Le Chocolat Chaud
Updated: Aug 24, 2022
The cold weather is here, and it won't be leaving us any time 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 so unique, and why is it better than the powder you'll find in a store? Well, the list goes on and on. To put it very simply, 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 in it. For a chocolate lover, this is a perfect drink. After a long dinner, I often 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, trust me. You won't want to fill up a big mug with it but rather a small cup where a few sips will be drunk.
The flavors are intense and rich enough that you won't want a mug full. 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 are doing is adding in our flavorings, cinnamon, brown sugar, and vanilla. The reason we want these ingredients in early, and why we simmer the milk for 10 minutes, is 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; now why do we have to strain the milk? This will lead to a much clearer and 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 length of time is up to you; it will become thicker as some of the milk evaporates over time. 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 with it, it is a chocolate lover's dream.
"The Flying Chef"