The One (Who Brings Me Love, Joy, and Happiness) is perhaps the only person I know who can drink finger-singeing mugs of hot chocolate so thick you could upend them over your head and sing the chorus of “I Will Survive” before the contents glug out. Me, I like my hot chocolate thin, layered, subtle, surprising. So give me a Toby mug filled with hot milk and just enough chocolate swirled in to lend body and a hint of heft while still allowing the hormone/antibiotic-free and outrageously expensive whole milk to shine through. Cream? Puh-lease. I don’t take enough Crestor for that. Marshmallows? Absolutely, but not the mini (ack!) ones. One or two big ones—homemade, even better.
I am adamant: I have no desire to turn into a Hoover and vacuum up a mug of chocolate ganache masquerading as a drink. I like my Aztecan delight thin, so I can sip it while gazing out the window early in the morning, like people did in those old General Foods International Coffee commercials.—David Leite
Brown water. That was the hot chocolate of my childhood. It was the instant variety, whichever brand my mom found on sale, and even when she made it with milk, it was wan. Wan and one-dimensional and cloying, it tasted just as I imagined the inside of the foil envelope might taste. Though it smacked of soullessness, it was still a tease, and I fell for it time and again.
So I did the only thing a disillusioned seven-year-old could do: I dreamt up a cocoa with superhero powers. It was sufficiently substantial to stand up to winters in Iowa, bullies on the school bus, and homework for social studies. It was thick, sweetly subdued, captured the fudgy essence of brownies yet hinted at life’s more elegant decadences that were yet to be known to me. It didn’t so much warm my senses as overwhelm them—an omen of far darker vices, those lingering near the 70th percentile, that I’d succumb to someday. The hot chocolate of my musings was like a puddle of melted chocolate with a splash of heavy cream.
I eventually stumbled upon the proper proportions, creating my memory in reverse. Far from thin, not quite superhero thick, and completely worth the wait.
Hot Chocolate — To Suit Any Taste
Migoya sagely explains that “one of the recurring defects that occurs with hot chocolate is that after it sits for extended periods of time (cold or hot), some of the fat tends to separate to the top and some of the chocolate solids sink to the bottom. To resolve this problem, try adding powdered soy lecithin, a natural ingredient.” A simple pinch, added with the salt, will do you.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Hot Chocolate To Suit Any Taste
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 10 M
- Makes 10 cups
IngredientsEmail Grocery List
- For thin hot chocolate
- For thick hot chocolate
- To infuse the hot chocolate with the following flavors, put them in the milk or the milk and cream before boiling. Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat. Cover the pot and steep the flavors for a few minutes. As a rule, steep the mixture for 5 minutes maximum if steeping teas and 15 to 20 for other flavors. Strain the liquid into another pot using a fine-mesh sieve and return the liquid to a second boil before pouring over the chocolate. The amounts are for the yields in the recipes above.
- Earl Grey tea: scant 1 1/2 ounces
- Jasmine tea: scant 1 1/2 ounces
- Nutmeg: 7 whole nutmegs, crushed
- Toasted star anise: 2
- Cinnamon sticks: 1
- Vanilla pods, split and scraped: 2
- Toasted cloves: 1/2 ounce
- Pink peppercorns, lightly toasted: 1/2 ounce
- Orange zest: 1 ounce
- Lemon zest: 3/4 ounce
- Lime zest: 1/2 ounce
- Crushed candy canes: 6 ounces