Thursday 18 October 2012

The Secrets of the Perfect Hot Chocolate

It's autumn which I love most of the time.  I took the photo above when I got up very early one morning and couldn't resist hauling the camera through the damp, dew-soaked grass to look at the sun pouring through the branches.  It was cold and my breath misted and I love it.

But sometimes, autumn can feel a bit snivelly.  A big shout out to all my fellow cold-sufferers!  The usual round of autumn snuffles are going around and I have succumbed.  So I need reminding that autumn isn't all about dark nights, darker mornings and noses.

And that's where the hot chocolate comes it.  It's my own recipe that I made over and over again in my first year teaching when I would totter in, exhausted after a long day and curl up for half an hour to myself with a teacup full of delicious chocolate silk.  Yum!  I made it so many times that I perfected it to my own taste and I made it today for the first time this autumn.  I felt the need.

If you'd care to join me in a cup, here's the recipe.  The quantities are not exact but I think making really lovely hot chocolate is about catering to your own indulgence as much as anything.  And this isn't the quick, instant, whack-in-the-microwave kind of chocolate, but it is the baby-it's-cold-outside kind.  I hope you like it :D

You will need...
1 tsp cocoa powder (the real stuff for proper flavour)
A  couple of squares of Chocolate
Vanilla Extract
1 tsp cornflour
Marshmallows of the mini variety (absolutely not optional)
White Chocolate (ditto)
Glitter.  Of the edible variety.  If you absolutely have to, you can miss this out.

I always make mine in a teacup because this stuff is thick and filling and wondrously sweet and believe me, you won't want a whole mugful.  I fill the teacup about three quarters full of milk and then tip a little of it into a small pan.  I whisk the cocoa powder into this to form a paste and then tip in most of the remaining milk.  Whisk it together and let it warm gently on the hob over a low heat.  

Meanwhile, stir the cornflour into the last dribble of milk until it forms a paste.

Once the milky cocoa mixture is hot, chuck in the chocolate and take it off the heat.  The heat of the milk will melt the chocolate and after a couple of minutes, give it a stir to make sure all the chocolate is combined.  The smaller your squares of chocolate, the quicker this will be.

Add a pinch of ground cinnamon and a drop of vanilla to flavour and then stir in the cornflour paste.  Return the whole lot to the hob and heat gently, stirring occasionally.  The cornflour will cause the hot chocolate to thicken as it starts to boil.  Keep stirring to avoid it all sticking to the bottom of the pan.

When it's piping hot and thickened up a bit, it's ready.  Now for the important bit.

Put the marshmallows in the bottom of your cup and pour the steaming hot chocolate over them.  That way, they melt properly, going all gooey on the inside, and each one will develop a little halo of lovely smooth meltyness.  They will bob to the top and then I sprinkle on little chunks of white chocolate and top with edible glitter.

You'll need a spoon.  I'm just saying.

Kissses xxx

P.S. Make someone else do the washing up.


  1. Oh my goodness...this sounds seriously amazing - the perfect autumnal pick-me-up, like a hug in a cup! Love the idea of pouring the chocolate over the marshmallows to make them even gooeyer (that SO should be a word). I cannot wait to make it this weekend! Also, your early morning sunny picture is stunning :D

  2. This sounds absolutely is your photo.

  3. Will be trying this this half term an dhope you make us all some in March ;-). DD likes the small marshmallows with gooey jammy centres in her hot chocolate. I think I'd have to leave out the cinnamon for her.

  4. Sounds amazing - but I'm struggling to even make a cup of tea at the moment so I think I'll have to wait till I can properly stand on 2 feet again!!

    PS I always make someone else do the washing up...

  5. looks wonderful - think i'll give it a try with the boys...then again maybe i'll wait until they are in bed, more marshmellows for me :)

    love your autumnal photo x

  6. Yum, that looks delicious, it's horlicks here tonight, I think it might be chocolate tomorrow :)

    Stunning, stunning photo.

  7. Wow that sounds completely yummy and really selfish...Just what the doctor ordered for all we cold afflicted beings! X

  8. Mmmmmmmmmmmm, sounds a tasty treat for when the kids come in from school .... or when the OH is working late (for me of course, he'll be at work ;)

  9. That sounds amazing, will definitely be giving this one a go!

  10. Now that's what I call hot chocolate...sounds FAB!,
    Alison xx

  11. i sat with my friends this afternoon in street starbucks. my friend loves hot chocolate and her perfect cupful is a four shot of chocolate mug filled 3/4 full then 1/4 full of whipped cream, it is amazing to watch her drink it,
    jo xxx

  12. I feel as though I need to try this right now - at 12.23 in the middle of the day - how yummy!