Several years ago my sister and I spent two weeks in Paris (sigh!). Absolutely everyone one we talked to said we had to visit Angelina’s Tearoom and have hot chocolate. And so, on a sunny fall day when we had left the Louvre, we strolled down to 226 rue de Rivoli to Angelina’s.
When you enter the Tearoom, you go by the bakery case. This is a good opportunity to see which pastry you might want to order. Oh, dear, such delicious looking choices. We sat down and ordered hot chocolate, a dark chocolate éclair and a lemon bar.
And boy were they right. Their hot chocolate is like drinking a chocolate bar. A really good chocolate bar. Topped with whipped cream.
After we came home I wanted to re-create this hot chocolate, and recipes for Angelina’s hot chocolate are everywhere. But most of these require you to have heavy cream and lots of chocolate bars on hand. That’s OK for a special occasion, but I wanted something I could keep on hand – a mix.
Hot chocolate recipes abound on the internet. Some say it doesn’t matter what kind of chocolate you use (I beg to differ) and others either add powdered milk or make their mix with water. No, not what I’m looking for. And I believe you should use the best ingredients you can. I once heard Mario Batali say that the quality of your meal is fixed once you buy your ingredients.
I use Valrhona cocoa and the best chocolate I can find. Sometimes it is Scharffen Berger baking bars, sometimes Valrhona bars from Trader Joe’s. Use whatever kind you like – but the darker, the better. And try to avoid using chocolate chips. Manufacturers must add other ingredients to make the chips hold their shape – you don’t want that in your food.
After much research and a couple of test recipes, I have one I love. Make it with any kind of milk and I guarantee you will love it, too.
This also makes a great gift. This recipe makes a LARGE quantity of mix so you’ll still have plenty left over for yourself after you give lots away. Just put in a jar and attach a label with instructions on how to prepare.
Next, I think I need to test homemade Kahlua marshmallow – a recipe for another day.
Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix
2 vanilla beans
4 c granulated sugar
1 ½ lbs. dark chocolate (72% cacao), coarsely chopped
9 oz. bittersweet chocolate (80% cacao), coarsely chopped
2 c cocoa
3 T instant espresso powder
Split and scrape vanilla beans and place in a large bowl or jar with the sugar. Work seeds into the sugar with your fingers and bury pods under sugar. Cover tightly and let stand overnight (or up to months –vanilla sugar keeps forever) at room temperature.
In a food processor fitted with metal blade, process semisweet chocolate and dark chocolate until finely ground, using 4-second pulses. Chop chocolate by hand first if in large blocks. Process in batches, if necessary. (I added some of the sugar to the chocolate to help break it down.)
Remove vanilla pods from sugar. Add ground chocolate, cocoa powder and espresso powder to sugar and whisk to blend, making sure to combine well.
Store mix airtight at room temperature for up to six months.
To serve, whisk two heaping Tablespoons of mix with 8 oz. of milk and heat until steaming (about 180˚) over medium heat.
Adapted from Confessions of a Foodie Bride