Gina, the star dog trainer turned reindeer game creator, arrived yesterday at the North Pole with her entourage. Important elves never travel alone. Her personal assistant Coco bustled into the kitchen with a locked attaché on her little wrist. She looked furtively left and right and then motioned for me to join her in the pantry. I guess she had seen too many Get Smart episodes and thought we were going to enter the Cone of Silence inside the pantry.
“What’s up, Cookie?” I asked her.
“It’s Coco and it’s cocoa,” She whispered with a steely eyed elfin gaze.
“Sure, Cookie. Whatcha got in your little suitcase there? You going to grandmas? That’s what my suitcase used to say right there on the side.” I reached for the case to point out the location of the clever catch phrase on my old suitcase and Coco lurched the case out of my grasp with a startled shriek. So much for the Cone of Silence.
“It’s my secret recipe for cocoa,” she looked around the pantry again as if she expected Ninja elves to come bursting through the cans of beans. I could only hope for such a diversion to get rid of this kooky elf.
“Okay, thank you, sweetie,” I decided to use my ‘patient’ voice (as opposed to my why-don’t-you-and-your-little-secret-just-go-back-to-dogtown-voice.) “Just submit your recipe to the kitchen assistant over there and we will test it before putting it on the menu. “
“You can’t put this recipe on the menu!” she gasped. “It’s special.”
“It’s special,” I repeated.
“Yes. It has a secret ingredient and it is only to be served to Gina and her Cabinet members – me, Cricket, Kim, Ken, Kobe, Karla, Colin, and Carrie.” She finally broke into a toothy smile. “The dogs respond better to ‘k’ sounds so Gina only hires elves whose names start with a K or a C. Clever, huh?”
“And confusing,” ... ‘and krazy ,’ I thought to myself. I was trying hard not to roll my eyes although I’m sure they wavered just a bit. Coco finally unlocked the case from her arm. She pulled out a tattered recipe card and gave it to me with two hands.
“I have other copies, you know.” She said quietly as though she were handing me the Dead Sea Scrolls.
“Prudent.” I whispered back to her in my ‘patient’ voice.
“We’ll expect cocoa each morning precisely at 8:00. Whipped cream, marshmallows and cinnamon sticks. “ she looked around the pantry once more paying particular attention to the oatmeal shelf and then she was gone.
6 cups milk
2 cups half & half
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Secret Ingredient: 1/3 cup leopard spots (if you don’t have a package of leopard spots you can use chocolate chips)
Heat milk and half & half in a medium sized saucepan. In a small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder and sugar. Add a few tablespoons of heated milk to the cocoa powder and sugar; stir until all lumps are gone. Add cocoa mixture to the milk and stir; add vanilla. Add leopard spots. Serve with whipped cream, marshmallows and cinnamon sticks, if desired. Garnish with chocolate shavings. Yield 4 mugs or 8 cups cocoa. Note: The “leopard spots” will melt and remain on top of the cocoa. They will shimmer when stirred gently.