Hello all and welcome to another round of Fantastic Feasts and Where to Find Them! As I promised last week I am hoping to recreate some of the special hot beverages featured in two of my favorite childhood books: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and Harry Potter. This week, we’re going into the wardrobe to take a look at how to make homemade hot chocolate, fit enough for a queen.
Hot chocolate has an interesting history. Thanks to a project I had to do for my British Literature class, I’ve learned a lot about hot chocolate and well, hot chocolate culture. This can be summarized as follows:
- Chocolate, like coffee, was part of saloon culture. You know, a bunch of guys sitting around sipping at coffee and talking about philosophy.
- Chocolate was an indulgence, favorite of the uppercrust – but that’s kind of obvious
- Chocolate was believed to be a detrimental drug, especially for women. It made them go into hysterics and vapors and basically altered their mental state, so women shouldn’t drink it. Or, well it was blamed for a lot of mental problems with women.
So. Hot chocolate is a decadent, mind altering beverage, that seems to have a profound affect on women that drives them mad… Hm. Seems like it has something to do with our dear ice queen, Jadis, over here:
Tempting small children with luxurious chocolate to sell out their siblings for the promise of a kingdom… Tempting them with a good, silky smooth hot chocolate made fresh and not with the stale particle cocoa mix; it’s the sort of exquisite madness of a true villain.
But you know, I might just sell out my brother to the metaphorical devil-woman for a very good cup of cocoa BU
Luckily, you won’t have to go to such extreme lengths or through a portal in a wardrobe to get a good cup of cocoa. In fact, it can be easily made at home, in as little as five minutes and with a little bit of arm muscle. Seriously, that’s all you need!
Oh and, while we’re on the topic, what makes good hot chocolate stand out from the cocoa mixes is, is the quality of the ingredients. I mean, I love Hershey’s chocolate as much as the next person, but for this recipe… Let’s look for chocolate that’s a little better. A handy guide to knowing your chocolate can be found here, but in general some good kinds of cocoa to go with for making truly decadent desserts would be: Valrhona, Ghirardelli, and Scharffenberger. But, you do not have to go out of your way to buy the most expensive chocolate ever — just something that you like and know is tasty.
Procedure: Okay, this recipe is very adaptable, so um, yes, we are going with um, not standard measurements. We’re going with guesstimates.
Some milk chocolate
Some dark chocolate
3-4 Cups whole milk or half and half
A pinch of salt
Optional: A bit of vanilla
As mentioned above, hot chocolate is distinguished by the use of quality chocolate but the actual process of making great hot chocolate is… well, it’s really kind of simple.
Let’s start by preparing your chocolate bits, you may have bars to deal with or pieces that easily melt into the milk. Definitely break up your bar bits of chocolate into manageable, smaller pieces; no need to be fancy and make chocolate shavings or pulverize ‘em into bits, but definitely break them up to facilitate easier melting!
Now let’s heat up our pot and pour the milk into the pan. Then we’ll add in our chocolate pieces and, with a whisk, stir it all gently and keep stirring to melt it all down. And that’s it! You can walk away even and stir occasionally if you can’t watch it all melt down, but basically you want to gently heat, melt, and stir your chocolate and milk until they are incorporated.
Make sure you taste your hot chocolate as you go, to see if you might need more chocolate pieces, or more milk, and don’t forget the small pinch of salt to round out the flavor.
Serve immediately, and I advise you finish it the day of to avoid any spoiled milk or having to deal with the funny skin that forms on heated milk.
You can top it off with a dollop of whipped cream and maybe even some marshmallows too for extra indulgence too.
Now, sit back with your cup of hot chocolate—along with a good book, maybe one specifically about metaphorical lions and the triumph of good over evil—and enjoy~
Keep an eye out next week when we leave Narnia to head to Hogsmeade and have a round of hot butterbeer !