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The best hot chocolate

After being inspired to make my own marshmallows thanks to the thread a few days below, I'd love to killer hot chocolate recipes- with/without alcohol, homemade, or the best pre-packaged. I had a prepackaged Lindt hot chocolate last night which was great.

Thank you!

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  1. I buy this stuff, mail order, by the 3-lb canister. I believe it's also available in stores.

    http://www.sovranastore.com/azdormexs...

    1. My vote is for Cadbury's Drinking Chocolate. It is not sold at retail in the United States---for years I ordered it from Harrod's but now you can order it online from places in the States that import English groceries---just google "Cadbury's Drinking Chocolate". Try it on a snowy night with a shot of rum in it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Querencia

        I just bought some in the "International" aisle at the local Stop and Shop. (I live in Yonkers, NY and we have a decent sized Irish community here). I haven't tried it yet, but it's chilly and I'll be sure to give it a try tonight. Thanks for the tip, Querencia!

        1. re: Querencia

          I second that! We fell in love with Cadbury's Drinking Chocolate while vacationing in Australia. Brought lots back but we are out! We stirred a spoonful into our lattes.. fantastic.

        2. I sneak a pinch of cinnamon and powdered chile in mine. Just a smidge, mind you. You should hardly feel the tingle of hot pepper. Makes the whole warm drink ever so piquant.

          1. A little bit of Nutella spruces up any hot chocolate -- instant, homemade, gourmet, etc.

            1. chop up high quality hi cocoa content chocolate, put in a blender. add drostes or other cocoa powder. pour hot milk on top and blend

              voila

              1. John Thorne's recipe in Simple Cooking: a heaping teaspoon of good cocoa powder and 2 tsps of sugar, whisked into a cup of milk and heated to steaming hot. Whisk vigorously to make it frothy and prevent a skin from forming. Add whipped cream, a drop of vanilla, etc. as desired.

                Alton Brown's homemade cocoa "mix" is very good if you want something instant. I leave out the cayenne pepper--I'm a traditionalist when it comes to hot cocoa.

                1. I love the Good Eats recipe. I make huge batches and give it away at Christmas.
                  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

                  1. My daughter has spent time living in Oaxaca and has turned me onto Mexican hot chocolate, which you can find as Nestle's Abuelita in the stores http://www.nestleusa.com/PubOurBrands...

                    1. My wife loves hot chocolate in the morning all year long. Also, this recipe is not sweet, so children are not always found of this hot chocolate. Originally I posted a sort hot chocolate recipe for someone who wanted to know what the ‘best’ packaged hot chocolate that could be found, imho package hot chocolate is an oxymoron. Anyway, I thought I would post this here, where I guess it belongs.

                      My basic recipe is to 1 liter of dairy (milk, cream, goat’s milk, or a combination, etc…) add 130-150 grams of honey and the inside and out side of 1 vanilla bean. Bring to a boil to help infuse the vanilla and melt the honey. Turn down the heat to medium and then add 200g of chopped bittersweet chocolate, we like to use Green & Blacks 72%, but any good quality chocolate will work with a pinch of salt. Make sure the chocolate is chopped into fairly even pieces, that way they will melt at the same time and before you liquid comes back to a boil. After adding the chocolate constantly stir the mixture to prevent the chocolate from burning, chocolate will burn very easily. Once you see a bubble or two take the pot off the heat and allow to cool. DO NOT BOIL THE HOT CHOCOLATE, the chocolate will burn!

                      If you are going to use vanilla extract, mix in the extract after the hot chocolate has cooled. The heat will evaporate the extract and you’ll end up with little vanilla flavour. Once you use vanilla bean you’ll wonder what the point of using vanilla extract is!

                      If you need to reheat the hot chocolate in a microwave, heat it for 30-40 seconds intervals and then stir the hot chocolate, repeat until it is hot enough.

                      You can replace the bittersweet chocolate with milk chocolate or white chocolate. If using milk or white chocolate reduce the amount of honey.

                      To this basic recipe you can add hot peppers, peppercorns, some more salt, nutmeg, bay leaf, and some thyme and allow to simmer before adding the chocolate. Follow the above procedure and then strain before drinking your Mexican Hot Chocolate.

                      My wife will mix together equal parts of hot chocolate and rich strong coffee (not Tim Horton’s style) to make mocha. Of course the weaker the coffee flavour the more you’ll need to add to taste like mocha.

                      A dollop of whipped cream always tastes nice. Also, after the hot chocolate has cooled a bit, you can add any liquor, Grand Marnier makes anything taste better.

                      1. I absolutely love Godiva's hot chocolate. I always get a few cans of it for Christmas because my family knows I love it so much. It's very rich.

                        1. I recently purchased Scharfenberger cocoa powder at Whole Foods. I mix the cocoa with almost equal amounts of sugar in simmering milk, using a small whisk. You can adjsut the cocoa and sugar according to taste.

                          1. Adding salt, is the key to the better hot chocolate, regardless of how you prefer your cup: milky white or dark danger:)

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Loveling

                              Very good point Loveling. Salt should be added when making anything with chocolate. Do you also add salt when making Hot Cocoa or using cocoa?

                              1. re: Pastryrocks

                                Yes I do:) I find a pinch of salt gives the little extra, actually even more when I use cocoa. But when I use to much, the taste sometimes comes off as *readymade* - not homecooked. So I try to balance it, still making mistakes though.

                                Adding vanilla bean is also a favourite, but its costly.

                                1. re: Loveling

                                  Imho vanilla extract, regardless from where, can not compare to vanilla bean. The amount of good extract is that is required to flavour something, is imho almost as costly as using a bean. But you can not compare vanilla extract to vanilla bean imho. For me the cost is not a issue.

                                  There are times in which the medium is unable to incorporate vanilla bean, such as cocoa brownies, but that is rare. Also, heat will always help to evaporate the alcohol in the vanilla extract, and hence you also lose flavour. To compensate you need to add more extract, which also increases your cost.

                                  Also, if you’re going to the trouble to make real hot chocolate, no powder, then why not go all the way and use vanilla bean!?

                                  I only use cocoa powder for brownies, and always use chocolate for everything else. I always add salt to my brownies, but since I’ve not made hot cocoa in 20 years or so. I never added salt to hot cocoa and was wondering if people here do. Anytime I use salt, in sweet or savory, I’m always careful not to add too much. So when I say a pinch, I really mean a pinch. For me it’s like making bread without salt, you may not notice the salt in the bread. But god help you if you ever had bread with out salt, you will notice. For me it’s similar with chocolate, it requires salt.

                                  1. re: Pastryrocks

                                    I must agree. Vanilla extract is really not the way to go if you're really into food. Extract is just what the name implies.

                                    Don't know about the price in the US, but I have to pay about $3 for one bean. I do consider that costly:)

                                    I use cocoa powder for several recipies, as it has a pure quality, and the fat is low, wich makes it fitting for many purposes.

                                    Some chocolates, even good in quality, gives a 'fat layer' to the hot chocolate, - not very nice. Powder chocolate done very well, with cream, and heaten in a perfect way ( so the powder infuses with sugar and cream), can be better in my opinion. But I do like the dry taste of powder:)

                                    1. re: Loveling

                                      Loveling here are some internet retailers of vanilla bean, which is from the Ontario board found here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/331026 here are two retailers http://www.thevanillashop.ca/catalog/... and
                                      http://www.saffron.com/index.html Some people from the Ontario board have ordered from these sites and claim that all is well.

                                      I’ve have yet to order from these sites, but the prices look very good.

                                      Regarding this fat layer, I make the above hot chocolate once a week for my wife and in the past few years have never seen a fat layer in the finished product. In fact it is so thick when it is cold that you could use a fork to eat the cold hot chocolate (I get into trouble for doing this!).

                                      Chocolate is very, very sensitive to heat and cold. I have seen in some bakeries that the chocolate on a cake has some white colour on the chocolate, this is called a bloom. It is from the fat in the chocolate trying to separate, which does not look nice but is edible. Also, moisture will cause the sugar to come to the top and also look odd, but again is quite edible.

                                      When making hot chocolate with real chocolate not powder, you are emulsifying the chocolate with the other ingredients. Not unlike making mayo, so you need to take care when and how you apply heat or cold to your chocolate. Not unlike mayo the chocolate will separate.

                                      Try not to boil hot chocolate, just allow a bubble or two and remove from the heat, take the pot off the stove top. Also, if re-heating in a microwave, heat for 30-40 seconds and stir and repeat until the chocolate is hot, do not boil again.

                                      1. re: Pastryrocks

                                        Thank you for the link, but it's a problem with the import-regulations when you want to import spices to Norway.

                                        I find the fat-problem to be true even when you heat it in the right way. Layer is maybe the wrong word, its not that much, drops is maybe a better word.

                                        I never heat more than 160 F (70 c) making hot chocolate, maybe a little over, I never ever let it bubble. Maybe this is not as good a rule, the gourmet I learned it from, had me belive? I will try to heat my chocolate even more, to see what happens:)

                            2. Angelina's in Paris has the most heavenly, sinful hot chocolate. They do sell it prepackaged, as little chocolate bits, which you stir into hot milk. I can't find a website for you, but if anyone you know is traveling there, it's worth asking them to visit Angelina's and bring you back a bag. You won't be disappointed. It's like drinking a hot Hershey bar, but even better!

                              1. Schokinag European Drnking Chocolate...Extreme Dark for me. It has bits of chocolate that melt into the hot chocolate. Scharffenberger is what i bake with Schokinag is what i drink.