december 13, 2018
Remember making hot chocolate from scratch the first time? I grew up on those little packets of hot cocoa mix and occasionally added flavor or texture, but to me that premade mix defined my hot chocolate experience. Until I really grew up, and started making this cozy winter beverage with chocolate and milk.
The super easy method is to heat semisweet or bittersweet chocolate with milk in a pan and enjoy straight up. Taking a little extra time and jazzing up your hot cocoa is well with the effort, especially if you crave spicy heat. Today’s recipe will work without the cinnamon or chile kick, so stick around for the next couple of sentences. Brown sugar gives a slightly caramel nuance and the addition of two types of chocolate will satisfy the chocoholic. A pinch of salt cuts the sweet; if you forgo the cinnamon and chile, add a dash of pure vanilla extract to accentuate the chocolate richness. If you like this version, steep the cinnamon sticks for at least one hour, then reheat the cocoa when you are ready to serve. The final product will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.
The southern states got pummeled last weekend with snow and ice. Here in Richmond we were expected to receive a few inches and ended up with nearly a foot. I stayed cozy with my mug of spicy hot chocolate and listened to vintage holiday tunes.
I like extra dark unsweetened cocoa, but regular works just as well. Nondairy milks also make a fine vegan version, but keep in mind the color of the beverage will be darker. Top your hot cup of cocoa with marshmallows or whipped cream if you like, or enjoy plain. Plain is a relative term here, since this spicy hot chocolate is anything but.
Cinnamon Chile Hot Chocolate
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes six servings
4 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder ( I like extra dark)
1 ½ teaspoons ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
4 cups milk (for vegan version, use nondairy milk of choice)
½ cup (3 ounces) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped pieces
2 cinnamon sticks
optional garnishes : mini marshmallows or whipped cream
- In heavy one or two quart saucepan, whisk together sugar, cocoa powder and spices.
- Gradually whisk in milk, add chocolate chips or pieces, then bring to gentle simmer over medium heat, stirring with flexible spatula until chocolate melts and all is mixed well.
- Add cinnamon sticks, remove from heat and let steep for at least one hour.
- Remove cinnamon sticks and either store in the refrigerator up to 4 days for reheating later, or reheat after steeping and serve hot as is or with garnish of choice.