Cooking with Cathy: Warm Winter Treats 

Cathy Speronis was in our studio recently for her monthly Cooking with Cathy segment. She made treats that will warm you up on a cold day.Special Dark Hot ChocolateServes 41/2 cup Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. granulated sugarPinch of salt1 cup water3 cups whole milk1/2 cup heavy cream1 tsp. pure vanilla extractIn a heavy 2 quart saucepan, combine the cocoa, sugar, salt and water. Mix with a whisk until combined. Place over low heat and continue whisking until smooth for about 2 minutes.Add the milk and increase the heat to medium-low. Cook until steam rises off of the surface and bubbles begin to form at the edges stirring occasionally. Do not boil.Add the heavy cream and the vanilla. Stir to combine. Serve immediately. Garnish with whipped cream if desired.Rich Bread Pudding with Crisp Cinnamon-Sugar ToppingSource: Cooks Illustrated “The New Best Recipe Cookbook”Serves 8-10Cinnamon-Sugar Topping2 tablespoons sugar1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamonBread Pudding4 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk3/4 cup sugar2 1/2 cups whole milk2 1/2 cups heavy cream3 tablespoons bourbon1 tablespoon vanilla extract3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg1/4 teaspoon salt12 ounces (about 1/2 loaf) good-quality American-style white bread, sliced 3/8 inch thick and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes (about 8 cups)11/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the baking dish1. FOR THE TOPPING: Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl2. FOR THE PUDDING: Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.3. Whisk the eggs, yolk, and sugar in a large bowl to blend well. Whisk in the milk, cream, bourbon, vanilla extract, nutmeg and salt. Stir in 6 cups of the bread cubes: mix thoroughly to moisten. Let stand 20 minutes.4. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Scatter the remaining 2 cups bread cubes on top, pushing them down gently to partially submerge. Brush the exposed bread with the melted butter and sprinkle with the topping. Bake until the pudding turns deep golden brown, is beginning to rise up the sides of the baking dish, and jiggles very slightly at the center when shaken, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool until set but still warm, about 45 minutes. Serve as is or with whipped cream.