hot chocolate and whipped cream

Once you’ve had chocolate in Europe, say from Angelina’s in Paris, you may have a hard time drinking hot chocolate that is, well, anything less than melted chocolate. The hot chocolate in this recipe tastes a bit over-the-top, but I’d rather have a few sips of this than a large bowl of too-sugary, thin, only mildly-chocolately hot chocolate, which is what you often get when you order some. This home-made version is ridiculously easy to make and you can control the flavour, opting to use more or less milk-chocolate which is the where all of the sweetness is coming from. There’s only one rule…

bittersweet chocolate

As with any recipe with so few ingredients, use the best you can get your hands on. Often really good milk chocolate will come in a package that states the amount of cocoa (30%-35%). I liked the faint hint of cinnamon in this recipe, but I’ve seen others that call for a little vanilla extract instead. I think the tiniest amount of espresso might be nice too–I’m going to try that next time.

melting chocolate in milk

The whipped cream is optional, but not for me. If it’s within reach, I want some on my hot chocolate. I whipped up some heavy cream seasoned with a pinch of superfine sugar. A little goes a long way. Any leftovers (it’s really rich–you might actually have leftovers) can be refrigerated for a day and heated back up on the stove. Don’t forget to make some for Christmas morning. And for any icy winter morning that requires a warm, sweet bribe like this to get you out of your cozy bed.

Wittamer’s Belgian Hot Chocolate

Via David Lebovitz, adapted from The Great Book of Chocolate

YS note: David notes that in Paris most places use low-fat milk, but this recipe calls for cream or whole milk. There are hot chocolate recipes that call for only water, to let the real flavour of the chocolate come through. I used whole milk and think that’s the way to go if using anything other than water. The hot chocolate was rich and creamy, the milk helped mellow out the chocolate flavour and I personally think half-and-half would have been overwhelming, but don’t let me stop you.

1 quart (1L) half-and-half or whole milk
8 ounces (230g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 ounces (115g) milk chocolate, finely chopped
Tiny pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Warm about one-third of the half-and-half or milk, with the chopped chocolates and salt, stirring until the chocolate is melted. Whisk in the remaining half-and-half or milk, heating until the mixture is warmed through. Add the cinnamon.

Use a hand-held blender, or a whisk, and mix the hot chocolate until it’s completely smooth. Serve very warm. Top with whipped cream or chocolate shavings, if desired.

Serves 4-6.