Feeling a bit spicy 🌶 this Valentine’s week? Whip up a batch of this “wicked” hot chocolate 🍫. For those of you who think hot chocolate is a packet of powder -and I used to be one of you- brace yourself, because I’m about to change your life with this sinful concoction! SERIOUSLY!!!!
My hot chocolate journey began with a job interview. Before Brooklyn became BROOKLYN, I got an interview at a small web design company in DUMBO. Never in a million years did I see myself commuting from Manhattan to Brooklyn, but I figured I’d go on the interview for some practice. The interview went well, and in a crazy turn of events (a story for another day 😁)I ended up taking the job. In the 3 years I worked there, the area went from empty and dilapidated to TOTALLY happening. One of the first stores to move in was Jacques Torres, owned by the famous pastry chef and chocolatier. Not only did they have truffles in the purest and most delicious flavors, they also had a little seating area where they sold coffee and hot chocolate -in both regular and “wicked” varieties. At first, you could only get it to drink there, but as soon as they started selling containers of the “mix”, I had to have it -despite the rather outrageous price. My life would never be the same! This mix was actually just chopped chocolate and spices. The secret to the most amazing hot chocolate you will ever drink is USE ACTUAL CHOCOLATE!! I’ve even tried using really high-quality cocoa powder, but I don’t think it compares. This hot chocolate is thick, creamy, and totally decadent! After you taste it, the powdered mixes will taste like WATER 😝! Oh, and… your welcome -or maybe I should say I’m sorry! 😉
Below are my versions of both the regular and wicked hot chocolate. If you google Jacques Torres’s, you’ll see that his have some other ingredients which I just don’t think are necessary. I feel like I should now be imprisoned by the cooking police for doubting Jacques Torres 🙄 Feel free to try it his way and let me know which you like better…
- 1 ½ cups milk, I used 2% and thought it was perfect. You can experiment with whole, skim, adding some light/single cream, and I think even milk alternatives could work too.
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 5 oz (140 grams) chocolate, broken into small squares or coarsely chopped, Rather than my usual “throwing things into the pot, tasting, and adjusting method”, because I was putting this recipe out into the world, I deliberately tried it with all 70% which I thought was not quite sweet enough and all 51% which I thought was too sweet. I ultimately settled on a combination -half 70%, half 51%- and thought it was perfect, but again, you can experiment.
For the “wicked”/spicy version, you’ll also need:
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ancho chili powder*
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne*, more or less according to your taste for spice
*If you live in the UK where ancho chili powder is harder to come by, substitute ¼ teaspoon of hot smoked paprika for the ancho and the cayenne.
- Place milk, vanilla (and spices if making the wicked version) in a pot over medium heat. Whisk occasionally to make sure your spices are not sticking to the bottom, and bring to a simmer.
- Remove from the heat, add in the chocolate and let it sit for 1 minute. Whisk the chocolate into the milk mixture until you do not feel any chunks of chocolate left and it seems totally combined. Be sure to get around the edge of the pot -I always find some chocolate “hiding” there.
- Serve immediately. Or, if you’d like it to be super hot, place the pot back on the heat until it reaches a low simmer -making sure to whisk often so nothing sticks to the bottom. You can add some whipped cream or marshmallows if you’d like, but this hot chocolate is so rich and thick, I don’t think it needs anything else.
One last thing, the marshmallows in my pics are homemade. Despite recipes I saw with tons of warnings of what to do and what not to, they were surprisingly easy to make. I think the #1 reason to make your own is so that you can cut them into all sorts of cute shapes or (reason #2) if you want to dip them in dark chocolate 😋. Email me at email@example.com or DM me on Instagram if you want the marshmallow recipe!