I don’t think anyone would argue that hot chocolate is the coziest of cozy drinks. And since this is lil’ blog is called A Cozy Kitchen I think I’ve gone way too long without sharing a proper hot chocolate recipe. And not just any hot chocolate but the fanciest of hot chocolates.
Let’s talk about the difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate. Hot cocoa is exactly that – cocoa powder dissolved into milk or (God forbid) water. I have good memories of hot cocoa, actually. When I was a kid, I used to sit in my way-too-long PJ t-shirt and watch cartoons, sipping on Swiss Miss. I also loooved dipping whole wheat bread into my hot cocoa. (I was a weird child.)
But during the holidays, it was always hot chocolate. My mom would tell us stories about how in Peru, on Christmas Eve, right before midnight mass, a big pot of hot chocolate was made. They’d take big blocks of chocolate, melt it and then mix it into warm milk until it dissolved. Real, thick hot chocolate is a game changer.
If it’s cold where you live and you’re feeling some fancy-ass hot chocolate, here’s what you need to do. There’s like two or three steps–this ain’t rocket science.
Step 1: Get your hands on some good chocolate. I had some Scharffenberger chocolate in my pantry. Other brands I love: Tcho, Green & Black or Ghiradelli. I chose a bittersweet (70%) to use in this hot chocolate. I think it adds a nice depth and lends a lot of richness to this hot chocolate, but feel free to go sweeter if you like.
Step 2: Don’t be shy to add some other stuff like a cinnamon stick, 1/4 of a vanilla bean, some Ancho chile powder and salt. I looove steeping the milk with a cinnamon stick and vanilla bean–it smells like heaven.
Step 3: Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and then add it to the warm milk. I tried it with just adding the chocolate straight to the milk and I swear the viscosity and mouth feel is better if you melt the chocolate first. If you’re feeling particularly lazy and don’t want to dirty an extra bowl, you’re more than welcome to just add the chopped chocolate to the warm milk–it’ll still be delicious.
Step 4: And lastly, put it in a cute mug. Everything always taste better if the vessel you’re using is cute and pretty. I found these in a vintage shop in Palm Springs. I basically want my whole kitchen to be copper. I’m going through a copper phase.
Fancy-Ass Hot Chocolate
4 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 vanilla bean, scraped (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
6 ounces dark chocolate (60%)
1/4 teaspoon Ancho chile powder
Pinch of salt
1. To a medium saucepan, placed over low heat, pour in the milk, sugar, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean caviar and bean. Heat until a very gentle simmer and take the saucepan off the heat and allow to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean and discard.
2. Create a double boiler, by setting a stainless steel or glass bowl over a saucepan filled with simmering water. Add the chocolate to the bowl and heat until the chocolate is melted.
3. Place the steeped milk over medium low heat, and pour in the melted chocolate; whisk until completely incorporated and mixture is hot. Add a pinch of salt and ancho chile powder. Divide between mugs and top with homemade marshmallows.
Makes 2 cups of hot chocolate