Every once in a while, the girls enjoy making their own hot chocolate. They usually top it with whipped cream and marshmallows. But with Valentine's Day coming soon, I wanted to make a special version of chocolat chaud for my husband. I used cocoa powder, real chocolate, cream, milk and a few spices such as nutmeg, clove and cinnamon. I added espresso coffee because it enhances the flavor of chocolate in the drink. This ingredient in particular is an easy way to give a new twist to an old classic. As another option, you could also give the drink additional heat for Valentine's Day by using red chiles.
I personally don't think you have to wait until Valentine's Day to make a cup hot chocolate for your special someone. They'll appreciate it just as much if you make it tonight!
Yields: 6 servings3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1-½ cups semi-sweet baking chocolate (8 ounces)
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup superfine sugar (or granulated sugar), to taste
1 (1-inch) cinnamon stick, slightly crushed
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
¼ cup espresso coffee
For the chocolate milk: Place the cinnamon stick and clove in a tea infuser. Finely chop the chocolate using a sharp chef's knife. Heat the heavy cream and milk with the infuser in a saucepan. Bring it to a near boil. Turn off the heat immediately and quickly add the finely chopped chocolate. Stir until everything is melted. Add the vanilla extract, nutmeg and pinch of salt. Pour the hot liquid into another pot that already contains the cocoa powder. Stir well.
For the coffee: Brew espresso coffee. Add it to the chocolate milk.
Assembly time: Pour into 6 cups. Add more sugar if necessary.
Serve with pink cookies.
Have a great Valentine's Day!
I used Ghirardelli semi-sweet baking chocolate. I buy it at my local market.
If you don't have an espresso machine, instant coffee works fine as well. There is about 1/4 cup of coffee per espresso shot, so one espresso shot is enough. You don't want the coffee to overwhelm the hot chocolate.
You can find whole nutmeg in most Indian markets for a very reasonable price.
You could also cover the hot chocolate with mini-marshmallows and brulé the top using a blow torch.
For a healthier version, you can substitute the cream and milk with hot water and milk.
For a vegan version, you can use almond, soy or rice milk and soy creamer.
For a smoothie version, add ice cubes and place in a blender.
For a milkshake version, add vanilla ice cream and ice cubes. Smooth it in a blender.Published By: on February 9, 2010.