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Hannah's Hot Cocoa from A Tailor-Made Bride
Picture a handful of rugged cowboys out on the range, a fire crackling between them as dawn lightens the sky. Tin cups in hand, they swig their beverage of choice—coffee. Hot, black, and strong enough to stand a fork up in. Now move indoors to a woman's quiet kitchen where she's watching that same sunrise. A quilt wrapped around her shoulders, bare feet tucked under her legs as she contemplates what the new day might bring. A delicate china cup warms her hands as she gently blows the swirling steam away from the liquid surface. What beverage passes her lips? Many would choose tea, but not Hannah Richards. This dressmaker craves chocolate and starts every day with a cup of Baker's Breakfast Cocoa.
Hannah mastered her sewing skills while working under the tutelage of an established dressmaker in San Antonio, but before coming to Texas, she lived with her mother and younger sister in Dorchester, Massachusetts. To support her girls after her husband died, Mrs. Richards took a job in the Baker Chocolate Mill where she was rewarded for her diligent work with discounts on their products. So instead of coffee or tea, the Richards women drank cocoa.
Not knowing how available breakfast cocoa would be in Coventry, Hannah made sure to pack one of the large five pound canisters in her trunks. And upon arrival, her first order of business, beyond finding her shop and unloading her belongings, was to arrange for a daily delivery of milk. One couldn't drink breakfast cocoa without milk.
To prepare her morning cocoa, Hannah would first need to boil 2 cups of water in a kettle. While the water heated, she would take a small pan and mix 1 ½ tablespoons of her Baker's Breakfast Cocoa, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and a few grains of salt. Once the water boiled, she would add ½ cup to the cocoa mixture and stir until it formed a paste. Then she pours the rest of the boiling water into the pan and lets the mixture boil for one minute. In the meantime, she is also scalding 2 cups of milk in a second pan. When the mixture has boiled for a minute and the milk is ready, she turns the chocolate mixture into the scalded milk and beats it for two minutes with a hand-held egg beater. Not quite as convenient as the instant packets we have today, but something tells me it would taste much better Hannah's way.