The Ultimate Hot Chocolate ~ this thick, rich, chocolatey hot cocoa is going to be your new best friend this winter, trust me!
I’d say most of us have at least one or two obsessions when it comes to food. Being a food blogger, I’ve probably got more than my share. One of them is hot chocolate. I’m always on the prowl for the ultimate thick rich drinking chocolate. I crave deep chocolate flavor, and a thick THICK consistency, almost like pudding. If I’m not tempted to use a spoon, it’s not thick enough. To me, that’s the ultimate indulgence on a cold night.
As it happens, today is National Chocolate Day — the perfect day to share this recipe for the most voluptuous drinkable chocolate I’ve found yet. Over the years I’ve tried all sort of techniques to achieve a result like this, and it’s surprisingly tough! At one point I thought using heavy cream might be the answer… remember the brief appearance of Chantico, in the teeny little cups, at Starbucks? That stuff was good — it was described as a ‘drinkable truffle’ — but it was a zillion calories. That’s probably why it didn’t last long. Anyone who read the calorie count couldn’t bring themselves to order it. And it was so small it was gone before you could really enjoy it. But don’t worry, there’s no heavy cream in my recipe.
The answer turns out to be a combination of elements, each building upon the next to create the most wonderful effect. I use a milk base, and while you could use nonfat, I think whole or 2% works best. I use a heavy proportion of chocolate (both solid chocolate and cocoa powder,) which provides that great chocolate punch. Then just enough sugar to sweeten but not overpower the chocolate, and some real vanilla. Aaaaaaaand the secret ingredient that actually makes the whole thing thick…cornstarch. You won’t taste it, but you will love what it does to this cocoa.
That top photo aside, this drinking chocolate really doesn’t need any other embellishment, like whipped cream or marshmallows, it stands on its own merits, but you can use them if you like.
When the temperatures drop I think all of us crave something warm to drink, and I’ve got lots of other ideas for you ~
- My DRINKABLE NUTELLA is an unforgettable experience, if you love the chocolate hazelnut spread, better check it out!
- CHAI SPICED COCOA is a classic hot cocoa kicked up with chai spices.
- And my FRENCH PRESS BREAKFAST CHOCOLATE is an incredibly frothy drinking chocolate made right in your French press coffee maker.
The Ultimate Hot Chocolate
- 2 cups milk, any kind you like
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 oz dark or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (you can use chocolate chips)
- 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
- 2 tsp cornstarch, sifted
- 1/2 tsp vanilla or vanilla paste
- whipped cream or marshmallows
- Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat on medium, stirring or whisking constantly until it just comes to a simmer and thickens.
- Pour into mugs, top with whipped cream or marshmallows, and enjoy right away.
- There are lots of ways to vary this…use almond or coconut milk for non-dairy drinkers. Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon, or cardamom for a little spice. Almond or peppermint extract can stand in for the vanilla. You could add some powdered espresso, maybe 1 teaspoon, for a mocha effect. And a shot of Bourbon might be nice, on occasion.
- Serve this with a spoon, it’s that thick!