Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I ♥ Homemade Hot Chocolate

Baby, it's cold outside! Sometimes we just need a little hot chocolate to warm the cockles of our heart. Real chocolate...not the mixed up, additive-full concoctions sold as hot chocolate. We need pure, dark chocolate combined with whole milk and topped with dreamy, creamy marshmallows that puff up and melt into it's goodness. Or freshly whipped cream that is either lightly sweetened, flavored or with a hint of spice. The higher the quality of chocolate, the better your drink will be. In Paris, Angelina's has hot chocolate so rich it seems like a dessert. I have gotten their packaged Hot Chocolate to make at home and it didn't resemble what they serve at all. It seems hard to translate freshly made hot chocolate into a powdery mixture. Café Le Sélect serves pitchers of warm chocolate and steamed milk to mix together for your own tastes. I like that. In European countries, hot chocolate is a breakfast beverage just like coffee and tea. Now that is civilized! A simple hot chocolate recipe can be used as is or as a base for other flavorings that compliment chocolate. Lindt makes a chili pepper dark chocolate bar that can be substituted for the plain chocolate to give your drink a little kick. Add a cinnamon stick to that for an even more exotic taste. Or you can simply use a candy cane to stir plain hot chocolate. It not only gives a minty flavor, but looks festive as well. Add a little coffee for a mocha pick me up. Homemade marshmallows that are as light as a snowy night, slowly melt into the dark chocolate sweetness. Now that is bliss! My friend Debbie gave me an old family recipe for hot chocolate. It uses whipped cream to make it light and creamy. I love getting recipes that have been passed around family and friends.

Of course, all of the flavorings can be like gilding the lily, but sometimes a twist on the classic makes it even more special.

Basic Hot Chocolate

2 (480ml) cups whole milk
4 (120 grams) ounces dark chocolate* Chopped or grated into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
*for a less dark chocolate flavor, use 3 ounces bittersweet and 1 ounce milk chocolate.
Add the milk, grated chocolate and vanilla into a saucepan, and heat over medium heat while whisking. Do not let it boil. Taste for sweetness and whisk in optional sugar, if desired. For a frothy drink, use a hand held immersion blender to foam.

Makes 2 cups.

Variations:

~Heat the milk and infuse with 2 slices of fresh ginger and a pinch of allspice. Serve with cinnamon flavored freshly whipped cream.

~Whisk in a pinch each of ground cardamom and cayenne pepper. Serve with whipped cream topped with an orange slice.

~
A splash of Kahlua, Amaretto, schnapps or other liqueur adds warmth as well as flavor.

~Stir in 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder and add a splash of Clément Créole Shrubb liqueur. Garnish with a whole star anise.

~Substitute the plain dark chocolate for a flavored chocolate, such as Chili Chocolate or Orange Chocolate.

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Angelina's Le Chocolat l'Africain

3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
4 ounces Omanhene bittersweet chocolate* (72% cacao), chopped
whipped cream for serving
*may substitute with another high quality chocolate that is at least 70% cacao

In small saucepan, heat the milk, cream and sugar over medium high heat until hot, but not boiling. Remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate until well blended and the chocolate is melted.

Serve very warm with a bowl of lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Makes 1 cup.

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Debbie's Hot Chocolate

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup heavy cream
hot whole milk

In a medium saucepan, add the chocolate and water and cook while stirring over medium heat, until smooth. Add the sugar and salt and continue cooking for 4 minutes. Remove from heat, add vanilla and let cool. In the meantime whip the heavy cream until light and fluffy and then fold into the cooled chocolate mixture. Spoon about 3 tablespoons into a cup and add hot milk to fill. Stir and serve.
Note: The chocolate sauce can be made in advance. Fold the whipped cream in just before adding the hot milk and serving.

Makes 6 servings.

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10 comments:

La Table De Nana said...

Hot chocolate to me is sooo comforting..one of my DD's makes it for us all winter..don't know what she uses..but when we show up..the boys..and us..get a nice mug..w/ marshmallows..Your recipes are elegant and upscale:) I will try one.. your photos as always so pretty..Some days I think I'll get to see Paris..
You have given me the itch ..you really have..

Always a pleasure to visit you..

Kate said...

Hot chocolate is special. I enjoy it and always think of winter when I was a little girl. We recently had some with peppermint stir sticks. It was fun.
Love you photographs and now I have choices for hot chocolate!

food for thought said...

oolala, does it get any better then this?!

lostpastremembered said...

So many good ones... love the idea of adding cardamom to the mix... like a chai but with chocolate. I don't think it gets better than that.

linda said...

you REALLY need to write a book on your favs in paris & it's arrondissements & "little quirks"!
love the omanhene link…very interesting…
& cafe le select's pitchers of warm chocolate & steamed milk sounds divine!

2 Stews said...

Thanks for visiting...I hope everyone is staying warm if you are in the cold climates. Chocolate helps, it always helps.

Linda...I'd love to put together a compilation of my Paris favs. Soon, I hope!

Cheers......Diane

Nisrine | Dinners and Dreams said...

I heart it too especially when it's made with good quality dark chocolate. Yum!

Jennifer said...

Definitely a good call to recommend Omanhene chocolate! Ghanaian cocoa is some of the best in the world, and the company is one of the only chocolate companies that produces its product in the country from which it originates! Thanks for all the hot cocoa inspirations!

Chocolate Freckles said...

I love Hot Chocolate too!!

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