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Liquid Decadence (Bittersweet Hot Chocolate)

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Liquid Decadence (Bittersweet Hot Chocolate)

Yield: Generous 2 cups, 4 to 6 servings

Tips: Once you look at the ingredient list, the name doesn't require much explanation! This is a thickish drink with a great depth of chocolate flavor. The sweetness, smoothness, and viscosity of this will depend largely on the chocolate you use; I made this both with Droste and Merckens bittersweet, and the difference was amazing. The Droste hot chocolate was so thick I had to add a bit of additional hot milk to achieve a drinking consistency; it was also rather sweeter. Whatever you use for chocolate, please make it the best quality you can find. If you like, you can substitute semisweet chocolate for part of the bittersweet, but recognize that this is not meant to be a particularly sweet beverage, so adults will probably like it more than kids will. Do not substitute milk for the heavy cream; the end product will not be smooth, even when a food processor is used.

Equipment: You'll need a food processor, a heat-resistant spatula, and a fine-mesh strainer to make this, but once made it will keep for a day or two in the refrigerator. It occurs to me that a small amount of liqueur, put in just before serving, might be a nice addition, but I haven't tried that. Lightly sweetened whipped cream is not absolutely mandatory with this, but it does improve it wonderfully. This MUST be served in small portions, so you'll need mugs that are not enormous (a 6 ounce mug, filled 2/3 full and garnished with whipped cream, should be a maximum serving).


  • 8 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate (part semisweet, if desired), chopped
  • 1/2 ounce best-quality unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • Few grains salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

Optional For Serving:

  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream

Near the stovetop, set a fine-mesh strainer over a heatproof small pitcher or liquid measuring cup of at least 2-1/2 cup capacity. In workbowl of food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine chopped chocolates and salt. Cover; process at high speed until chocolate is very finely chopped.

In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat cream over low heat, stirring occasionally, until cream comes to a simmer. Remove from heat. Pour in a thin stream over chocolate in workbowl. Let stand about 30 seconds, then cover and process at high speed for 10 seconds. Remove cover; scrape down the sides of workbowl and blade with spatula. Cover; process 10 seconds longer, or mixture is perfectly smooth. Scrape this mixture into a 1 quart, heavy-bottomed, non-aluminum saucepan.

In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat milk over low heat, stirring occasionally, until very hot. Remove from heat. Off heat, gradually add hot milk to chocolate mixture, stirring it in with a small whisk. When all milk has been added, scrape pot bottom and sides with rubber spatula, and set pot over medium-low heat.

Stir constantly (no need to beat vigorously, just stir) with whisk, scraping pot bottom and sides occasionally with rubber spatula. Cook and stir, making sure to get into "corners" of pot, until mixture just comes to a boil. There may be a layer of foam on top--OK. Boil and stir for 30 seconds; remove from heat.

Quickly pour through strainer into pitcher or measuring cup. There will be a thick layer of chocolate mixture left on the bottom of the pot. If you were careful about stirring so that the layer didn't burn, this can be scraped into the strainer and forced through with a spoon or spatula. If necessary, whisk the strained hot chocolate briefly to combine. Serve small portions immediately, preferably with lightly sweetened whipped cream, or cool briefly, then chill (covering tightly when cold) for up to a day or two.

To reheat: Reheat only as much as you'll drink at any given time. Scrape cold mixture into small, heavy-bottomed, non-aluminum saucepan. Set over low heat; stir constantly until just steaming. Alternatively, heat in microwaveable container in microwave oven at 50% (medium) power for short intervals, stirring well after each, until just steaming hot. Serve immediately.

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