A steamy mug of Hot Chocolate is a welcome treat on a snowy
day. I have always enjoyed the simple task of
standing at the stove heating milk and chocolate until the
chocolate melts and the milk becomes hot and foamy. Oftentimes I like to
insert an immersion blender into the hot liquid and whip it until it
becomes even more frothy. To me, the real secret to this drink's
success is a large dollop of whipped cream floating on the top. The
contrast of hot milk and cold cream is delightful. I like this hot
chocolate so much that I often make a double batch and then store leftovers
in the refrigerator so I can quickly microwave a mug any time a craving
Now a good cup of hot chocolate is dependent on both the type (bittersweet, semisweet
and brand of chocolate, as
well as the fat content of the
milk (full fat, reduced fat, or skim). Both of these ingredients affect both the flavor and
of the hot chocolate. So experiment
types and brands of chocolate until you find one you like. Use either milk or
cream, or a combination of both, to get the desired richness and creaminess. The
adventurous may even like to add a stick of cinnamon or
maybe a dash of chili pepper to the warming milk and
chocolate. Vanilla or chocolate extract will also add a nice
flavor. And the coffee lover can enjoy a mocha
flavor by simply replacing some of the milk with freshly brewed
chocolate is steeped in history. Columbus is
credited with being the first to discover chocolate.
When he arrived in the New World in 1502 he found
the Aztecs drinking a
chocolate beverage made with cocoa beans from the tropical tree Theobroma
which translates to "Food of the Gods". Although the
Spaniards found the beverage too bitter tasting for their
palates they were amazed to see the Aztec's emperor,
Montezuma, consuming up to 50 cups
a day. The Aztecs made the beverage by first roasting and then grinding
the cocoa beans to a paste, and then adding the paste to water, along
with chili peppers and vanilla. Columbus did take cocoa beans back to Spain but they
were not well received. It wasn't until Hernando Cortez brought
more of the cocoa beans back to Spain from
his trip to the New World (sometime around 1520) that the Spaniards found a way to process the
beans to make them more palatable. They did this by adding sugar and spices (vanilla, cinnamon,
cloves, hazelnuts, almonds, orange flower water) to the chocolate paste.
Once the paste was allowed to solidify it was added to water or milk.
This drink immediately became popular with the Spaniards and eventually the beverage spread throughout Europe
and eventually to North America.
Hot Chocolate: Place the milk, semisweet
chocolate, milk chocolate,
and sugar (if using), in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk constantly
until the chocolate melts and the mixture just reaches the boiling point. Remove
from heat and if more foam is desired, use a wire whisk or hand held immersion blender to whip the
Pour the hot chocolate into two cups and
garnish with a dollop of whipped cream or marshmallows. If desired, sprinkle
with some grated chocolate or a dusting of cocoa powder. Preparation time 10 minutes.Whipped Cream:In your mixing bowl, place the whipping cream and sugar and
whisk until stiff peaks form.
Note: To make hot or iced mocha simply replace 1/2
cup (120 ml) milk with your favorite brewed coffee. Proceed with the recipe
and if you want it iced, let the mixture cool and then pour over ice cubes.
Garnish with whipped cream and grated chocolate.
Note: Leftovers can be covered and stored in the
refrigerator for a couple of days. Reheat.
Makes 2 - 8 ounce (240 ml) servings.
Hot Chocolate Recipe:
2 cups (480 ml)
3 ounces (90 grams)
semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 ounce (30 grams) milk
(10 grams) granulated
white sugar, or to taste (optional)
1/4 cup (60 ml) cold heavy
cream (cream with a 35-40% butterfat content)
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