream and chopped dark chocolate bits on the top.
    Always an improvement on the day…

  4. sara forte

    All about it. It is a noisy season for sure. Can’t imagine how heavy life fills with the book stuff in full force ahead. Grateful you have special moments with your precious family. Thinking of you guys always, enjoy the season, friend!!!

  5. PatHarris

    “Redeem the time.” Here’s hoping your month is filled with many more quiet moments, time to sip cocoa, sing songs, enjoy the simple joys and play. Those are truly the things of value. Thanks for sharing your heart on this. And thanks for another awesome recipe. You’re a great food artist and I’m delighted to have found your blog.

  6. Kezia

    Hot chocolate AND ice cream? I have honestly never even thought of this – you are a genius!

  7. la domestique

    I’m a big fan of the peppermint/chocolate combo and this looks just heavenly! Here’s to quieting the mind and enjoying the season!

  8. Cherylyn Petersen

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful moment. So precious and happy. May your season exceed your dreams and fill you with the rest and joy you crave.

  9. Nadia

    This is the most beautiful thing I have ever read on the internet. E-ver. I wish *all* of life could be as wonderful as this picture you have sketched out here. I’m so moved I just had to comment!
    Peace and Happiness,

  10. mimi

    funny. I was just staring at this exact recipe on! Your photos are incredible.

  11. Shaina

    I’m so glad to hear you’re focusing on the quiet. I long for quiet moments and the beauty in life, even in the midst of chaos. Too often I don’t pay attention. Affogatos are a favorite of mine, and I love the idea of sharing them with the kids, too. Lovely post and recipe.

  12. Kathryn

    We had a weekend of quiet time after a few weeks of constant and increasingly loud noise and I could not have needed it more. It’s so important to make that time to really just sit and be still and enjoy those quiet moments; they’re the ones that you really treasure.

  13. KitchenReviewer

    This looks absolutely delicious! Seeing posts like this makes me very excited for the Holiday season. I have been looking for new recipes to try with different kitchen appliances. Would using an immersion blender or hand mixer make this treat any easier to make? Or was it pretty simple to begin with?

  14. Laura Dembowski

    This sounds like the perfect holiday treat! I know what you mean about wanting to celebrate simple, wonderful things, especially in December. Hopefully life won’t get in the way too much for either of us!

  15. Maureen

    Great post who have here. And you have lovely moments.

    I love peppermint and also chocolate, there’s no doubt about it. I really love this recipe of yours!