Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Take That Swiss Miss!

I'm a huge fan of hot chocolate.  I don't mean those chalky packets that you mix with hot water with those tiny dehydrated marshmallows, I mean REAL hot chocolate.  It's taken some time to perfect our house recipe (and variations depending on mood) but I think overall, we've achieved a rich, creamy cup that satisfies a chocolate craving without being overly sweet.

The first consideration to make is what chocolate to use.  I'm a fan of Taza Mexican-style chocolate.  It's got a slightly grainy texture in sold form, which actually is what makes it melt evenly and a perfect drinking chocolate.  They make a variety of flavors (my personal favorite is salt and pepper) giving lots of options.  Also, it's made in Somerville, Mass which means I get to feel good about supporting local industry.  They also offer tours of the chocolate production facility, which include tastings.

Start by heating 2 1/2 cups of 1% or 2% milk on a low simmer.  You don't want to bring the milk to a boil or scald it.  Once it starts to steam slightly, add 2 tablespoons of DaVinci syrup.  I'm a fan of the sugar free cookie dough flavor but you have some options here.  This will add a touch of sweetness but still allow the bitterness of the chocolate to come through.  You can add more to taste if you like a sweeter cup.

Next add 3 tablespoons of unsweetened dutch processed cocoa.  Gently whisk into the mixture until you've worked out any lumps.  Break one disk of the chocolate (1/2 package) into wedges and melt into the milk.  Continue to whisk as the chocolate melts to ensure an even, creamy texture.  I also like to scrape the bottom of my saucepan with a rubber spatula to make sure all of the chocolate is incorporated.

Pour into 2 mugs and enjoy your warm, decadent creation.  If you'e looking for variations, adding 2 tablespoons of salted caramel creates a nice balance, as does 2 tablespoons of strained muddled raspberries.  With the cold weather approaching, at least you'll have a warm comfort to look forward to.

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