Ultimate Hot Chocolate

Yes, yes—I should be posting a recipe for a healthy smoothie right now.  The cold weather, however, has me craving hot chocolate.

By this time, most New Year’s resolutions have already waned, haven’t they?  So, I opted for a very rich and indulgent hot chocolate recipe and set aside the healthy smoothie recipe for a time when I’m not feeling quite so chilled.

What usually saves me from OD’ing on hot chocolate when it’s cold out is that I rarely have milk in the house.  Roger and I are pretty much water, coffee, tea, and wine drinkers (not necessarily in that order).  Neither of us are milk drinkers for a variety of reasons.

Then, what should I stumble across, but a recipe for hot chocolate that called for a can of sweetened condensed milk which just happens to be a staple in my pantry.  In very short order, Roger, one of my daughters, and I were enjoying big mugs of hot cocoa with a sprinkling of marshmallows.  I didn’t have any heavy cream or I would have whipped some up.  I do love the contrast between hot cocoa and the cool whipped cream.

To say this hot chocolate is indulgent is an understatement.  I actually added a little more hot water to mine and it was still very creamy and rich.  I also added another item to my food shopping list—a replacement can of sweetened condensed milk!

This recipe makes a big batch of cocoa, so I refrigerated what we didn’t initially drink–almost half the batch.  I may have accidentally placed the container behind some large items on the refrigerator shelf so that it couldn’t be readily seen.  By the time Roger did happen to notice it and saw that there was only about a cup left, he asked, “Is that all there is?”  I immediately channeled Peggy Lee, “Is that all there is, is that all there is?  If that’s all there is, my friends, then let’s keep dancing.”

He wasn’t particularly amused.

p.s.  Apologies to the younger crowd, but it was a big hit in our day.  :-)

One year ago:  My Top Favorites of 2013 – Round 2

Two years ago:  Mini Flourless Chocolate Cakes with Chocolate Glaze

Three years ago:  Orange Chicken

Ultimate Hot Chocolate

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Ingredients

  • Two 1-oz. squares of unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 to 1 cup additional water, optional – see Fran’s Notes

Directions

In your microwave or in a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the chocolate and the sweetened condensed milk until the chocolate is completely melted.  I used my microwave and melted the mixture using 50% power.  Whisk in vanilla, combine completely, and set aside.

In a larger saucepan, bring the 4 cups of water to a boil.  Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate mixture.

Serve in mugs with a dollop of whipped cream or marshmallows and a sprinkle of cinnamon if desired.  Depending on the size of your mug and whether you add extra hot water at the end as I did, this should make 6 servings.  Store any extra in the fridge—it reheats very well.

Fran’s Notes

This is an extremely rich cocoa beverage.  I am a card-carrying chocoholic, but I added another tablespoon or so of hot water to my cup.  It was still very rich and chocolate-y.  When I make it next time, I will just add another half cup of water to the original mix and taste test from there.

Variations

Peppermint Hot Chocolate:  Replace vanilla with 1 tsp. peppermint extract. Serve with a candy cane instead of a spoon to stir.

Mexican Hot Chocolate:  Add 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper in with the vanilla.

Almond or Hazelnut Hot Chocolate:  Replace vanilla with 1 tsp. almond or hazelnut extract.

Source:   A recipe from Our Best Bites

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