Please welcome my friend Ambre! She’s a wife, stay-at-home mom, and lover of Christ who blogs about her passion for nutrition and clean living at Living As Of The Day. I was thrilled when she agreed to guest post because she has a reputation for taking hot chocolate seriously. I’ve tasted her hot chocolate handiwork and am eager to try my hand at the recipe.
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I have grown up surrounded by coffee. My single Mom volunteered at a church sponsored coffee shop on weekends while I slept on a mat on the back room floor. My Grandparents have had non-stop pots going my entire life.
I love the way it smells- so warming and comforting.
It’s taste on the other hand leaves MUCH to be desired. I hate it. It’s gross and makes my whole face contort unattractively if I’m forced to taste it “Just try it, Ambre! You can’t even taste it in this mocha!” Lies. I am like the Princess and the Pea: it doesn’t matter how many layers of other flavors you try to disguise it under, I. will. detect. it.
I love hot chocolate.
Really love it.
For the sake of making sure we’re all on the same page (listen up, Mom!), let me clarify what I mean when I say “hot chocolate”. I am in no way talking about anything that at any point resembled a powder. Ever. That would be cocoa. Cocoa lacks the butterfat necessary to even attempt to go toe to toe in a taste match with hot chocolate. Are we all together now? Fantastic!
I use to try hot chocolates at any coffee shop I came upon. This resulted in a fairly well developed palate (if I do say so myself!). If you’re a coffee drinker, then I know you are familiar with the difference between a gas station cup of joe and a fair trade mug of exquisite flavor and depth. The same differences occur in the land of hot chocolate. There are the afore mentioned powder packets one mixes with hot water and drinks because you are a kid and don’t know any better and then there’s the liquid chocolate spun into rich milk with a dash of chili powder and cinnamon topped with a swirl of whipped cream to be consumed with a deep sigh of contentment. *sigh* Um, I’ll be right back!
Okay, (cup in hand) where were we? Oh, yes: “sighs of contentment”.
So how do we go about creating these flavors and textures in our own kitchen when the fancy strikes? Is it even possible? Absolutely. Let’s step into the kitchen and I’ll show you how I go about it and try to give you a spring board for creating the perfect cup for your tastes.
Let’s start with the chocolate. Your finished product will never taste better than the sum of your ingredients. For this recipe, we are looking for stellar chocolate chips. By “stellar”, I am not talking about a chocolate from “that town” in Pennsylvania. Nope. That wouldn’t do at all! Buy the highest quality chocolate you can afford that didn’t cause the shed of blood and tears (I use Guittard). The second ingredient you will need is whole milk. I will repeat myself once: WHOLE MILK! If you choose to use a more watery version of milk I wash my hands of any responsibility and by all means, don’t tell anyone you got the recipe from me!
Found them both? Okay, then! Let’s go!
A Most Excellent Pot Of Hot Chocolate
½ cup chocolate chips (I use 60% cocoa)
1 Quart Whole Milk
1) Melt chocolate in pan until smooth over low heat stirring constantly. If you have a thin pan, use a super low heat, if you have a nice and thick/heavy pan, you can use a heat closer to medium. The goal is to NOT BURN the chocolate. I believe in you! If your chocolate seems to be balling up instead of melting add a 1/4 inch of your milk and stir til smooth.
2) Add a 1/4 inch of milk, if you haven’t already, and stir until smooth. This will take a moment as the cold milk will attempt to harden your chocolate again so you’re job is to get everybody on the same page aka to the same temperature.
3) Add the rest of your milk and heat til hot (if you like to take temperatures in your kitchen approximately 105-110 degrees is what I shoot for) over medium heat. Basically, if you can comfortably hold your finger in the milk, it’s not hot enough. This is an important moment in the process. You will be tempted to walk away only for a moment to take care of something: DON’T !!!
My hot chocolate mantra is as follows:
“A watched pot never boils, but an unwatched pot Always Boils Over!”
Take my word for it and see it through to the end!
4) Pour your mugs and enjoy!
Here are some ideas of things to add to the finished product to really take it to the next level:
- Peppermint oil- Make Peppermint Hot Chocolate to rival any coffee shops!
- Eggnog- My three year old suggested this and it’s amazing!
- Cinnamon and Chili- Mexican Hot Chocolate at it’s finest!
- White Chocolate Chips- go half and half with your chocolate chips and enjoy!
- Creme de Menthe- if you’re of age and looking for something hot and spiked look no further!
- Salt- I kid you not. Give it a try! It’s yumma!
Let me know how you like it! What do/did you do to give your hot chocolate a little extra kick?