This is a wonderful winter-spiced Hot Chocolate Drink for Christmas, (to share with family and friends) and for your efforts you will be transported to a little piece of heaven. Warning: this Hot Chocolate may be seriously addictive. To achieve the best results use the best quality drinking chocolate powder (cocoa) and the best quality dark chocolate you can. All you then have to decide on is what your favourite alcoholic liqueur or spirit is – either an orange liqueur, to compliment the orange zest, or a dark rum, brandy, or whisky, (or even a coffee or cherry liqueur) all these go really well in this Hot Chocolate Drink.
It was in the Netherlands, in 1828, that Coenraad Johannes van Houten developed the first cocoa powder producing machine. This press was able to separate the cocoa butter from cacao seeds, leaving a purer and less fattening chocolate powder behind. It was found that this first chocolate powder, (still very much like the best quality cocoa powder used today) was much easier to stir into hot milk and water than the grated pieces from a solid bar of chocolate, which had been the way to make ‘chocolate’, a traditional Hot Chocolate Drink before then.
Christmas Hot Chocolate Drink Recipe
This makes 2 large cups (adjust the ratios up or down to make more or less of this drink) – one of the best ways to know how much milk you are going to need is to fill one of the cups you are using to about 3cm below the rim and pour it into the saucepan.
- 500ml whole fat milk
- 30g sugar
- 1 tbsp best quality cocoa powder (drinking chocolate)
- 50g of best quality dark chocolate (min 70%) broken into small chunks
- 2 large strips of fresh orange peel (zest only, avoid the white pith)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 100ml double (thick or heavy) cream
- 50ml Liqueur or Spirit – Cointreau / or Rum / or Brandy etc.
- 1 tbsp icing sugar (powdered sugar)
- 10g grated dark chocolate, for garnish
- a small grating of fresh nutmeg for garnish
- Brandy Snaps, for garnish (bought or see recipe and method to make your own)
In a heavy-based saucepan, over a medium heat, whisk together the milk, sugar and cocoa powder (drinking chocolate) until smooth. It is better to use a whisk than a spoon to stir at this point. After simmering for a few minutes add in the chunks of best quality chocolate, cinnamon sticks, vanilla extract, orange peel, and simmer, stirring frequently, to dissolve the chocolate and to stop it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the chocolate chunks are melted and everything is smooth – then remove from the heat and add 50ml of your chosen alcoholic spirit or liqueur, (Cointreau, Rum or Brandy etc.) stir and then let steep for 10 minutes.
After ten minutes remove the 2 orange peel and 1 cinnamon stick. Put the melted hot chocolate back on a very low gentle heat to warm through while you whip the cream.
In a medium sized mixing bowl whip the cream with 1 tbsp of icing sugar (powdered sugar) until thick and frothy, and peaks form. Set aside.
Pour the hot chocolate mixture into cups or small mugs and top each with a dollop of the sweetened whipped cream, sprinkle with some grated chocolate and grated nutmeg. Serve with a rolled up brandy snap (resembling a cinnamon stick) or two on the side.