There’s nothing that takes me back to my childhood faster than a steaming mug of hot chocolate. Just the smell is enough to bring back the sounds of my mother’s laughter, wrapping paper tearing and my sister squealing in happiness at the latest treasure to find its way out from under the tree. There are also memories of frigid January afternoons when the mist in the air carried ice. I’d get to the door from the bus, shivering and sniffling and walk through into the warmth of the gas heater and the smell of hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies.
Good memories all.
My mother made her hot chocolate with unsweetened powdered chocolate, sugar and milk, at least until we were older and our grandmother introduced us to packaged coca with marshmallows. At the time it didn’t really matter to me, and the marshmallow kind was sweeter. For my mother it was faster, but I think she missed making it from scratch. There just isn’t as much love in a packet.
Today my tastes are more refined. I prefer dark chocolate to the silkier milk chocolates, and any thought of using a packet has long ago been left at the wayside. It really isn’t any more trouble to make your own hot chocolate, and the taste is like nothing you will ever get from a store shelf. It is truly the perfect beverage for a cold winter’s day.
- 8 oz. whole milk
- 2 oz. dark chocolate
- Chocolate curls
- 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
Heat milk and vanilla extract in a small saucepan over low heat, being very careful not to let the milk boil.
Add chocolate. Stir constantly until chocolate is completely melted and no chocolate remains stuck to bottom or sides of pan.
Pour into a cup, top with chocolate curls.
What I would have done differently had I thought of it at the time:
This is just a basic recipe, but it’s fabulous. If you’d like to go a little more “grown up”, try adding 1/8 tsp curry powder or 1/8 tsp of cayenne powder. You can also add a bit of cinnamon or Chinese 5 spice powder.
Feeling like you need a little more decadence? Top with whipped cream and crumbled hard toffee, or melt a caramel square in with the cocoa. Try adding a bit of hazelnut extract, you’ll be glad you did.
Need to cut all that chocolate a bit? Steep a few mint leaves in the milk while melting the chocolate or toss a peppermint stick in the cup to use as a swizzle.
Have fun with it, it’s hot chocolate, not a formula!
Links to other recipes like this: