Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Italian-Style Hot Chocolate

I love getting hot chocolate here at a pastry shop or cafe.  It's super thick, like melted chocolate, and tastes amazing.  Some cafes use a mix, so I love finding places that make it from scratch.  One can buy the mix here, and I always have that on hand so we can whip it up at home, and it's pretty good, but I wanted to try to make some "real" stuff.  (You always use milk to make Italian hot chocolate mix, never water, like mixes in the US.  Preferably whole milk!)  (Btw- it's been cool and rainy here lately so this hot chocolate hit the spot yesterday, even though it's June!)

This is made with good-quality dark chocolate (I used Ritter Sport, which is German... lol!), milk, sugar, and cornstarch.  The recipe called for cinnamon, but I've never tasted that in local hot chocolate, so I left it out.  There's not much sugar, but it was still a little too sweet, so I'd reduce it next time and play around with the amounts.
Italian-Style Hot Chocolate
adapted from 12 Tomatoes
Serves 2; easily cut in half to serve 1

4 oz. dark chocolate, shaved (I used 50% cacao Rittersport)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon sugar (try a little less at first)
3/4 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
whipped cream, optional

1.  Place shaved chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat and add 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract.  Use a wooden spoon to stir chocolate as it begins to melt.  Slowly add remaining milk and continuing stirring until completely smooth.

2.  Add in sugar, cornstarch, and sea salt, and stir until everything is dissolved and combined.  Use a whisk to keep it smooth.  As it heats up, it will start to thicken.  It needs to thicken enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.  You can bring to a low simmer if needed- mine thickened without simmering. It's supposed to be thick and smooth.  

3.  Pour into 2 mugs (top with whipped cream if desired) and serve immediately.
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