Category Archives: Chocolate

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

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.

Angelina's Tearoom

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.

Angelina's tea cup

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.

Scharffen Berger bar   Valrhona bar

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

Makes about 60-70 servingsCup of hot chocolate

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

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Triple Chocolate Biscotti

Ask anyone who even barely knows me and they will agree with the statement that I am a chocolate snob.  I am especially particular about the chocolate candy I eat.  And so when I left Utah last year, I made a deal with my friend Aby.  She would send me dark chocolate lemon creams from Rebecca’s Chocolates and I would send her homemade biscotti orhomemade hot chocolate mix.  Chocolates have been sent (and eaten), so it is time for me to make biscotti.

The first batch was made on a “rare” snow day in NC – geez, I hope this is rare.  But that snow day (which turned into 3 days) also meant we couldn’t get out to go anywhere, much less the post office.  So those biscotti never left the house.

But every adversity brings benefits.  Time to make adjustments to the recipe.  I’ve made this recipe quite a bit and I still keep making improvements.

I used vanilla sugar, because we have it.  This is just a container of sugar we have added vanilla beans to.  Some of these beans have been in there a while.  I added two more yesterday from the last batch of Kahlua we made.  When we removed the beans from the vodka, we just let them dry on the counter, then added them to the sugar.

Baked logs

Every chocolate recipe benefits from the addition of espresso powder.  It enhances the chocolate flavor without out tasting like coffee.  To bloom the powder I mixed it with a teaspoon of our homemade Kahlua.

And of course, use the best cocoa you can find.  I have been using Valrhona cocoa for several years now and will never go back.  Sur la Table has it in NC but as a last resort, there’s always Amazon.  The difference is readily apparent – even in the raw dough.

Baked dough

The second chocolate is the chocolate chips.  I usually just chop up some good chocolate bars (Sharffen Berger or Valrhona) but this time I used Trader Joe’s dark chocolate chips.  Even so I roughly chopped them.

The triple chocolate is the bittersweet chocolate the biscotti are dipped in or drizzled with at the end.  Now all you need is a good cup of coffee!

I always love when a recipe (especially with chocolate) says it will keep in the freezer for up to a month.  Yeah, if you hide it at the bottom and label it “lima beans” it might.

I’m off to the post office tomorrow!  Aby, biscotti are on their way.

Triple Chocolate Biscotti

2 cup all-purpose flour (I use pastry flour)Triple Chocolate Biscotti
½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons espresso power
1 teaspoon Kahlua

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup vanilla sugar
2 large eggs

1 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips, roughly chopped

Topping:
½ cup extra dark chocolate chips
7 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (Scharffen Berger 62% cacao)

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

In a bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Dissolve espresso powder in Kahlua.  Set aside.

In bowl of electric mixer with paddle attachment, beat together butter, and vanilla sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until combined well. Add Kahlua mixture.  Stir in flour mixture to form a stiff dough. Stir in almonds and chocolate chips until well blended.

On prepared baking sheet with floured hands form dough into two slightly flattened logs, each 12 inches long and 2 inches wide.

Bake logs 35 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch. Cool biscotti on baking sheet 5 minutes.

On a cutting board cut biscotti diagonally into 3/4-inch slices. Arrange biscotti, cut side down, on baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove to a rack and cool.

Melt bittersweet chocolate and dip one side of each biscotti or drizzle over.  Return to cooling rack until chocolate hardens.  Biscotti will keep in airtight containers 1 week and frozen, 1 month.

Adapted from Epicurious.com.