My best hot chocolate

Hot cocoa recipe

Let’s talk hot chocolate for a few minutes.

I think I said it before, but I’ll say it again – there is nothing wrong with prefab hot cocoa like Swiss Miss when you’re in places like Sälen or any other ski-resort, smeared with sunblock like a movie from the 80’s and air is filled with the scent of bratwursts from the bbq a little further up the hill. Or in a morning like today – summer but with a heavy rain pouring down on us.

It tastes good and it’s warm. It fills it’s purpose.

But, having said that, it’s not the yummiest of cocoas. I might be warm and high on sugar, but I’m not happy and chocolate is supposed to make you happy.

To offer someone a prefab cocoa mix is always a gamble. But when you hand them a cup of home-made hot chocolate, with a dollop of whipped cream and a scent that fills the entire room it’s powerful enough to stop a war   (some might disagree but all I can say about that is – you should appreciate the fact that I’m not a king, with thousands of soldiers at my command, being served a so-so hot cocoa on an autumn day when I was already a little grumpy and just maybe in the mood of an afternoon of bloodshed).

If you look at the table of contents for a random brand (it’s basically the same in UK, Sweden or the US) this is what you’ll find:
Sugar, Cocoa, Dried whey, Glucose syrup, Vegetable oil, Dried skimmed milk, Milk chocolate (4%) (Milk, Sugar, Cocoa butter, Cocoa mass, Vegetable fat, Emulsifier (E442), Flavourings), Dried glucose syrup, Salt, Thickener (E466), Milk proteins, Anti-caking agent (E551), Emulsifier (E471), Stabiliser (E339), Flavourings

There’s a lot that upsets me there, but what really pushes me over the edge is Flavourings. Seriously, when there’s so little of the good stuff in a mix that there has to be artificial flavourings added, you are abusing your taste buds.

So how do you make that mouth watering, thick and creamy yet not too sweet cup of hot cocoa? That appeals to the grown up taste, really smells of cocoa but still works for a younger audience (read: picky toddlers)? That actually contain chocolate?

I tell you what – try this recipe. Fill up a cup, locks yourself out on the porch with a large blanket wrapped around you during a rainy afternoon. Ignore the cliche and bring a book, a couple of candles and then, when you’re listening to the rain, take a sip of this.

Hot chocolate

Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1

  • 200 g milk (I prefer whole milk)
  • 30 g chocolate (think 70% cacao and really tasty like Valrhona)
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 pinches freshly grounded cardamom
  • 100 g whipped cream
  • Cinnamon to taste
  1. Heat the milk, but don’t let it start to boil.
  2. Place the chocolate, sugar and cardamom in a cup. Pour the hot milk over. Stir slowly until.
  3. Add a nice dollop of cream and sprinkle a little cinnamon on top.
  4. Enjoy while hot.