Creamy Gourmet Hot Chocolate
1/3 cup well-chilled heavy cream 1 tablespoon sugar 4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened) 2 cups whole milk
PREPARATION In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat cream with sugar until it just holds stiff peaks. Chop chocolate and reserve 2 teaspoons. In a small saucepan, heat milk with remaining chocolate over moderate heat, stirring, until it just comes to a simmer. Pour hot chocolate into 2 large mugs and top with whipped cream and reserved chocolate.
DIRECTIONS Chop chocolate and melt over hot water. In another pan bring cream and all but 1/4 cup of milk to scalding point. Stir half scalded mixture into melted chocolate and mix well, then pour back into the saucepan and set over low heat. Mix in the reserved 1/4 cup milk with the cocoa, sugar and cornflour to make a smooth paste. Stir into the chocolate mixture and whisk or stir constantly until it comes to the boil and thickens slightly. Add vanilla, if desired and beat briskly with wire beater or hand rotary beater until mixture is foamy. Pour into cups and serve immediately topped with whipped cream.
In a large pot, combine all the ingredients except for the hot water. Place over a medium flame, then slowly stir in the hot water. Heat through, stirring occasionally. I like to top my cup of cocoa with a dash of cinnamon. “Like many, I outgrew mass-market hot chocolate mixes years ago. With overwhelming sweetness and barely a hint of chocolate, they don’t come close to satisfying my adult tastes. So how about high-end mixes with descriptions like “rich,” “indulgent,” and “intense”? Their aim is to mimic European sipping chocolate, a decadent version typically served in tiny 4-ounce portions. I wanted some of the superconcentrated flavor and luxurious body of this style—but not so much that I couldn’t drink an entire mugful. But when I tried a handful of these deluxe mixes, adding enough milk to make 8 ounces, none came even close to boasting the deep flavor or lush texture I was after. Not to mention that all were exorbitantly priced. For a grown-up cup of hot chocolate, I would have to concoct my own premium mix.” —Keith Dresser, Executive Food Editor, Cook’s Illustrated WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: Our goal was a dark, thick, and creamy mug of hot chocolate that packed a superconcentrated chocolate punch but left us able to drink more than a couple of sips. We chose a blend of cocoa powder, for its complex chocolate flavor, and unsweetened chocolate, which added richness with its high proportion of cocoa butter. Sugar and nonfat dry milk powder add sweetness and help create a smooth, creamy consistency. Cornstarch thickens the drink while salt and vanilla sharpen flavors.
MAKES 3 CUPS; ENOUGH FOR TWELVE 1-CUP SERVINGS
This recipe can easily be halved or doubled. Our preferred unsweetened chocolate is Hershey’s Unsweetened Baking Bar. Both natural and Dutch-processed cocoa will work in this recipe. Our favorite natural cocoa powder is Hershey’s Natural Cocoa Unsweetened; our favorite Dutch-processed cocoa powder is Droste Cocoa. 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine 1 cup (3 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder 1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) nonfat dry milk powder 5 teaspoons cornstarch 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt Process all ingredients in food processor until ground to powder, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer to airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 2 months. For one serving of hot chocolate, heat 1 cup of whole, 2 percent low-fat, or 1 percent low-fat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until it starts to steam and bubbles appear around the edge of the saucepan. Add 1/4 cup of hot chocolate mix and continue to heat, whisking constantly, until simmering, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Pour the hot chocolate into a mug and serve.