When the weather outside is frightful, why not make the indoors more delightful with a steamy, creamy, dreamy cup of haute chocolate?
|Splendid Haute Cocoa|
To make a splendid cup of haute cocoa, just take the high road and bypass those sugary packets of powders!
There are many superb brands of high quality chocolate bars widely available in the market these days ~ Guittard, Scharffen Berger and Valrhona are three that are frequently seen.
My favorite chocolate is the Belgium chocolate made by Callebaut, or Cacao Barry (their French division). In my Starbucks days, this was my brand of choice for Chocolatiers making products for our stores.
One of the great olfactory pleasures of my job were the times when I was able to hold a simple cocoa bean, I loved the way my hands smelled afterwards -- the oils left behind an incredible rich, lush, earthy perfume which stayed for hours. I find that when I taste Callebaut chocolate I can taste and smell that true earthy, cocoa essence of the bean. Here is what cocoa beans look like -- I used to keep some on my desk!
|Photo courtesy of Gourmet Sleuth|
In case you're curious, here is an image of some ripe cocoa pods, the white lumps in the center are the cocoa beans in their raw form.
|Photo courtesy of Howstuffworks.com|
Callebaut chocolate is somewhat hard to find under their brand name (their chocolate is primarily used by chefs and repackaged by other brands). I've seen it occasionally in large bars at cooking stores, and I've found it sold in bulk chunks at Whole Foods.
I strongly suspect that the chocolate in the "Pound Plus" bars from Trader Joe's (Imported from Belgium) are Callebaut -- if not, it's the next best thing. This is the chocolate I like to keep on hand (dark, milk and 72% dark). I know one of our readers out there who may be able to confirm this theory for us...
Of course, this chocolate makes a marvelous mug of Haute Cocoa. The formula below makes a nice, mild chocolate drink. Feel free to add more chocolate for a thicker and more intensely flavored drink. In the great chocolate houses of Paris they serve hot chocolate so thick that sometimes I am not sure if I should drink it or eat it with a knife and fork!!
Here's how to make Splendid Haute Cocoa:
For each mug, put about an ounce of chocolate into a suitable sized saucepan (I use 3 squares of the Trader Joe's dark chocolate which is actually 1.3 ounces).
Turn the heat to the lowest setting and allow the chocolate to melt slowly. Swirl the chocolate around as it melts to make sure it isn't getting scorched on the bottom.
When the chocolate is melted most of the way add one and a half cups of milk to the pan. Use a whisk to mix the chocolate and milk together until the beverage is smooth and consistently colored.
That's it, you're done ~ pour it into a mug and enjoy the true flavor of cocoa.
If the weather is really frightful, feel free to add a little splash of brandy to your cocoa for a real treat!!
For a printable version of this recipe, click on the foodista button below: