I feel like I've been a prisoner in my own home for the last week. Snow, snow, snow. You can only have so many snow days before you start to lose it a little. So I search for something to life my spirits. And nothing goes with snow quite like a good hot chocolate....which becomes the highlight of my snow days. Typically I serve my small children Swiss Miss. They love it, me..not so much. But it's warm and tastes somewhat like chocolate, so I just do it. But I had my last cup two days ago, there's no going back after Pierre's hot chocolate....
So yesterday while the snow was literally piling up outside, the kids were in bed, my husband was on the road trying to get home, I decided to make myself some real European hot chocolate. Anyone who's been to a café in Paris and ordered a "chocolat viennois" knows what I'm talking about...their hot chocolate is so rich, so decadent, you feel it from your head to your toes. The tastes almost come in layers, with a great punch of chocolate at the end. So I pulled out Pierre Hermé's "Chocolate Desserts" book and made his very simple "Classic Hot Chocolate".
One sip made me want to break out one of those Madeleines I made a few weeks ago. This sip took me right back to a little café on the Ile St. Louis in Paris, where they make the best and richest hot chocolate you'd ever drink. I never knew their secret, but it's one of those "must visits" when I'm in Paris, summer or winter. Turns out, their secret is just good, real chocolate. Not powder, but real dark chocolate. I never knew...it's as easy as that. Pierre's recipe proves it.
I might make another tonight...It's full of anti-oxidants, so they say!
Classic Hot Chocolate
(serves 2...I made 1/2 the recipe for one serving)
2 cups whole milk (I used skim, but I know whole would have been soooo much more sinful)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar (I found it a bit too sweet. Next time I will omit the sugar and add it at the end if necessary)
4 ounces melted bittersweet chocolate (NOT CHIPS)....a good chocolate like Valrhona would be best ( I didn't pre-melt mine, I just chopped it and let it melt in the milk)
Bring the milk, water and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the chocolate and stir with a whisk until it combines. Pull the saucepan from the heat and whip for about one minute with an immersion blender or in a regular blender. Serve immediately in large cups, or you can refrigerate it for two days, covered tightly.