The Perfect Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate for most people is the cosiest drink on this planet and it certainly is one of the best drinks to warm you up after being outside in rough weather. But there are hot chocolates (read: “hastily warmed milk with some cocoa thrown in”) and there is hot chocolate (beyond words)

A warming cup of hot chocolate

Just in time for the cold season I want to share with you my recipe for the best hot chocolate ever made.

I always thought of hot chocolate as a hot cup of cocoa with whipped cream on top but a trip to tuscany a few years ago completely changed my view of this beverage. In tuscany people serve a drink that tastes of real chocolate and has a rich and thick texture. What’s more, when it gets cold, it turns solid. After this I couldn’t go back to the cocoa-stuff.

I started to use real dark chocolate and melt between 50 and 100 grams of chocolate for 250ml of milk. Real chocolate as the “chocolate” ingredient makes all the difference to start with. And once you went to real chocolate you can’t go back to cocoa. But still far from perfect.

The dilemma

One of the most pleasurable things to drink is melted chocolate with just some dashes of milk. But the taste is way too strong. When you dilute it enough to taste great, the nice and thick texture has gone. So the goal is a melted-chocolate-texture with a real-chocolate-added-to-milk-taste.

Flowing from the spoon nicely. Just a little bit thinner than melted chocolate.

Time for the secret ingredient that brings back the texture without altering the taste: starch.

The secret recipe

You’ll need:

  • 250ml milk
  • ~50-75g dark chocolate (experiment with various types. I like dark chocolate)
  • up to 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder (the bitter one for baking)
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • cinnamon to taste
  • experiment with stuff like chili/tabasco, eggnog, coffee …

Take a pot and add the cold (!) milk. Sieve in the cocoa powder and corn starch. Whisk it with a wire whisk. You don’t want any clots. Also the starch only really dissolves in cold liquids. Heat the mixture. Add the dark chocolate and cinnamon and keep whisking till it has melted and dissolved as well. Continue heating and whisking until it simmers. Now it’s ready! Pour the hot chocolate into your favourite cup and enjoy in the company of loved ones.

I’d love to hear how this recipe works for you and see photos! Just mention @benfreu in your tweet.

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