EDITOR’s NOTE: This is a wonderful way to spice up your hot chocolate. See our article, on spicing up a chocolate fondue for a spicy truffle melt party.
Says chocolatier Michael Recchiuti, “Like most Americans, I was raised on sweet, creamy hot chocolate (we called it cocoa) topped with mini marshmallows. But ever since I got my hands on that first cup of the European version—made with water instead of milk—I’ve never craved the hot chocolate of my youth. I think this is the best way experience the pure flavor of superior chocolate.
“At my store in San Francisco we occasionally have Hot Chocolate Nights where I serve our European-style Dark Hot Chocolate. We offer customers the chance to choose their own flavorings and garnishes like pasilla chile powder, cinnamon, Burnt Caramel Sauce, fresh Marshmallows and crème fraîche. My personal favorite is fresh ground nutmeg, but we’ve had a huge response from the chiles. I always use chile sparingly so it blows my mind when I see people putting heaping teaspoons into their demitasse-sized cups. It’s really fun to watch people experiment but it’s also taught me a lot about what folks are into. Those nights and all those experimental folks inspired this recipe.
“I start with a basic version of European Hot Chocolate—just chocolate pistoles [disks of chocolate] and hot water. Then it’s up to the individual imbiber to choose their destiny. My favorite combination is hot chocolate with a shot of single malt scotch or a generous pinch of nutmeg with a dollop of loose whipped cream. I’ve listed just a few suggestions but I encourage you to follow your palate, explore, experiment and have fun.
Yields: 2 servings
- 6 ounces Dark Hot Chocolate pistoles*
- 6 ounces water, boiling
- Flavorings (choose one)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon pasilla chile powder
- Spirits (choose one):
1-1/2 ounces single malt scotch
1-1/2 ounces eau de vie
1-1/2 ounces apple brandy
- Garnishes (choose one):
Loose whipped cream
Crème fraîche flavored with vanilla
Recchiuti Vanilla Bean Marshmallows*
*Purchase at Recchiuti.com under “Specialty Confections”
- In a small saucepan, pour the boiling water over the chocolate pistoles. Add any flavorings or spirits to the mixture now. The amounts listed are recommendations only: You can use as much, as little or any combination to suit your tastes.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, pecans, butter and 1/3 cup sugar; stir until blended. Pat the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Pressing the crust just up the side of the pan, create a slight ridge.
- Using an immersion blender, mix until the chocolate pistoles have completely melted and a foamy froth has developed. You may also use a whisk, but the hot chocolate will not be as frothy.
- Pour into serving cups and garnish.
You can double, triple or quadruple this recipe if you’re entertaining a large group. Simply make the hot chocolate base and keep it warm in a double boiler. For a super-fast, super-frothy individual serving, use the steam wand on an espresso maker.
Rather than making it with milk, try the European way to a rich, creamy cup of hot chocolate by stirring in a dollop of loose whipped cream.
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Recipe and introduction copyright Michael Recchiuti. Additional material © copyright 2005-
2013 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. Photos are the copyright of their respective owners.