It's snowing out! Think back to your childhood. You've been outside playing for a few hours and are heading into the house to get warm and have some hot chocolate. My memories are of my mom warming milk and placing large spoonfuls of Nestle's QUIK into the pan. Presto, hot chocolate. If you were good, you got a scoop of marshmallow FLUFF on top. No whipped cream here! As the years went by, we graduated to the packaged mix with the mini marshmallows. It could be classified as a step up.
When I had children, my mother passed this amazing recipe (do I call milk and Quik a recipe?) on to me. I did a very good job of re-creating the same types of hot chocolate. Sometimes, I even used Hershey's syrup, other times, I just heated pre-made chocolate milk. I know, that deserves Mother of the Year.
Today, you can purchase decent hot chocolate mixes. My kids bought me a container of Godiva Hot Chocolate Mix for Christmas and it is very good!
I think the problem with hot chocolate...how do you really make it?
It's actually pretty easy - milk and chocolate. If you want to take it to another level you can add a few different ingredients to create your favorites based on the original.
Let's start -
I began with
3 cups of milk
1 cup of half and half
I placed them in a sauce pan over medium low heat. As it began to get close to a simmer, I took it off the heat and started adding -
2-3 ounces of dark chocolate
2-3 ounces of milk chocolate
2-3 ounces of bittersweet chocolate
NOTE- Buy for good quality chocolate for this...the better the quality of chocolate the more rich and intense the flavor.
I stirred continuously until the chocolate was melted. I added a pinch of salt and a 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla. Done.
I happened to have some heavy cream, so I mixed
1 cup of heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
and made my own whipped cream.
This makes 4 servings.
IT WAS AMAZING! Sing it with me! MY GAWD, this is HOT CHOCOLATE!
Very rich, very delicious and I wish I had made hot chocolate like this on a regular basis.
So, here are a few suggestions, if the original seems bland ;)
1. You can add a bit of fresh brewed or instant coffee to enhance the chocolate flavor.
2. Add chili powder and cinnamon - hot and spicy!
3. Substitute white chocolate for one of the dark chocolates.
4. Add peppermint flavoring or chopped York Peppermint Patties.
5. A few tablespoons of orange juice and a bit of orange rind.
6. Shots of Liqueur - Your choice - Grand Marnier, Kahlua, Baileys, Amaretto, Chambord...the flavors and combinations are endless. (This is my favorite! Kahlua Mocha Peppermint)
7. Substitute a Symphony Bar with Toffee and Almonds for the milk chocolate. Think caramel.
So, it's Valentine's Weekend, have fun and create memories of drinking real hot chocolate.