The Ultimate Hot Chocolate ~ this thick, rich, chocolatey 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. Here’s the recipe —
- 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!
On a sad note, the food blogging community is mourning the loss of one of its bright lights…Joan Hayes of Chocolate Chocolate and More passed away suddenly last week. She was only 49, and a single mother, leaving three children behind. She was a beloved figure in the blogging world and left a legacy of kindness and generosity that touched so many of us. Joan’s blog was the sole source of income for her family, so I’d like to ask you to please visit her site, and pin and share her recipes in order to keep it vital so it can continue to provide for her children. Pick out a recipe or two to try while you’re there, it’s an incredible collection of irresistible desserts! Life is unpredictable, so enjoy a bit of chocolate while you can. <3