Updated: Aug 29
The cold weather is here, and it won't leave us anytime soon. There is nothing better than a nice hot chocolate to warm us up. But this recipe isn't just any old powdered hot chocolate mix you'll find in the store. It's French! We have the perfect recipe for you!
So, what makes French hot chocolate unique, and why is it better than the powder you'll find in a store? Well, the list goes on and on. Simply put, French hot chocolate is practically a chocolate bar melted in cream.
Named le Chocolat Chaud in France, this drink isn't just a refreshment for drinking; they will often have it with breakfast and dip soft brioche bread. For a chocolate lover, this is a perfect drink. After a long dinner, I usually serve this drink as something sweet to end the meal. I've had comments from guests that they will never drink hot chocolate the same again! Now that is music to my ears.
When you make this drink, be aware that this is considerably thicker than the powder you'll find in a store, this is a good thing. You won't want to fill up a big mug with it but rather a tiny cup where a few sips will be drunk.
The flavors are so intense and rich that you won't want a full mug. One of my favorite things to include is a touch of crushed candy cane on top. Depending on how thick you make the hot chocolate, it may or may not sink to the bottom. This is almost preferred. You'll get a few drinks of rich chocolate, and the final sip will have deep notes of peppermint and chocolate. The perfect way to end a meal, your day, or to start it- if you drink it for breakfast like the French.
Now to the science behind this recipe. The first thing we do is add in our flavorings, cinnamon, brown sugar, and vanilla. We want these ingredients in early and simmer the milk for 10 minutes to let the flavorings take hold in the milk. Why brown sugar? We want to add a slight molasses flavor to the chocolate. This recipe is all about layering flavors.
So, we've dealt with the flavorings; why do we have to strain the milk? This will lead to a much clearer and more refined consistency, not full of bubbles and impurities that may have come from the milk's fat content. We then add the chocolate, the highest quality available, and simmer. The time is up to you; it will become thicker as some milk evaporates. I prefer mine thick, but it's up to you.
Believe me, when I say it, this drink will change how you drink hot chocolate for the rest of your life. If you like a sweeter drink, you can always add more sugar, but whatever path you take, it is a chocolate lover's dream.
"The Flying Chef"
French Hot Chocolate- Le Chocolat Chaud
Yield: 4 Cups
Prep Time: ~10 Minutes Inactive Time: ~30 Minutes Total Time: ~40 Minutes
1. 4 Cups Whole Milk
2. 1 Cinnamon Stick
3. 1/2 tsp Vanilla Paste
4. Pinch of Salt
5. 1 tbsp Brown Sugar
6. 2 tsp Cocoa Powder
7. Cinnamon (Optional)
8. 200g Bittersweet Chocolate
9. Crushed Candy Cane (optional)
1. Pour the whole milk into a small saucepan with the cinnamon, vanilla paste, salt, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, turn to the lowest heat, and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
2. Add in the cocoa powder and stir until combined. Remove the cinnamon stick and strain through a cheesecloth or very fine mesh strainer into a clean saucepan.
3. Add the bittersweet chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and well combined. Let the hot chocolate simmer gently while stirring until the the desired thickness is reached.
4. Serve with a sprinkle of crushed-up candy cane or whipped cream.
Recipe By: Chef Olson Thewoodenspoonchefs.com
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