Winter has arrived, which means it’s finally time to indulge in one of our favourite drinks – the dreamy hot chocolate. For us, it’s the ultimate cocoa fix crammed in a cup. So, paying homage to this humble drink – we handpick a few scrumptious ideas that’ll be sure to make yours extra special this season.
Is anything good made in an instant?
For obvious reasons, it is convenient to use an instant hot chocolate mix, where only boiling water is needed to ‘complete’ your drink, however, if you’re looking to enjoy a more authentic and luxurious hot chocolate, real chocolate is required (a shocking revelation, we know).
Seventy per cent or more dark chocolate or cocoa powder is recommended, but if you have a real sweet tooth, milk chocolate will also do.
If using chocolate squares, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water, or just little by little in a microwave and then mix with your creamy liquid of choice over a gentle heat, or combine your cocoa and milk, and warm over a medium heat, until hot. A little more effort than instant, but a lot more satisfying.
Cioccolata Calda (Hot Chocolate) is one of this world’s greatest treats, although, perhaps more likely to be consumed with a spoon and considered a dessert here in the UK. The key ingredient, that may surprise you, is cornstarch, to give the mix its rich thick texture.
Mix equal parts of cocoa powder, sugar and cornstarch in a bowl, about 2 tsp of each, then make a cream by mixing in a few drops of milk and once combined add approx. 125ml of milk. Heat on a medium heat and continually stir until is becomes your desired thickness and enjoy.
spice up your hot chocolate
If you’re looking for a different but complementary flavour to spice up your hot drink, how about trying a few of the ideas below?
1. Orange zest – a well tested and well-loved combination, Terry’s Chocolate Orange / Jaffa Cake in a cup.
2. Chilli powder – a little pinch of this, turns your hot chocolate into a warm Mayan dream.
3. A pinch of salt – With the ever-growing love of salted caramel, salt is definitely the condiment of the year. If you fancy something a little less sweet than caramel, salted chocolate is a glorious combination.
4. Marshmallow fluff – If you’re just too impatient to let your marshmallows melt then a spoonful of fluff will go down a treat.
5. Ice-cream – If your hot chocolate is just too hot, pour the drink over a scoop of ice-cream for the ultimate indulgence.
Have you tried any of these ideas? What’s your favourite hot chocolate combination? Tweet us your favourite hot choc pics @FactoryKitchen and we’ll retweet!
By Hannah Priday