I like my hot chocolate rich but not too thick, dark but not bitter, silky smooth and slightly sweet.  High-quality ingredients are of the utmost importance here.  I use dutch-processed cocoa, which dissolves easily and has a lovely mahogany color.  If you can find a high fat version, so much the better.  And the chocolate you like best to eat will be the one you want to drink — velvety, mellow Callebaut and El Rey (around 60% cacao)  are my favorites.  If you prefer a fruity, acidic chocolate, try Valrhona or Scharffen Berger.

Perfect Hot Chocolate

Yield:  2 servings

1 1/2 c. whole milk

1 tbsp. granulated sugar (or light brown is nice, too)

1 tbsp. dutch-processed cocoa powder

1 oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped

Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add sugar and cocoa powder, stirring with a whisk to dissolve.  When hot and steaming, remove pan from heat and whisk in chocolate.

hotchocolate3To make hot chocolate mix, combine 1/2 c. sugar, 1/2 c. cocoa powder, and 8 oz. chopped chocolate in a food processor and pulse until chocolate is very finely chopped and mixture looks fairly uniform.  Be careful not to run to the processor continuously for too long — the heat from the machine can melt the chocolate.    To serve, vigorously whisk a heaping spoonful or two into 6 ounces of hot milk.