Favorite Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe?
I'm hosting a "small bites" party in about a month, and would love to serve some stellar hot chocolate to accompany my holiday cookie assortment. Any recipes and/or techniques that you would be willing to share would be greatly appreciated!
Mainly, I'm looking for a rich, creamy drink that is not too overpowering in flavor and creates a smooth, thick sensation on the tongue.
Any unique flavor additions that you enjoy would definitely be fun to hear about!
Today I heated a mug of nonfat milk (prefer whole or a good dose of half and half when I have it on hand) and added:
1/8 cup Trader Joe's dark chocolate (I chop up one of those Pound Plus bars and keep it for baking and hot chocolate)
a dash of cayenne pepper
a dash of cinnamon
a teaspoon or two of clover honey
I love the extra warmth the cayenne adds without actually making the drink taste spicy. The honey I added because I saw Nigella Lawson do it on TV, but I couldn't say I like or dislike it without a side by side comparison with a sugared version.
re: Katie Nell
I work in a restaurant and would like to introduce the sipping chocolate and serve it with some shortbread or some kind of cookies, but i need to experiment a little with the chocolate sipping recipe. Could you please tell me wich link is the Nettie one?
Also, any other place where i can search for some choices for sipping chocolate?
Thank you for your help
If you're looking for rich, creamy, and smooth, then you probably want a ganache based hot chocolate.
You can make the ganache ahead of time with your solid chocolate and cream, then just heat milk at service time and whisk in the ganache. You can follow John Scharffenberger's suggestion in the link Nettie provided to use an immersion blender to do the stirring for a slightly frothy hot cocoa. The components are not much different from any other method, but making the ganache ahead of time makes it much easier to mix in the chocolate to the warm milk.
There are two things to be worried about from a technique perspective:
1) when you heat milk if you don't stir constantly it scalds on the bottom and deposites proteins and sugars on the bottom of the pan. The flavor also takes a hit.
2) when you heat chocolate, if you do it over direct heat it is easy to burn the chocolate which will again hurt the flavor. The nice thing about ganache is you just heat the cream until it is sanitized (> 165 degrees), remove from heat, and drop in your chocolate in small chunks. Let the heat of the cream melt the chocolate, then stir with a whisk until smooth.
So I have a bunch of ganache left over from a truffle making escapade, and I want to make it into hot chocolate tomorrow. What proportion of hot milk to ganache would you recommend to get the beverage to the right consistency and flavor? I don't want my guests to feel like they're drinking a liquid candy bar...
Also, I want to toss in some cinnamon and possibly nutmeg and cayenne...I'm thinking it would be best to stir the powders into the ganache before adding the milk, so that it all combines properly. Any suggestions here?
"ganache based hot chocolate"...the name alone is making me drool. i will definitely give that a go.
and Nettie, that link is wonderful.
thanks a million, all of you!
a cooking-with-real-chocolate (as opposed to powdered stuff)-novice question: can i chop up a bar of good chocolate in a food processor? or will something bad happen?
another question: sans thermometer, is there a good way to tell when the milk is hot enough w/o letting it scald?
I don't think my food processor could handle chocolate. I saw Alton Brown use an interesting chopping technique that I want to try: he put a serrated bread knife sharp edge down on a corner of a block of chocolate, and then tapped the back edge of the knife with a wood rolling pin--that seemed to shear off the chocolate pretty well.
as for knowing when the milk is hot enough... i'm not sure you could do it without a thermometer. i worked as a barista for 4 years and i can tell by the sound when heating with a steamer (like on a capuccino machine) or sometimes by the smell, at least i used to be able to, probably not now tho.
and as for good hot chocolate? as long as its hot and really creamy... its good. although i do like adding a cinnamon stick and fresh nutmeg to the milk as it heats.