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Drinking Chocolate

Steaming hot, bittersweet, and rich beyond the dreams of avarice. A few years ago, I developed a Liquid Decadence drinking chocolate, but I think this is better. You will need a one quart, heavy-bottomed, nonaluminum pot, a small whisk, and a heat-resistant rubber spatula to make this.

It is imperative that you use best-quality chocolate here; the supermarket stuff simply won’t do!  Playing with the flavor of this is a simple matter; you can add a bit more sugar (I prefer to use superfine sugar in this recipe, but for such a small quantity I’m not sure it makes a difference), or add 1 to 2 teaspoons of a sweet liqueur (such as dark rum or Grand Marnier), adding it with the vanilla. Incidentally, don’t omit the salt here. You use a tiny quantity, but without it the drink will taste flat. Lightly sweetened whipped cream isn’t mandatory as a garnish, but it cuts the richness and adds to the elegance.

4 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1 ounce best-quality unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 to 2 tsps. superfine OR granulated sugar
Few grains of salt
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Additional sugar
Small amount of a sweet liqueur

Lightly sweetened whipped cream

In bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade, combine both chocolates, sugar, and salt. Cover; process at high speed just until chocolates are finely ground. (Alternatively, finely chop both chocolates, then combine with sugar and salt.) Set aside near stovetop.

In a one-quart, heavy-bottomed, nonaluminum saucepan, heat milk over low heat, stirring often with small whisk, until it is steaming hot. Carefully add chopped chocolate mixture (don’t let the hot milk splash you as you do this!).

Continue cooking mixture over low heat, stirring almost constantly with whisk and scraping bottom and sides of pot with rubber spatula frequently. Mixture will steam for several minutes before coming to a boil, and as temperature increases it will thicken slightly. When mixture achieves a simmer, continue cooking and stirring for 30 to 45 seconds, reducing heat if mixture boils.

Remove from heat; whisk in vanilla and either optional ingredient, if desired. Divide among small mugs, top with whipped cream, and serve immediately. 1-1/2 cups; at least 2 to 3 servings

Note: If you have leftovers, cool briefly, then chill, covering tightly when cold. This will last for a day or three in the fridge. To reheat, make sure your mug is microwaveable. Heat in microwave at 50% (medium) power for short intervals, stirring well after each, just until mixture is very hot.

© Stephanie Zonis

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