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Chocolat chaud (French hot chocolate)

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This recipe is for incredibly rich hot chocolate. I've adapted it from one used in a class I took from the Maison du Chocolat in Paris years ago. Prepare several hours before serving, or the day before.

- 210 gms of 60% (plus or minus) high quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped. The better the chocolate, the better the drink. I use French Valrhona bars from Trader Joe's in the US. In France, I use Valrhona "Palmira" (68%) from Venezuelan cacao beans.
- 1 tsp cocoa (Dutched cocoa is preferable)
- (optional) 50 gms of cinnamon sticks
- 1/4 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise
- 3/4 ltr milk, whole or 2%
- 1/4 ltr water

Mix the milk, vanilla, cinnamon sticks, water, and cocoa in a pot and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, turn down the heat to low and add the chocolate. Cook gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Strain the hot chocolate into another pot. Let it cool, stirring occasionally. Reheat but do not boil before serving.

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