Friday, December 22, 2017


Well, the winter has officially started yesterday, so what better way to keep warm than with a cup of rich and thick hot chocolate. Although many consider hot cocoa and hot chocolate to be the same thing, in Europe, hot chocolate is served thick and made with real chocolate, sometimes even with a consistency of chocolate custard; and while I do love hot cocoa, hot chocolate is always a real treat, especially if you use a high quality chocolate bar.
This is a plain and very delicious hot chocolate you can spice and enrich with any addition you like, be it peppermint extract, orange water, or whisky. If you choose to add powdery spices, add them in the beginning, with the rest of the dry ingredients, so they can distribute evenly and melt into the chocolate. You can top this with plenty of freshly whipped cream, or you can leave it plain, although I find the addition of cream balances well the sweetness of the chocolate.

500 ml whole milk
1 ½ tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons high quality unsweetened cocoa powder
100 grams high quality bittersweet chocolate
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
¼ teaspoon peppermint flavouring, optional
100 ml double cream, to garnish

Pour 400 ml of milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and place it over medium-high heat. Pour the rest of the milk into a small bowl, then sift in the cornflour and the cocoa powder; whisk very well, and add in the brown sugar, and blend well. Once the milk has come to a gentle boil, pour in the cocoa mix, and cook it over medium-high heat, for about 2 minutes, until it thickens. It will resemble a custard, only with more of a runny texture.
Once thickened, remove it from the heat, and immediately add in the chopped up chocolate. Let it stand for a minute or two, so the chocolate starts to melt nicely, then whisk vigorously until the chocolate has melted completely. Finally, mix in the vanilla and the peppermint flavouring (if using). Serve the drink hot, with some freshly whipped cream on top, and a few crushed candy cane pieces on top. Yields 2 servings.