Editor’s Note: If you ever enjoy European-style hot chocolate, you’ll never go back to that pale, weak stuff that’s passed off as cocoa in America. European hot chocolate is thick, rich, and made with the best, real chocolate.
Lily Obrien’s is a shop in Newbridge, Ireland, that sells all kinds of chocolate. And all of their chocolates are free of hydrogenated fat (the type that isn’t good for you). Here, they share one of their favorite recipes for real hot chocolate.
Gozde Kar from Lily O’Briens writes:
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting real, unadulterated hot chocolate, then anything inferior just won’t hit the mark ever again. The thing with hot chocolate is that it varies hugely. Yet, the very best hot chocolate actually has some of the fewest ingredients. I would never entertain the idea of drinking hot chocolate from a sachet or jar – it just doesn’t need those flavorings or artificial sweeteners.
The great thing about preparing real hot chocolate is that it actually doesn’t take all that long to do. When you’ve done it the once, there’s no turning back, and you’ll ask yourself how you could have survived for all this time without this little piece of heaven.
My favorite hot chocolate recipe has been tried and tested countless times among family and friends, and they’ve given me their feedback so I’ve been able to make the odd tweak here and there to get the maximum amount of flavor. For some reason, it always tastes so much better when you’ve just come in from the cold outside and you need a little warm up. But, really, it tastes good at any time.
Many people often ask if you should drink the hot chocolate on its own, or enjoy it with a cake or biscuit, etc. I would undoubtedly suggest that you enjoy the rich flavours of the drink by itself, as you won’t be able to appreciate it if you’re mixing it with other foods.
15 ounces (450ml) whole milk
2.5 ounces (70g) cocoa chocolate
1 ounce (30g) light cream (18-30% (aka single cream)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Warm 5 ounces (150ml) of the milk in a pan – don’t allow it to boil.
Chop or grate the chocolate and add it to the pan. For the best hot chocolate always use really good quality chocolate, that is at least 70% cocoa. Don’t worry if you usually find dark chocolate too bitter, as you won’t notice this at the end, as the other flavours will blend in to give a really smooth and satisfying result. If you’re serving the drink to children, however, you might want to choose a chocolate with 50% cocoa, if they find the darker chocolate too intense. Whatever chocolate you choose, make sure it’s a good quality one. You can really spot poor quality chocolate in this recipe.
Stir the chocolate into the pan until melted. Whisk in the remaining milk and the single cream.
Heat the mixture again to just below boiling point. Then add the cinnamon and the pinch of salt. If you want a frothy finish, then give it a final whisk before pouring.
As an alternative to the cinnamon, consider adding a drop of vanilla. You may also like to sprinkle a few marshmallows on top, for an extra dose of indulgence. You shouldn’t need to add sugar as it will be rich enough, but if you do really have a sweet tooth, then adding a tiny sprinkle of sugar is acceptable.
Sit back and enjoy the wonderful flavors!