So, we had a little heat wave a few weeks ago when Hurricane Earl was heading up the coast. Then, for the next few weeks it got really cold, and I went on a bit of a hot chocolate spree! After trying out more recipes than I’d care to confess to, I have two new favorite recipes. One is adapted from Nigella Lawson (hers is alcoholic) and has to be cooked on the stove. For the other one, you make your own mix and then you can make the cocoa in the microwave if you’re in a hurry. Both are MUCH better than the kind you buy in little packets at the grocery store. And yes, if you follow me on Facebook, you probably saw that I couldn’t make that kind. Here’s the story. . .
One chilly morning Reese asked me for hot chocolate, and being a sucker for warm, soothing drinks myself, I had no problem granting his request. I went to the cupboard and got out some Swiss Miss that promised to be a marshmallow lover’s dream. Now, before I tell you the rest of the story, I just want to say – this was first thing in the morning and I didn’t really have my wits about me. So I started some water boiling in the kettle and ripped open an envelope of mix and poured it into a mug. When the water was boiling I filled the mug. And then stared into it in a great deal of confusion. At which point my dear, sweet husband walked in to the kitchen and asked what was so interesting in the mug. I was still confused and told him that it was just a bunch of marshmallows but it was supposed to be hot chocolate mix. Anyway, we pulled out the box and found that the packets came in pairs (I’d just torn one off) and that one side had marshmallows and the other had the mix. Jay laughed himself sick and has given me no end of grief about not being able to make hot chocolate from a packet. The end.
Not a terribly funny story, but since then I’ve been (probably unfairly) a little negatively prejudiced against Ye Olde Swiss Miss. Anywho, this recipe is much more chocolatey and comforting, really easy to make, yields about 8 servings, and is much, much better than the packaged stuff. With the added bonus not of having any confusing additions of pathetic, dehydrated little
bits of glue marshmallows. Would make a lovely gift too!
Hot Chocolate Mix
yields 8 servings
1/2 cup of the best cocoa powder ever
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup powdered milk
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
Place cocoa powder, sugar, powdered milk and chocolate chips into the bowl of your food processor.
Blitz in 15 second bursts until the chocolate chips have disappeared into the mixture. Don’t blitz too long in one go because it could cause the chocolate to start to melt.
Alternately, if you don’t have a food processor, whisk the cocoa, sugar and powdered milk together. Then finely, finely, finely! chop the chocolate and add it to the mix.
Store the mix in an airtight container.
To make the hot chocolate: Heat a cup of milk in the microwave or on the stove.
Add 1/4 cup of the mix and stir well to incorporate.
Top with softly whipped cream and enjoy!
Also, I like to use my microplane to grate some chocolate over the top. It grates it so finely that it starts to melt right away, yum!
The next one is a recipe I don’t think I could live without. It’s the Nigella one, and oh.my.gosh. is it amazing!!! It’s a bit thicker and more full-bodied than the mix one. This would be a great one to serve to guests after dinner with a big pile of cookies. And it is the perfect drink to make when it’s dark and stormy and you just want to curl up on the couch with a warm blanket and a good book. Makes me drool just thinking of it!
Super Rich Hot Chocolate
adapted from Nigella Lawson
2 cups milk
3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate (I used my favorite Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips)
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup cream
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, chips, cinnamon stick, honey and brown sugar.
Heat over medium heat, mixing constantly, until the chocolate completely melts and the milk starts to foam. This takes about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
Pour the cream into your mixer.
Sift in the powdered sugar, stir to combine.
Whisk the cream until soft peaks form.
Ladle the hot chocolate into cups.
Dollop the soft cream into the hot chocolate.
Sip slowly and attempt not to swoon, it would make a huge mess and be a waste of chocolate!
P.S. I used to use a kitchen scale to weigh out the chocolate, until I realized that 1 of my handfuls of chocolate chips equals about 2 ounces. And I don’t even measure out the rest of the ingredients anymore, I just spoon in the brown sugar, mix in a good glug of honey, etc. This is definitely a recipe that doesn’t require precision! I gave the original amounts more just so you can have a starting point.
Gentle reminder: Two more days to enter the King Arthur Giveaway for 1 pound of Bensdorp cocoa powder and a box of unbleached cake flour! All you need to do is leave a comment on this post! Giveaway closes at 11:59pm Thursday, September 22.