Real Hot Chocolate
Tired of hot chocolate out of a cardboard box that is powdery, chalky, and with absolutely no chocolate flavor? Want REAL chocolate flavor in your hot chocolate? Well, use REAL chocolate and toss those hot chocolate mixes, which use cocoa powder (which is what is left AFTER the delicious, valuable cocoa butter has been pressed out of the poor cocoa beans).
This recipe was based on a recipe in a chocolate cookbook in French. The recipes were not accurate enough for me to do baking, but I did find a version of hot chocolate drunk by French bakers after making the morning croissants: just dissolve the chocolate batons from the pain au chocolate in some hot water. Simple and rich; I loved it. Course, I have a sweet tooth so I had to add some sugar.
1 tablespoon sugar (white or brown or turbinado or fructose or raw or whatever)
½ cup water
1 oz bittersweet chocolate (60-70% cacao)
few drops of vanilla extract
Put all ingredients in a mug and microwave until hot. Stir for at least a minute until all chocolate is dissolved. Microwave again to get hot, and stir a bit more (the reason for this fussy instruction is to make sure that all chocolate is dissolved, and you do not get sludge at the bottom of your cup).
This is one case where the quality of ingredients matters a great deal. Use the best chocolate and vanilla you have. Positively, do not use generic supermarket chocolate chips and fake vanilla; you will taste it.
Semisweet chocolate? Fine, but cut back on the sugar just a tad.
Milk chocolate? Forget it. Too sweet, and no real chocolate flavor.
Milk instead of water? I find that milk decreases the chocolate flavor.
White? Heavenly: the ultimate in rich, decadent flavor; you never had it so good.
I find it best to heat full-fat milk over low heat in a saucepan while beating gently with a fork or whisk until it boils, at which point the pan should be removed from the heat, and the chocolate should be whisked in until smooth. Vosges is among the chocolate brands producing "real" hot chocolate mixes that can be prepared this way, and they already include the appropriate blends of sugar and vanilla - and there are very good powdered blends available as well, like L'Artigiano and Green & Black's, who keep the cocoa butter in the blend.
I am rather curious about Callebaut 'extra-bitter'. I am familiar with their commercial products (which ordinary consumers cannot buy). Can you give me more information on this chocolate bar?
Also, the rather large amount of sugar I used was to counter act the bitter, 'burnt' flavor you mention. I first did the French recipe exactly as described, but got results like you described. I added enough sugar until it tasted good. Try the recipe again using the full amount of sugar but the same chocolate, and let me know what you come up with. I am curious.
re: jerry i h
The "extra bitter" is the commercial product, broken up and repackaged by a local specialty market. The market is the one who labeled it extra bitter although I believe that's how Callebaut refers to their 70%. It came from my kilo + baking stash. I just happened to have a 3 oz. chunk broken off, hence choosing to do 1 1/2 times the recipe in two mugs. I did use the full amount of sugar yesterday. I even scaled the chocolate to make sure that one mug didn't have more chocolate that the other. I think it's just a question of taste about the amount of sugar and wanting a little dairy in the mix. And it certainly would have been easy if I hadn't been standing there chopping and weighing out chocolate.