THE CONFECTIONIST: hot chocolate

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

hot chocolate

Today was the first real of sign of fall here in Texas. That's right—the third day in November! I woke up in a hurry, walked outside feeling the cool crisp air, looked up and saw a cloudy gray sky. A smile quickly warmed up my face as I thought about coming home later to a nice cup of hot cocoa. I began thinking, what are some varieties of this beloved libation?
Mexican hot chocolate is made with chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla and—depending on how spicy you like it—a pinch of chile powder. American hot chocolate generally consists of a chocolate powder, which is often mixed with hot milk or water. Marshmallows are sometimes added, not only to make ourselves feel like we came up with the warm sweet concoction all by ourselves, but to add a nice creamy contrast in color and texture. In Europe hot chocolate is taken seriously and literally. Their winter drink is made with real chocolate, giving it a nice thick consistency. Just imagine walking around the Marais district, bundled up in a chunky knit sweater and cashmere coat, and coming back to your Parisian loft for a hot cup of liquid chocolate—c'est parfait (perfect)!!

Here's a recipe to for Parisian Hot Chocolate (David Lebovitz):

Four ‘Parisian-sized’ Servings

2 cups (1/2l) whole milk
5 ounces (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, (with at least 70% cacao solids), finely chopped
optional: 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1. Heat the milk in a medium-sized saucepan.

2. Once the milk is warm, whisk in the chocolate, stirring until melted and steaming hot. For a thick hot chocolate, cook at a very low boil for about 3 minutes, whisking frequently. (Be careful and keep an eye on the mixture, as it may boil up a bit during the first moments.)

3. Taste, and add brown sugar if desired.

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