Proper Hot Chocolate

Proper Hot Chocolate with dripping whipped cream
Because, yeah, see, you’ve gotta have something delicious to drink with all of these baked goods, or anytime, right?!  So it best be Proper Hot Chocolate because it's the best of the best, a hot chocolate lover's dream.

Especially, as I sit here currently, we’re coming up on brrr cold, dark winter here in Chicago.  Hot chocolate, Proper Hot Chocolate, makes that easier to swallow.  Ah, beverage pun!

All my life I’ve been a chocolate beverage person.  As a kid, and to be fully honest, through to now, it’d always be a cupful of milk with Nesquik with breakfast.

If I’m lucky to be out for breakfast, again, it’s a chocolate milk.  Hopefully the real kind as opposed to chocolate syrup stirred in milk. While duh of course I’ll still drink that, I prefer the real kind, the rich-thick-heavier-the-better type.

If for some reason the out for breakfast place doesn’t have chocolate milk, or a bad one (um, chocolate flavoring for coffees is a total ick), a mental note is deposited and I order hot chocolate instead.

Or total luxury, stopping by a bakery for breakfast snacks, that’s always hot chocolate territory.

Preferably, for me anyway, not a hot chocolate packet in water.

Heh, I really have requirements and preferences for chocolate milk and hot chocolate, don’t I?

Rightfully so though.  Why mess around with stuff that’s not good?!  Life is hard enough as it is, do the good stuff as best you can, such as this Proper Hot Chocolate. 

Here in the States, most often what one finds is a mix,* a container of powdered cocoa and sugar which is fine.  It's fine.  It does the job.

I've been through many a tin or packet or what-have-you and finding one that's good, rich, warm, full of flavor, and comfort is, again for me, few and far between.

I'm not a snob, lest you get the sense that I am.  Most often flavor is lacking.  It doesn't taste very chocolate or it's too sugary or it's chalky, doesn't dissolve, tastes bland or watered down despite adding a bit extra for oomph.  

No longer.

Proper Hot Chocolate close up view
Look, I realize this might be more of a special occasion, not every day kind of hot chocolate but we all deserve a treat so if you keep a tin or packets around for other times, all good.

Now, I didn't realize what I was missing out on until heading over to Scotland and hitting up well, pretty much anywhere for a Proper Hot Chocolate.  Even a chain spot for a quick stop.  See, over here, we trade flavor and quality for convenience.

I get it.  I am not knocking or disparaging and if you love a certain type of hot chocolate packet or tin, I am excited for you to have found what you love. 

All I'm saying is there's better and this Proper Hot Chocolate is it. 

Everywhere we went there was real hot chocolate made with real chocolate or chocolate flakes or fancy contraptions or steamers or frothers or Hotel Chocolat's Velvetiser. 

Truth be told, I came real close to buying that Velvetiser but couldn't justify the price tag.  Plus my very heavy, limping suitcase, down one wheel, would have protested.  That, and I figured I could figure something out when I got home.

And I did.  It took running through several different recipes (boo hoo) but this is the best.

Proper Hot Chocolate with whipped cream in glass
Honestly, this doesn't take any extra time or effort; it's as easy as dump and heat.  Plus a little whisking.

Key to this recipe is the chocolate.  I've tried many different ones and the difference in flavor is fascinating.  Ghirardelli dark chips* were too fruity, another was dull, another too sweet.  It will take some experimenting.  Boo hoo again, right?!

Keep in mind, you're looking for a chocolate that melts and incorporates into the creamy milk well like a baking or cooking chocolate.  Currently, and I was a surprised as I bought it on a whim not expecting a lot, the dark melting chocolate from Aldi in the baking aisle is my winner to date.  To be continued, no doubt.

You can add flavorings if you'd like such as toffee (as the original recipe suggests) or spices like cinnamon too, liqueur or, dealer's choice, whatev's.  This Proper Hot Chocolate recipe is yours to play with and make your own.

I will note again, this is rich.  There's heavy cream involved.  If you prefer no heavy cream, you can try half and half though I have not tried that.  I like it rich.  If you go just all milk, note, while it should still be delicious, it will be different and of course less rich.

Proper Hot Chocolate in glass
We generally have two percent milk around the house which is obviously then what I use.  I have tried whole milk and I personally found the beverage to be too fatty of a mouthfeel but you do you.  What I have not tried is alternative milks.

Oh, one last note?  Yes, this recipe is mostly in grams and milliliters.  Don't panic.  Most every liquid measuring cup* has both cups and milliliter markings on it.  I also have a conversion calculator in the right sidebar there or just type ml to cups into Google.  Forewarned, it won't be apples to apples.

Ideally, you've got a kitchen scale* to weigh the chocolate but if not, it's a bit under a half cup.  I suggest resisting the urge to over-chocolate.  You can try it, for sure; I personally find more is not more overall.

You can scale this down for one serving or scale up for many, too.

Ready?!  I am, yum!  This is fast, simple, and takes care of itself for the most part with little effort involved.

Grab your ingredients and a medium sized sauce pan.*

ingredient prep for Proper Hot Chocolate
Toss everything into the sauce pan and plop it on the stove.  Grab a whisk* and as things slowly heat up, whisk every so often.

Once you see steam gently rising, give some sturdy yet gentle whisks to make sure all the chocolate has melted and it's well mixed together.  You could, if you wanted to go the extra mile, use an immersion blender* to aerate and extra ensure things are combined.

Done.       Yep.         Done.

finished Proper Hot Chocolate in sauce pan
Ladies and gentlemen, Proper Hot Chocolate.

Now, I will definitely encourage you to bake something up to go with this delicious beverage.  I've got those Currant Scones or feel free to bake up some cookies or a cake or something for breakfast.

Go all in and bake up those eye-poppingly delicious Cinnamon Rolls for mmm sheer decadence. 

Or don't bake, I don't judge.

Enjoy how you see fit.

Pour or ladle* this glorious hot chocolate into mugs,* top with whipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate shavings, or nothing at all and cozy up for the best hot chocolate of your life.

Proper Hot Chocolate

*The hot chocolate, Ghirardelli dark chips, liquid measuring cups, kitchen scales, sauce pans, whisks, immersion blenders, ladles, and mugs are Amazon affiliate links.  Happy baking, thanks!  Please see the "info" tab for more, well, info.

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