Feb 27, 2006

Simply Luscious Hot Chocolate—Easy and Fast

Tired of kiddy-style, overly sweet hot chocolate? Nothing yummy about those icky mixes. You can make your own easily and scrumptiously with milk, powdered cocoa, vanilla extract, turbinado sugar, and maybe a dash of cayenne pepper—and I recommend you do so. But here's another exciting twist—one you may not have thought of that could take on obsession status.

First, you need to have either baking chocolate or a bar of high-quality bittersweet chocolate on hand. We are lucky to have a Trader Joe's nearby, where they stock fabulous 72% cacao Belgian chocolate bars in the pound-plus size for about $4. Take two squares of bittersweet chocolate and drop them in a cup of milk. No wait—trust me on this. Stick your cup in the microwave and zap for two to two-and-a-half minutes (checking to make sure it does not bubble over). Stir thoroughly when you remove it to finish dissolving all the melted chocolate into the milk. What's surprising is that it does dissolve and turns into a thick, irresistable treat (though not a low-calorie one).

If melted chocolate hot chocolate doesn't provide comfort on a chilly morning, I don't expect anything will. Why is this hot chocolate so great? First of all, it's not too sweet. Less sweet is far more tantalizing—it's like a flirtation rather than an all-on assault. Secondly, the fat, yes—the fat—makes it satisfying and delicious ("Talk about your childhood wishes/You could even eat the dishes"). For a slightly sweeter variation, put in one square of milk chocolate and one square of bittersweet. This version of hot chocolate is one of those things that's so simple and so great, it's a "why didn't I think of that" delight. Enjoy!

Breaking news:

Don't Worry, Be Happy and Drink Lots of Cocoa

Men who are happy and drink cocoa often are found to live longer, Dutch study shows.

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