Hot chocolate Hot chocolate Israeli Kitchen Photo: HandmadePictures/Shutterstock

How to make spicy homemade hot chocolate

This strong and dark recipe is sure to get you in a good mood.

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  • Yield: Serves 2
  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes

It's claimed that chocolate has mood-altering properties. Who am I to argue? All I know is, when it's cold and miserable outside, and I'm feeling chilly, a cup of strong, spiced chocolate picks me right up. I like it very strong, almost bitter, and dark. Spiced with cinnamon and enough chili flakes to burn the back of the throat a little, and smoothed out with vanilla. Brandy is nice but not essential. A floating island of whipped cream on top – if I’m really feeling self-indulgent. Tonight I had only 10 percent cream, which doesn’t whip up but still adds depth and richness. I added a couple of tablespoons to each cup.

It seems like a lot of trouble for a cup of hot chocolate. But part of the charm is in the ritual of carefully preparing the most delicious cup for yourself and one other lucky person. It’s like saying, “Here, take a little sweetness and fire for yourself.”

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 ounces (half a bar) of bittersweet chocolate, broken into chunks or grated
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 stick of cinnamon or 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa extra
  • Chili flakes
  • A pinch of salt
  • Optional: A dollop of brandy and a little whipped cream.

Directions

Mix the cocoa powder, sugar, salt and cornstarch together in a small pan.

Pour 1/4 cup boiling water over the dry mixture and stir until everything is dissolved and you have a smooth paste. (You can skip this step and just add the dry stuff to the hot milk in the next step, but there will be cocoa lumps.)

Put the milk, cinnamon stick and vanilla into a pot you can pour out of.

Slowly heat the milk. When you judge it to be hot – not simmering or boiling, just hot – add the 2 ounces of chocolate. Stir to dissolve.

Add the sugar/cocoa paste to the milk.

Keep stirring. When a ring of bubbles forms around the edges of the milk, turn the heat off. Remove the cinnamon stick.

Pour the chocolate into two cups.

Shake as much chili as you like onto the surface of the hot chocolate. Anywhere from just a few flakes to a lot. I like a lot.

Stir a tablespoon of brandy into the chocolate, if you want.

Whipped cream is decadent and pampering, but not crucial.

With or without brandy or whipped cream, shake a little dry cocoa into each cup.

Sit down, sip, and feel strong, like an Aztec warrior.

Related Topics: Desserts

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