The perfect winter treat, hot chocolate tastes better when enjoyed by the fire and watching a Christmas movie! The best thing about making it at home is you can tailor it to your preferences. I personally like to mix dark and milk chocolate, and top it off with some marshmallows. My mom likes hers made with almond milk, and sometimes with a dash of coffee added! Get creative with your kids in deciding what toppings to use for a fun activity on a cold and wet day. Whatever your preferences, follow these guidelines to make the perfect hot chocolate!
The key is to avoid the use of drinking-chocolate powders and instead use real chocolate. The better the quality of chocolate you buy, the better tasting your hot chocolate will be. Try using different combinations of white, milk and dark chocolates until you find your favourite.
The next thing is to ensure the milk is heated to the right temperature. You can invest in a thermometer quite cheaply if you don’t have one. It should be between 60 and 70 ºC for adults, and around 50 ºC for young children. At this temperature the milk will have a natural sweetness to it, any higher and the natural proteins will denature and change the flavour of the milk. Of course, if you don’t eat dairy, use any alternate milk of your choice. Use a whisk or milk aerator, if you have one, to make some foamy froth. Adding a dash of cream to the milk will help with this.
Experiment with extra flavours if you’re feeling adventurous. A pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg adds an extra Christmassy feel to the hot chocolate, but alternatively add some hazelnut syrup, or caramel for some classic tastes. If you’re obsessed with Nutella, replace the chocolate in the recipe with it!
If you’re really craving something decadent and luxurious, swap out quarter or half of the milk for some double cream and add a measure of Bailey’s at the end. Your arteries won’t thank you, but your taste buds will! If you want to go all out, dip the rim of your serving mug or glass in some Nutella and crushed biscuits or sprinkles. Top with whipped cream, marshmallows, caramel and your favourite biscuits.
The Perfect Hot Chocolate
For 1 cup of hot chocolate
- 40 g good quality chocolate of choice (I use 30 g dark, 10 g milk)
- 200 mL milk of choice (swap some for cream if you like!)
- Any toppings or extras i.e. whipped cream, marshmallows, cinnamon, nutmeg etc.
Chop the chocolate up into small pieces and place in a heavy bottomed pot.
Add the milk, and heat the milk gentle without the lid on the pot.
Use a thermometer to heat the milk to between 60-70 ºC (or 50 ºC for young children), whisking as you go.
Scald your mug or glass with hot water, then pour in the hot chocolate. Top with whatever decadent treat takes your fancy!
Tag @thecorkfork on Instagram to show me your hot chocolate creations!