Sunday, November 17, 2013

Food Blogging: Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate?

It seems like it's the sort of thing we all know how to make, right?  You dump some Hersey's syrup into a mug with milk, microwave, and there you have it.  Well, you have mediocre hot cocoa, but what you don't have is Hot Chocolate.

So what's the difference?  This:


So why the bar of chocolate in the background?  It's the primary ingredient.  Yup, this stuff is pretty decadent.

This is my favorite new way to make hot chocolate.  I got this idea from the coffee roaster and chocolate importer across the street from us.  They had a small metal pitcher of it sitting on top of one of the espresso machines, keeping warm.  That batch was made with chocolate that was 75% cocoa, and it was delicious.

A bit of reverse engineering and improvement landed me this recipe.

Here's the ingredient list:

  • 1/2 bar of bittersweet dark chocolate
  • about a tablespoon of water
  • about a tablespoon of heavy cream

As the chocolate is the primary ingredient, use a kind that you really like.  I would stick to the dark side, at least 50% cocoa.  In the US, I'd use Scharffen-Berger bittersweet 70% cocoa bars.  But that's me.  Aleatha might use the 82%...  :)

Anyway, the process is easy.  In fact, this is so easy, I don't think I'm ever going to be doing this any other way again.  The whole thing takes about 5 minutes, including getting out the ingredients.

Start by breaking up the bar into chunks.


Turn on your smallest burner to the lowest heat setting.  It's very easy to overdo the heat, and then you cook the chocolate, and it gets gritty.



Stir with a spatula to make sure it's all melted.


Then add in the water, and stir.


The water is to thin the chocolate to make it drinkable, so the amount you add adjusts the thickness of the result.  I slowly add water, stirring, until I get a consistency that I like (thick and goopy).

But this can be a bit harsh, especially with the high-cocoa bars, so adding a bit of heavy cream smoothens it out:


Stir in the cream, and then pour into cups or mugs, and enjoy!




Adjustments:

Depending on the amount of water and/or cream you use, you can make it as thick as chocolate pudding, or as thin as that "hot cocoa" you get from vending machines (but why would you want to do that?)