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A twist on after-dinner coffee warms up the night

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There is a lot of emphasis in the seasonal cookbooks and magazines on hot chocolate, which is generally prepared with milk (and milk is also included in hot chocolate mixes, just so you know). But a lot of people want coffee after dinner, and if you do here is an easy way to get there fast after you have served and dessert is on its way.

You can make a quick and easy pot of hot water simply by running water through your coffee maker, without the ground coffee. I see this at church all the time--it is accompanied by various teabags so that non-coffee drinkers can make a cup of tea. But the recipe below provides you with a coffee-chocolate mix that will go well with Holiday desserts such as Christmas cookies and pumpkin pie.

The recipe came from one of the cookbooks that I picked up last week when the Ten Thousand Villages bazaar was held at one of the Episcopal churches in Tucson. Besides the cookbooks I also picked up a lovely blue-and-white ceramic menorah and some folkloric jewelry for gifting.

FIRESIDE COFFEE

From the Best of the Holidays

Ingredients:

2 cups instant hot chocolate mix
2 cups non-dairy creamer
1 cup instant coffee granules
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
Dash of salt

Place all these ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk them together gently but thoroughly. Place the mixture in an airtight storage container.

When you are serving, place 2 Tablespoons of the mix into a coffee mug and fill with 8 ounces of hot water. Taste and adjust the proportions to taste, if necessary.

This coffee drink could be enhanced further with Kahlua or brandy, of any liquor that you particularly like if it goes with coffee and chocolate. If you want to enhance it but don't want to add flavors, you can use vodka--1 ounce per cup.

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