In one of my first jobs in Ireland, I spotted a chocolate shop near where I worked and once I had a taste of the hot chocolate, it almost became my daily stop after finishing work and having to walk in the cold towards the train station.
If I visit a new country or city during Winter months on one of my travels, I like checking out the best places for that wonderful chocolate beverage. So far, the best I tried was in L.A. Burdick on Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA). It was such a heavenly luxurious hot chocolate, I still dream of it every now and then.
There are plenty of instant chocolate drinks out there but I do favour some proper chopped dark chocolate (I aim for a 70% cocoa content) mixed with cocoa powder to stir with the milk. And speaking of milk, I decided to make my hot chocolate with hazelnut milk. I have been quite fond of it lately, as well as unsweetened almond milk. I thought it would be great with the combination of chocolate, and it was!
I ended up with a rich and silky mixture as you can see pouring in one of the images below. A little bit of cognac in my mug for that extra 'yes, let me indulge and relax on the couch while it is so very cold outside' feeling (I somehow only think about using Cognac or brandy during the Winter months), filling up the mug with the chocolate drink and then, everything topped up by a lightly sweetened Chantilly cream with a hint of vanilla.
I feel like this is going to become a very favourite of mine. And I plan on making it for all my hot chocolate loving friends that will be visiting over the festive season.
I would love to hear about your favourite hot chocolate experience! Where was it? Was it a very simple but amazing hot chocolate or did it have things added to it?
Ingredients (for one mug of hot chocolate - multiply by as many people as you are going to serve)
300ml hazelnut milk
20g chopped dark chocolate
1 tablespoon cocoa powder (plus extra for sprinkling)
1 tablespoon caster sugar
20ml Cognac (or brandy)
whipped cream (I add a little bit of icing sugar and vanilla extract to mine to make it a chantilly cream)
1. Put the hazelnut milk, chopped dark chocolate and cocoa powder in a small saucepan over a low to medium heat. Stir well to dissolve the ingredients and cook until the hot chocolate is heated through (do not let it boil). Add sugar to your liking (I only add one tablespoon because I like the bitterness of dark chocolate) and whisk the hot chocolate until it is lightly foamy on the surface.
2. Pour the cognac in a mug (again you could skip it or add a little more - and please remember to drink alcohol responsibly), then the hot chocolate. Top it with a bit of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder et voilà!
Optional: grab your mug of hot chocolate, wrap yourself up in a warm blanket by the fire, read a good book or watch your favourite tv series and enjoy that very hyggelig moment!