What’s better than a mug of steaming hot chocolate to warm up a rainy winter day? This wonderfully creamy chocolat chaud from my all-time favorite blog by David Lebovitz, gets its luxurious richness from lots of top-quality chocolate; I used Lindt Excellence 85% Cocoa which has a subtle aroma of roasted coffee and Natural Bourbon vanilla beans. The beverage is best served in tiny espresso cups rather than regular coffee mugs with a large basin of freshly whipped cream on the side to overcome any possible chocolate overdose.

PARISIAN HOT CHOCOLATE

Ingredients:

1 cup (250 ml) whole milk

65 g bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 tablespoon light brown sugar, optional

Method:

  • Heat milk in a medium-sized saucepan. Whisk in chocolate, stirring until melted and steaming hot.
  • Cook mixture at a very low boil for about 3 minutes whisking constantly. Keep an eye on the mixture.

  • It may boil up a bit during the first moments. Add brown sugar and serve warm in small coffee cups.
  • It improves if made ahead and allowed to sit for few hours. Rewarm before serving. Makes 2 servings.

If you have a penchant for white chocolate, you might like to try this recipe from Will Cook For Friends spiked with a dash of cardamom and fresh orange zest. As usual, I stuck to Lindt with its Excellence White Chocolate bar, infused with Madagascan vanilla, which melts readily into a smooth and deliciously rich chocolate drink.

SPICED WHITE HOT CHOCOLATE

Ingredients:

60g good quality white chocolate, roughly chopped

1 cup (250 ml) whole milk

2 green cardamom pods, crushed

1 inch strip of orange zest

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pinch of cinnamon or freshly grated nutmeg

Fresh whipped cream, for serving

Method:

  • Place a small pot on the stove over medium-low heat, and add the milk, crushed cardamom, and orange zest.
  • Heat until the milk begins to steam, and small bubbles appear around the edges of the pot, stirring frequently.

  • As soon as bubbles appear, remove from heat. Do not let mixture boil. Place chocolate in heatproof bowl.
  • Place a strainer over the bowl with chocolate, and pour milk through to remove cardamom and orange.

  • Add vanilla extract and sit for 20-30 seconds to allow chocolate to begin melting. Whisk till smooth.
  • Garnish with a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg. Top with freshly whipped cream.  Makes 2 servings.

Hot Chocolate for Cold Days!