You will all know what I mean when I talk about a food craving; not just the reserve of the pregnant woman a proper craving will silently peck away at you until sated. When someone mentions they are having a curry for dinner, I get a craving that will last for weeks unless I satisfy it. And I’m exactly the same with hot chocolate… Its not something I think about a lot, but as soon as its mentioned I’m reaching for the chocolate bag. Just the thought of it as I write this has my head full of silky, creamy, lightly spiced, liquid chocolate.
Now, like most things in life, using the best ingredients gives you the best results. I grew up, as you probably did, with powdered drinking chocolate and there is nothing wrong with that. However, several years ago, in my first job in a country house, a guest asked for a proper hot chocolate and I was transfixed as they added bittersweet chocolate (it was around 70% cocoa solids) to whole milk, before sprinkling in spices and a good glug of alcohol. The lush chocolate melted into the milk and I can still remember that smell of the warm, glistening lava. It was another lesson learnt for the young chef in me; even a hot chocolate can be something amazing and it deserves extra-special attention.
Spring forward several years and I am serving hot chocolate with freshly-baked, hazelnut donuts in my own restaurant as dessert! I love to see my guests’ faces as they take their first mouthful; a nostalgic, child-like smile appears for everyone! We’re still kids really, so go on. Give this recipe a try. For me, its best served from a flask half way through a relaxing, winter woodland walk! Enjoy.
Grown Up Hot Chocolate
Serves 8 comfortably
1 star anise
1 piece cinnamon
2 cardamom pods
110g unsweetened cocoa powder
350g quality chocolate with a high cocoa content
185ml creme de cacao
30ml orange juice
- Infuse the milk and cream with spices over a gentle heat and allow to simmer for 10 mins.
- Place the chocolate pieces into a clean pan and strain the infused milk over the chocolate,
- Stir well to melt the chocolate over a gentle heat,
- Stir in the remaining ingredients, mix well and serve.
This can be easily cooled and stored in the fridge for a day or two
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