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The ultimate hot chocolate


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As I drank my cup of homemade salted caramel hot chocolate at home, I was dreaming how good it could really be.

Start off with milk from Strauss (maybe even a little cream), chocolate from Weiss, burnt caramel sauce from Recchiuti and some Fleur de Sel. Is it possible to add something else to it to make it better? Maybe some torched marshmallow?

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I am a firm believer of a touch of cayenne in hot chocolate


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Spicy! I like! Now it got me thinking bacon (not exactly sure why)....candied bacon crumbs! Is that wrong?

There is no wrong... only likes and dislikes. :biggrin:

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Spicy! I like! Now it got me thinking bacon (not exactly sure why)....candied bacon crumbs! Is that wrong?

There is no wrong... only likes and dislikes. :biggrin:

No, I'm sorry, that's just wrong! :raz::biggrin: :biggrin:

quite like my milk steamed like a cappucino in a hot chocolate.

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The trick to finding your ultimate hot chocolate is figuring out how much dairy you like. Pure, traditional hot chocolate has none. This creates the most intense chocolate flavor possible. It's amazing, but you might find it to be too much. Dairy (especially cream) actually mutes the chocolate flavor. The question is how much of this richness / muting you like.

If serving hot chocolate as an intense dessert, in a demitasse, I'll sometimes make it dairy-free, with excellent chocolate in the 70% cocoa solids range. If it's more of a fun drink, served in bigger cups, I'll add whole milk. But I generally don't use a lot of it, and I don't use cream, because I want a fair amount of directness from the chocolate.

Using some proportion of cocoa powder is also a way of upping the intensity. It has less cocoa butter, which also mutes flavors somewhat. But I keep the proportion of cocoa fairly low, because whole chocolate generally has better flavor overall.

Here's a recipe I like. It steals liberally from some of Pierre Hermés ideas. You can vary it any way you like.

Cinnamon/Caramel Dark Hot Chocolate

1/2 to 1 cinnamon stick

360g / 1-1/2 cups water

60g / 1/3 cup sugar

120g / 4-1/4 oz bittersweet chocolate

24g /1/4 cup dutch cocoa

1g / 1/8 tsp salt

240g / 1 cup whole milk

-Heat sugar and cinnamon, undisturbed, in a heavy saucepan.

-boil the water separately

-when sugar starts to caramelize, stir vigorously until amber

-pour water on sugar/cinnamon, and keep stirring and heating until clumps liquefy

-whisk in cocoa

-stir in chocolate, continuing to stir until melted

-stir in milk

-keep on heat until the first bubble pops on the surface

-remove from heat and whip (with a whisk or a stick blender) until slightly frothy

I generally use Valrhona Guanaja and either Valrhona or Pernigotti cocoa powder.

Notes from the underbelly

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I love hot chocolate but have to use caution in the ingredients.

Dutch process cocoa is okay but regular seems to trigger my allergy the same way as chocolate candy does.

I like hot chocolate with a small amount of chile - I've tried it with chipotle "water" (a dried chipotle steeped in hot water then strained) with varying degrees of heat depending on how much I added. I like this much better than adding a dash of hot sauce, which is the way some people make it.

A year ago I ordered some wattleseed from Australia. (It's now available here.)

I tried steeping some, as I would tea and adding that to my cocoa and it added a note that I really liked. Almost coffee-like but quite different from when I add espresso powder.

I do use some milk, about a third of the total liquid volume. In my opinion there are some flavor components that are either released or activated by the action of the casein in the milk. I could be wrong but I notice that some flavors "come forward" with the addition of milk and simply are undetectable with just water.

By the way, I've tried making it in the Thermomix and it works quite well.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett


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