Did anyone else watch “Covered in Chocolate” weekend on the Food Network this past weekend? It put me into a little bit of a chocolate craze, and I’m not that much of a chocolate fiend to begin with. I made two different kinds of chocolate truffles, but that wasn’t enough. I wanted to drink liquid chocolate….hot chocolate! REAL hot chocolate (no, not those pre-made hot cocoa mixes). My husband used to drink land o’lakes hot cocoa, which besides having a bajillion strange ingredients in there, also has partially hydrogenated oil. Mmm…yum…trans fatty oil in your hot cocoa…lmao WHY would partially hydrogenated oil be put into HOT CHOCOLATE?!?!?! (to extend shelf life) But seriously, hot chocolate is so easy to make, I don’t know why anyone even bother with that nasty powdered stuff. Oh, and hot chocolate and hot cocoa are often used interchangeably, but they shouldn’t. Hot cocoa is made by mixing cocoa powder and water, whereas hot chocolate uses chocolate shavings, and is way richer. Here’s how to make some:
10 oz semisweet chocolate (use good quality chocolate)
2 cups milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
First let us talk about chopping the chocolate. Just as when we make chocolate truffles, we need to get the chocolate broken into small pieces/shavings so that the milk can melt the chocolate completely and evenly. You may have noticed in certain recipes where you have used chocolate chips instead of block chocolate shavings that it didn’t melt properly. That’s because the chocolate chips are unevenly shaped and larger than your chocolate pieces should be. You can either chop the chocolate with a knife, or if I am wanting some REALLY smooth chocolate, I literally grate my chocolate bar with my Microplane Coarse Grater (these things are awesome…I use it to grate my cheese, but also my chocolate, and grate potatoes for my gnocchi instead of buying a potato ricer. What a useful kitchen tool)!
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla to 190 degrees F, which is about scalding temperature. If you don’t have an instant read thermometer, you know it’s scalded when it’s just before the boiling point, is steaming like crazy, and bubbles have formed on the sides. Split the chopped chocolate evenly into your mugs, and pour the scalded milk in, letting it sit for a minute so the heat of the milk can really melt the chocolate. Stir and taste. Is it too thick and chocolatey for you? Add more milk. Is it too thin? Add more chocolate.
If you have little bits of unmelted chocolate in your hot chocolate, this means your shavings weren’t thin enough. You can just pop your mug in the microwave to melt it more.
1/4 cup cream
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp frangelico or other desired liqueur
Whip the cream with a mixer (or by hand…I do it by hand sometimes, though it will take a lot of elbow grease) until the cream thickens slightly, then add the sugar and liqueur. Whip to soft peaks, and spoon on top of your hot chocolate.
This is enough hot chocolate for 2-3 people (2 big mugfuls). Enjoy! I would love to hear any comments, questions, or suggestions below. Thanks for reading! Stay warm!
PS My friend Mariana made these mugs for me and my husband as a wedding gift…aren’t they cute (and mushy)? LOL. Thanks Mariana =)