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TIP OF THE DAY: Hot Chocolate From Scratch

hot-chocolate-moonstruck--230
Delicious Moonstruck chocolate bars melted
into milk for hot chocolate. Photo courtesy
Moonstruck.
  It’s below zero in quite a few areas of the country today. As we write this, in Fargo it’s 2°F, with the wind chill making it feel like -18°. In our own municipality, New York City, it’s 14°F, with a wind chill taking us to -3°, going down to -20° tomorrow morning. In the Hudson Valley north of us, the wind chill is -25° to -35° degrees. At JFK Airport, it’s -40°F.

Yes, it’s colder here than in Fargo!

So some warming comfort food is required. We recommend hot chocolate made from scratch.

No matter how much you enjoy hot chocolate from packets—even the pricier ones—making it from scratch produces a far superior product. It’s richer and more chocolaty, with a sweetness level you can adapt and your choice of milk (lactose free, nondairy, whatever).

EASY HOT CHOCOLATE FROM SCRATCH

Unwrap a bar of your favorite good-quality chocolate (or leftover solid Valentine chocolate) in a mug of steamed milk. Like hot chocolate on a stick, you stir until the chocolate melts.

If you don’t have a steamer, just heat the mil

 
k in the microwave. A mug with 6 ounces of steamed or heated milk can accommodate a small chocolate bar of around 1.2 to 1.4 ounces. A thin bar will melt very rapidly; a chunk of a thicker bar will melt much more slowly.

Mora Iced Creamery, on Bainbridge Island outside Seattle, serves something like this called a Submarino” in a glass mug. The chocolate “submarine” melts and turn the “oceand” from white to chocolate brown.

In Columbus, Ohio, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams serves a variation called Hot Chocolate Soup: hot chocolate in a café au lait bowl, served with animal crackers and a handmade marshmallow.

Art Pollard of Amano Artisan Chocolate in Utah favors a Chocolate & Cream, a preparation of 2 ounces of his delicious chocolate bars melted into a mug’s worth of whole milk combined with 2 tablespoons of heavy cream.

The City Bakery in New York City adds two tablespoons of butter instead of the heavy cream. (Try it if you like things really rich.)

When you use actual chocolate, including ground chocolate (often labeled as drinking chocolate) instead of cocoa powder, you are making hot chocolate. Here’s the difference between cocoa and hot chocolate.

 

RECIPE: HOT CHOCOLATE FROM SCRATCH

Ingredients Per Large Cup/Mug

  • 2-3 ounces of your favorite semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped or as chips
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk*
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream* of water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream, marshmallow or
    marshmallow creme
  •  
    *You can substitute lowfat or nonfat milk. The drink will simply be less rich. Similarly, you can substitute light cream or half and half for the heavy cream.
     
    Preparation

      mocha-hot-chocolate-red-cups-mccormick-230
    Hot chocolate can be customized in dozens of flavors, from banana to raspberry. Photo courtesy McCormick.
     
    1. COMBINE the chocolate, cocoa and sugar to the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Cover and process in ten second bursts at high speed just until finely ground (a few larger chunks of chocolate are O.K.).

    2. HEAT 3/4 cup whole milk plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream (or 3/4 cup milk plus 2 tablespoons of water) in a small, nonreactive saucepan. If using the cream mixture, stir frequently, preferably with a small whisk, until the mixture is steaming hot. If using water, the mixture should be almost at a boil.

    3. ADD the processed chocolate mixture. Whisk in well until it is dissolved and the mixture is steaming hot.

    4. GARNISH as desired and serve immediately. Yields one large or two more reasonable servings
     
    Here are 30 different ways to alter the recipe.
     
    MORE HOT CHOCOLATE RECIPES

  • Bailey’s Irish Cream Hot Chocolate Recipe
  • Banana Hot Chocolate Recipe
  • Chai Hot Chocolate Recipe
  • Ice Cream Float Hot Chocolate Recipe
  • Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Recipe
  • Spiced Hot Chocolate Recipe
  • Tequila Hot Chocolate Recipe
  • White Hot Chocolate Recipe
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