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Hot Chocolate

The movie Chocolat was on tonight. Watching all the yummy chocolate on TV trigger my crave. Not satisfied with any commercial hot chocolate powder I have, I tried to make my own. I melted 6 oz of semi-sweet chocolate in a double boiler. Since we only have skim milk in the fridge, I use 1 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Well, the result was disappointing. It was way too sweet but not creamy enough. So a new quest arises. What is the best hot coco/hot chocolate you have ever had? And how was it prepared?

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  1. This is a cheater version, and I know that there are much better versions of hot chocolate, but it is great in a pinch, when you have a sudden yen. Prepare a packet of instant hot cocoa mix. I like Nestle "Double Chocolate Meltdown". Immediately mix in broken pieces of whatever chocolate you have in the house. The more chocolate, the thicker the drink. I find that the chocolate melts in very quickly. This is also great with a heaping spoonful of Nutella mixed in.

    1. 50% whole milk, 50% half half & half. Ghiardelli 62 or 70% semi sweet chocolate to taste and a few drops of pure vanilla extract. Melt the chocolate in a little of the whole milk then add the rest. Heat (not microwave) until hot. Run hot water in a mug to warm it .Pour over a bunch of mini marshmallows... Delish.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Tay

        Tay, add a spalsh of Frangelica and you've got my recipe!

      2. A small amount of corn starch slurry adds body to drink without all the fat of the cream or straight chocolate.

        I've been making a drink starting with a spiced syrup (cinnamon, allspice, even a bit of hot pepper), then add a slurry of powdered milk, corn starch, and plain cocoa. Then finish to taste with dark chocolate (and heavy cream if available).


        3 Replies
        1. re: paulj

          OMG... I'll take your word that it tastes good, but it sounds very scary.

          1. re: Tay

            My version is inspired by a recipe in The New Spanish Table for a 17th century hot chocolate. That starts with coloring water or milk (8 cups) with achiote seeds (annatto). Then simmering it with ground almonds and hazelnuts, vanilla bean pods, rose buds, aniseed, cinnamon sticks, and chiles (2 whole dried arbol chiles). Finally add 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, pinch of salt, orange flower water, and sugar to taste. Stain, and froth (with immersion blender).


            1. re: paulj

              paul j,
              Your version sounds marvelous! I may try it one of these (cold) days. Thanks for this background recipe as well.

        2. Droste, milk, and sugar do it for me. No cream necessary. I add good cinnamon, or sometimes ginger or another spice that strikes my fancy.
          The best cocoa mix I've ever had is Chuao Chocolate's Spicy Maya. I love, love, love the chocolate bar of the same name.

          1 Reply
          1. re: maestra

            I'm in the Droste club as well. ( I use Splenda, actually) I know, I know.

            Anyone tried Vosges? $$$$ I am intrigued, though

          2. For four servings, I start with 1/2 cup cocoa powder (I use Valrhona), 8 oz bittersweet chocolate (I use Guittard) broken into pieces, 1/4 tsp kosher salt (yes, I said salt), and a quart of whole milk. Put everything into a sauce pan and barely bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking gently every few minutes. Cover partially (with a the lid askew or loosely with foil) and reduce heat to low, letting the mixture reduce by about 1/4 or 1/3, whisking every 15 minutes to keep solids from burning to the bottom of the pan. Use a diffuser if you have one.

            Add a shot of flavored liqueur (Butterscotch, Peppermint, Amaretto...) to your mug before adding the hot chocolate.

            Hot chocolate can be made, cooled, and refrigerated 3 or 4 days before drinking it. Just be sure to reheat it VERY slowly (or it will burn on the bottom) and whisk whisk whisk well as the chocolate parts will settle to the bottom.

            Yes, it is a lot of work, but it is VERY worth it!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Non Cognomina

              I make something very similar, cocoa, valrhona chocolate bar if I have it, small pinch salt, small pinch of crushed chili flakes, a little sweetener. When the milk almost comes to a boil, I throw in the chocolate bar and the other ingredients and turn off the heat. After a bit, whisk everything together. I don't usually reduce it but I think I use more chocolate, sometimes I make a big batch during cold weather and leave it in the frig, better the next day. Works great even with soymilk. Yum!

            2. I started this thread last year: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/352677

              Hope it's helpful, and good luck with your quest! :-)

              1. I've used this recipe from Scharffen-Berger with great success. I like to use all whole milk. I've also made it for a friend with soy milk, which worked well but it was slightly too sweet. I'd make it with more chocolate or a high % chocolate if I made it with soy milk again.


                I've used this with chocolate from Scharffen-Berger, El Rey and Valrhona. All were good and each different. You can also add a little ceylon cinnamon and/or ancho chiles if you want a little extra kick.

                1. I just tried an experiment last week because I have a friend who has recently been diagnosed as allergic to dairy. I made hot cocoa with lite coconut milk. Actually, I mixed two cans, one lite and one regular. When I do it again, I'll just use the lite. Regular coconut milk was WAY too rich. It was more like liquid mousse, which is nice, but too much in a big ole mug. :)

                  So I had the coconut milk in a pan, did two pinches of salt, maybe two teaspoons of vanilla, then started whisking in cocoa powder until it was as rich and chocolaty as I wanted. I use several tablespoons full, possibly even half a cup. I sweetened it with a small amount of sugar and splenda (the sugar was to appease my non-diabetic splenda-hating roomie).

                  I am happy to report that coconut milk makes a perfectly delightful dairy substitute. :)

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Morganna

                    yikes! The milk doesn't break? Gosh this sounds so good, did you use a high quality chocolate, or will say Ghiradelli work? Powdered or bar?

                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      The milk didn't break at all. With the whole coconut milk and the lite coconut milk, it was thick, almost like a drinkable mousse, and way too rich. So next time I'm using all lite coconut milk. Just whisking it seemed to do the job. I used regular dutched cocoa that I had in my pantry. I can't even remember what the brand is, but it's not a superior brand, it's just a workhorse cocoa. And I used powdered, not a bar. The most important thing was to not give up on the whisking, though I imagine a stick blender woulda been a bit faster, whisking worked fine. :)

                      1. re: Morganna

                        chocolate coconut milk sounds so decadent. I gotta try this. Liquid Almond Joy!

                  2. I use a very high quality cocoa powder, whole milk, vanilla extract, demerara sugar or something similar, heat slowly, toss in a few bits of good dark chocolate (to get the best of both worlds, you know) and whisk to frothiness. I think I'll go make some now.

                    Does anyone make the kind with water, where supposedly the taste of milk doesn't interefere with the pure taste of chocolate?

                    1. Does any one have the recipe for cocoa they make at the El Tovar Hotel in the Grand Canyon?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: speyerer

                        Did you ever find the Recipe for Hot Chocolate at the El Tovar?

                        1. re: marleesmommy

                          This claims to be from El Tovar
                          the only thing that looks distinctive is the use of cream.

                          Bet you could approximate this by using half-n-half when making your favorite instant. :)

                          1. re: paulj

                            I used to work at the el tovar, I was a pastry chef/cook. That blogspot recipe looks about right. But what I think ismissing is the best part which was the chocolate ganache whipped cream that went on top. I use an noi sirius traditional Icelandic chocolate dark.(crazy I know) basically you make a very fuid ganache and slowly add it to I think soft or lightly hard whipped cream. It was and still is my fav item from all the years I worked there.

                      2. On the Mexican food isle of your supermarket, look for Abuelita or Ibarra chocolate tablets. This is Mexican chocolate with spices. Chop a tablet into small pieces and add to a mixture of 50/50 whole milk and water. Whip with a whisk til frothy. Now that we're having cooler mornings in Mexico, DH has switched to HC from tea for my morning wake up drink. Yummy.

                        1. I've found that if you take a hot chocolate mix that is meant to be mixed with water, but use milk instead, it comes out richer and tastier. Since I'm happy with that, I no longer bother with melting chocolate and mixing from scratch.

                          1. I had the best hot chocolate on Sunday night at a Colombian friend's house. He mixed azucar panela (raw sugar): www.enbuenasmanos.com/articulos/muest...
                            with water, added Colombian chocolate (I forget the name, in comes in blocks), and served it. No milk or cream and it was totally delicious!

                            1. My favorite is adapted from Fanny Farmer's Breakfast Cookbook.

                              Mix 1.5 tablespoons good cocoa, 2 teaspoons of sugar and a quarter cup of water in a small saucepan. Simmer for a few minutes until sugar dissolves and add 3/4 cup of whole milk. Heat, stirring, until it's the right temperature for you. You can add a bit of cinnamon for Mexican hot chocolate.

                              1. I do a ganache with cream and a good quality dark chocolate bar - I like Valrhona 76% but will use whatever I have on hand. Then I whisk in some warm whole milk and a sprinkling of red salt before drinking. Yum. A full pot of hot chocolate is in my plans for the weekend.

                                1. Thank you all. I see several recipes here that I'll sure try it out. I googled "Spanish Hot Chocolate" today and found a very very simple recipe. ( I was on my out meeting some friends and needed something quick to keep me warm) I think this came from UCLA, but I couldn't really tell from the site. It calls for 1/2 c cocoa powder, 1 c sugar, 7 tsp corn starch, 1/2 c water, and 4 c milk. You cook this on counter top until well blended. It was quick, simple, and pretty close but not perfect. Thought I'll still share it with you all for when you are in a hurry but won't sacrificed your taste bud. I shall continue my quest!

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: meimei

                                    bleah.. don't like cocoa recipes that use corn starch. :)

                                    1. re: Morganna

                                      A corn starch thickened cocoa is basically a thin chocolate pudding. But that doesn't mean it is bad. I've had some great puddings (for example the one in Kafka's Microwave Gourmet). Corn starch is a low fat alternative to cream and chocolate fat. My current preference is to use a small amount of corn starch, and then add the fats to taste.

                                      1. re: paulj

                                        Thanks, paulj...I found something similar the other day... that is, a thickened milk mixture, that looked like it was meant to be an eggless eggnog. I thought it a little strange, but kept the idea in my head, anyway. Your remark about being a low fat alternative is just the answer that I was mulling over. I'll keep that in mind, and give it a try, soon.


                                        1. re: paulj

                                          Hrm, didn't think of it that way. My bane is usually carbs, not fats, so corn starch is worse to me than cream. :)

                                          1. re: Morganna

                                            You can make even instant cocoa taste good if you use straight half-n-half :)

                                            1. re: paulj

                                              I prefer cream, it's uhm health food, yeah... lower in carbs that's the ticket. :)

                                              1. re: Morganna

                                                Well, of COURSE it is...we KNOW that, but sometimes our baser instincts win out and we just HAVE to break out the low fat......


                                    2. The best hot chocolate I've ever had was from Jaques Torres in NYC. If you google him you can get it shipped in the US. I live in Canada, so had to go on a buying frenzy when I was down there. There's two kinds, the Wicked Hot Chocolate (with ancho peppers and other spices) and the plain. The Wicked is my fave, the spicing is so subtle, not "hot" at all. They use chocolate bits in their mix, not cocoa.

                                      3 Replies
                                        1. re: sweeterpea

                                          I swear, we canucks should create regional co-ops of members travelling south, (or friends travelling north) and picking up a few things....until VERY recently, I couldn't find grits and depended on American friends to send me some...now, it's in Loblaws, or whatever they call themselves this week. I can't find cane syrup, such as Steen's, unless we know it under some other name, other than at one shop in Tdot, for $7 or more un bouteille, WHEN they have it in. Well, it may as WELL be sold under gummint license. Any motivated entrepreneurs out there want to take this one on?

                                          sweeterpea, I'll add that one to my list for American friends coming to visit. (Forget anything fancy, dear friend...bring Tito's and Steen's!)


                                          1. re: sweeterpea

                                            I love their stuff too, but I once tried looking into shipping from CA, and it was more than the cost of their tins! Like $30 or $50, depending on the seaon? Anyway, I guess I'll wait till I make a trip over there and buy the whole store out on my next visit. MarieBelle aztec chocolate is not bad, and available here, so that is my standby. However, it is also good enough to be eaten by the spoonful, so my problem is that not much of it makes it in the form of hot cocoa.

                                          2. Blanxart cocoa is avail thru the Cocoa Connoisseur at 4.95 a bag...a little know secret...if you prepare and chill this delicious beverage you have outstanding chocolate mousse.

                                            1. Start with a good Spanish solid drinking chocolate. Dissolve in a combination of evaporated milk and whole milk (or use half-and-half). At this time you may season the hot chocolate with cayenne, anchos and/or chipotle powder. Using a molinet, vigorously rotate to create an airy foam. Pour your thick, but airy and spicy chocolate into a cup and enjoy.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: JungMann

                                                I make this mix and give it as small gifts . It is from Tyler Florance . You will never perchase the pre made again. once made shake the can every time before you use it.
                                                3/4 cup dry powdered milk
                                                1/2 teasp. cinnamon
                                                3/4 cup sugar--you can use less
                                                4 oz bittersweet chocolate
                                                chop chocolate in food pros. , or chop roughly mix all ing. and place in a jar or tin. makes about 3 cups.
                                                mix with 1 cup of warm milk. hope you like it.

                                                1. re: peggy9871

                                                  Do you mix all of it with 1 cup of milk? :)

                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                    Hi Paulj My goodness!! -- I forgot to mention the amount used per serving!! It is 2 heaping teaspoons per 8oz of milk. If you find that too sweet, cut back the amount of the mix you use. I plan to try a batch using half the amount of sugar and the rest a non sugar sweetener.

                                              2. I mentioned the chocolate pudding in Microwave Gourmet (B Kafka, 1987). I don't know if the book is still in print. While a pudding served cold, it could be thinned and served warm as a drink. It uses chocolate, cocoa, corn starch, eggs, and butter/cream. Here's a summary:
                                                In an 8 cup glass measuring cup (which every microwave cook should have) cook till hot (4min): 2c milk, 1/2c sugar, 5oz chocolate (semisweet, I used TJ pound+ 72%). (I also added a pinch of salt, and cinnamon).
                                                add a slurry of (corn starch, cocoa powder, water - 2T each), and (2 eggs, 4 yolks, beaten).
                                                Cook another 4 minutes, whisking several times. It will thicken around the edges faster than in the middle.

                                                Add 2T butter, 1T rum, 2t vanilla (I used remnants of a carton of whipping cream, and cream sherry instead of rum).

                                                Process till smooth with a food processor or immersion blender.
                                                Chill. Laying plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding reduces the skin formation.


                                                1. good quality dark chocolate (min 3oz per cup) chopped + 1 heaping teaspoon of drostes per cup.
                                                  vanilla optional
                                                  put in a blender add HOT milk.. maybe w/ some half&half for richness. blend til the choc. is melted and the mill is frothy.

                                                  on this topic did u see the SNL skit last year that tied the fall of the Mayan empire to the discovery of hot chocolate?

                                                  1. I buy very good bittersweet chocolate from Trader Joes and start by warming the milk to whatever you want and then I add the chocolate in the cup and add a little nutmeg and a little cayenne pepper and it hits the spot.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: nbermas

                                                      I started drinking the natural mint cocoa from Trader Joe's and it's very nice (made with milk). I also saw a tin of Sipping Chocolate mix at Trader Joe's, but couldn't find it at my local store.

                                                    2. Does anyone put peppermint schnapps in their hot chocolate anymore?
                                                      My favorite way to have hot chocolate is out of a thermos. Using unsweetened ghiradelli, with a bit of sugar to sweeten it up, then blended frothy with a mix of cream and whole milk, topping it with a shot of schnapps. Boy did I ski good that day. Oh and I love burying oranges in the snow to go with it. Breakfast of champions!
                                                      Any other time I mix it up with half the milk and cream, I like it frothy though.

                                                      1. I can highly recommend Green & Black's Organic hot chocolate mix. So, so, so good.

                                                        1. I put a couple of heaping teaspoonfuls of cocoa solids in a cup, with a small pinch of salt and a small pinch of powdered red chilli. Some powdered cinnamon would work too. If you're adding sugar, do so now; I prefer it without. The lactose in the milk provides some sweetness.

                                                          Next, add a small splash of warm milk and stir vigorously. Add a little more milk if necessary, and stir until you have a thick chocolatey paste. Then fill the cup with hot milk and stir in a few drops of vanilla extract.

                                                          This won't be as thick as versions based on melted chocolate, but it works well with steamed milk from an espresso machine. Of course, the fattier the milk, the better.

                                                          1. No indecision here---Cadbury's Drinking Chocolate. The last I heard it was not sold by US retailers but you can get it in the US by googling for British grocery products. It makes the rest taste like plastic. The preparation is simple---add it to hot milk. On a cold night, add a shot of dark Jamaican rum.