It’s Christmas time!
...Okay, it might not be Christmas just yet, but that won’t stop Christmas lovers like me from indulging in the holiday festivities. For me, that means making hot chocolate — there’s nothing like sipping warm chocolate from a huge mug while cuddled up under a blanket (it's finally cold here in Hong Kong!). Over the years, I’ve tried many different variations of hot chocolate, and here are some tips on how to make the best hot chocolate.
Photo credit: David Lebovitz
1. Use (real) chocolate - please!
While you can use cocoa to make hot cocoa in a pinch, it doesn’t quite produce the same flavour and rich texture that chocolate does. My personal favourite is dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids, please), but milk chocolate and white chocolate versions also work too, though they’re obviously sweeter. Simply chop it up (or grate using a parmesan grater) and melt it with a splash of milk before adding the rest of your milk.
Photo credit: BuzzFeed
2. Whole milk
Dietary restrictions aside, whole milk is definitely the way to go. Using semi-skimmed or low-fat milk isn’t quite the same as whole milk, as they don’t have the creaminess and buttery-ness that comes with whole milk. If you’re feeling a bit frisky, you could add in a splash of cream (or add cornstarch) too — if you’re going to indulge in hot chocolate, why not go the whole way?
Photo credit: Bell'Alimento
3. Do it on the stovetop
While the microwave method of making hot chocolate does have some allure, I think that making hot chocolate on the stovetop is really an experience. You can watch the chocolate melt and the drink warm up, and making it on the stovetop also makes it easier to add in any flavourings, which brings me to my next point…
Photo credit: Not Without Salt
4. Play with flavourings
Don’t be afraid to try something new! There have been an abundance of variations — think Nutella, chilli, mint and cinnamon. While it’s not guaranteed that all flavour combinations will work, feel free to experiment and discover what you like and twist your own twist onto the classic drink.
Photo credit: Joy the Baker
5. A pinch of salt
As Heston Blumenthal has showed us, a pinch of salt does really help to cut the bitterness of the chocolate and enhance its flavour. The addition of salt may be a nod to the numerous salted chocolate recipes that have been floating around these past couple of years, but it’s true, that just a pinch goes a long way.