Cooking in the Cove: Warm Up With Hot Chocolate for Adults

Delicious hot chocolate tastes delicious on a cold winter’s day. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

As a kid growing up on the shore of Lake Ontario, we spent our winters wading through waist-deep snow, zipping down the treacherous hill by an old cheese factory and building snow people by the dozen. Winter was long, cold, white with gray edges.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in Condé Harbor Village. You can access it at [email protected]

But when we came from outside to hang our wet woolen items to dry, there was always hot chocolate on the stove (made by Nestle’s Quik). That was a given.

Let’s quickly jump into the present and make hot chocolate for adults, shall we? Break up the Christmas bars of Lindt, Ghirardelli, Godiva or Ritter chocolates and chop them into small pieces. Bring whole milk, whipping cream, and all the sprinkles.

Perhaps a stray candy stick left over from the Christmas tree, a cinnamon stick or a pinch of star anise will find their way into your cup. You may want to sprinkle some colored sugar, ground nutmeg, cinnamon, chocolate chips, or sea salt. How about a drizzle of caramel over that fluff of fresh whipped cream? And don’t forget the chocolate truffles, which will sink to the bottom of the glass and melt lazily as you sip.

Dive into the liquor locker and let’s see what you have there. There might be a healthy dash of mint liqueur, Grand Marnier, Godiva liqueur, or Kahlua. what do you say?

You should not be stingy when making this divine elixir. Go big on the quality of chocolate and gadgets – and don’t you dare get that 2% milk.

Of course, I have to advise that this winter’s triple candy wonderland is best enjoyed after you’ve gone for a jog or rambled through the woods on snowshoes or country sleds…

Hygge Hot Chocolate is the easiest HC version I know of. If you are using unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt to the milk. And FYI, I’d like to use a chocolate bar that’s more on the sweet and sour side – if I’m inviting.

Maybe thicker Italian hot chocolate prefers syrup, dessert more than drinks. Serve in small espresso-like cups. In fact, you can substitute 1 cup of strong coffee (or 1/2 cup of espresso and 1/2 cup of water) for the 1 cup of water in the recipe. You can also add more water or milk if the chocolate is too much!

When preparing French hot chocolate, the rich concentrate can be prepared in advance and kept in a container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. It’s a fun item to have on hand when you have the craving for a sip or two. It is also a beautiful gift for a well deserved friend. When you are ready to drink, the syrup is heated with milk. Remember, a little goes a long way.

Try them all and let me know your favourite.

Cozy hot chocolate

4 cups full fat milk
10 ounces (50% cocoa or higher) chopped dark chocolate
3 tablespoons butter

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a simmer, but do not boil. Turn on medium-low heat and add chocolate and butter. Gently whisk constantly until all ingredients are blended. Yield: 4 (1 cup) servings

Italian hot chocolate

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup water divided
1 cup full fat milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium saucepan, mix together cocoa, sugar, and cornstarch. Put on low heat and stir in half a cup of water. When it starts to boil over low heat, add half a cup of water and a cup of milk. Raise the temperature to medium low. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and coats spoon, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heather and add the vanilla. Yield: 4 (1/2 cup) servings

French Sipping Chocolate Concentrates

1 cup heavy or light cream
8 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

Bring the cream to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate. Strain it through a fine sieve, using a spoon to push it through. Yield: Focus on 6 (1/2 cup) servings of hot chocolate

For each serving, mix 1/4 cup of the concentrate with 1/4 cup of milk. Heat it on a low heat in a saucepan. Add 1/8 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon liquor to each serving.

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