June 18, 2006

full of chocolates

call me a chocolic or cocoalic (if there is a term of it), but i DO love hot chocolates. i just love the taste of them, the taste of chocolate either using cocoa or blocks of dark cooking chocolate (which i think is mostly satisfying than the drinking powder kind), mixed with simply a cup of full cream milk...oh, heavenly paradise! i discovered some recipes of superb hot chocolates. one of them is from David Herbert' "The Perfect Cookbook" hot chocolate for two. i also love Lois Daish's food column about choc full i read once in the Listener, especially when i tasted her Spanish Hot Chocolate that she found in Linda Collister's "Heavenly Chocolate".

i agree with Herbert that 'the perfect hot chocolate isn't made from powder spooned from a tin, it's made using real chocolate.' (p. 81)

Hot Chocolate
Source: The Perfect Cookbook

2 cups milk
100g dark chocolate, chopped
sugar, to taste (I omit)

Gently heat the milk in a saucepan over low heat for 2 minutes. Add the chocolate and stir occasionally, until melted and smooth. Bring the mixture to just under boiling point and whisk briskly for a couple of minutes to make it frothy. Taste for sweetness and stir in a little sugar if needed. Pour the hot chocolate into cups and serve immediately.

tips from Herbert: for an extra treat, add marshmallows to the cup before pouring over the hot chocolate. Or try topping a dollop of lightly whipped cream and sprinkling with a little coarsely grayed chocolate. For extra richness, use couverture chocolate, which has a high cocoa butter content and melts beautifully.

the recipe that i often use to satisfy my craving for hot chocolate is the spanish version. i find it can boost my energy up a whole day long. mind you, i don't drink it at night, as i have a sleeping problem already, unless i want to keep awake until the sun shines (if we're lucky enough to have in Winter). i love the taste of cinnamon in the mixture of dark cooking chocolate and espresso. i often nibble the cinnamon stick after i've finished my cup. i can't describe the feeling of it. it's just feeling right to me.

Spanish Hot Chocolate
Source: the Listener
50g dark or cooking chocolate, broken into pieces
1 cup full cream milk
1 Tbs sugar (i don't use)
1 cinnamon stick
1 large cup strong hot black coffee
2 Tbs brandy (optional)
4 curls fresh orange peel

Put the chocolate, milk, sugar, and cinnamon stick in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring constantly, until smooth and melted. Bring to the boil, whisking, then remove from the heat and whisk in the coffee and optional brandy. Put a curl of orange peel in each of 4 small cups or heatproof glasses and pour in the hot chocolate. Serves 4.

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