This recipe is brought to you courtesy of my friend Tanya.
Tanya moved to New York last year and I miss her dearly. It’s rare to find a friend who’s willing to go on almost every food adventure that you cook up, but Tanya is that person for me. We both have a sweet tooth, so we would usually end up sharing dessert at the end of the meal or walking a mile out of our way to get a slice of cake.
Tanya knows all about my love for (read: addiction to) hot chocolate, and she’s very supportive. When she sent me this recipe, we were having a few warm days in D.C. Then, today, the city decided it was winter again. So I decided to give the recipe a go.
Two warnings about this recipe: One, it makes enough to feed two people, plus another small human with half an appetite. Two, it is not very straightforward. I’ve never seen a hot chocolate recipe that involves two saucepans, but this one does. You use one pan to whisk the cocoa powder into water, creating a hot fudge-like substance. Then you use the other pan to heat up the milk, sugar and chopped chocolate. You combine everything into the latter pot, et voila. Hot chocolate, chocolat chaud…or whatever you call it.
After you take a sip, you’ll forget about the backbreaking labor. I can honestly say, without exaggeration or dramatics, that this is one of the best hot chocolates I’ve ever tasted. It’s rich and creamy but not cloyingly sweet. The chocolate flavor is there, but it’s not overwhelming or watered down. The end result is nothing short of perfection.
I would also recommend making the meringue to go on top. I almost skipped this step, because let’s be real: Who wants to wait for hot chocolate? But it’s one of the easiest things to make. All you do is mix 3 tbsp of sugar into one egg white, and let the whisk attachment on the mixer do the hard work. If you don’t have a stand mixer, it will still come together quickly with a hand mixer. I loved the thicker texture of the meringue on top of the hot chocolate.
I better stop myself before I get carried away. Here is good soundtrack for hot chocolate making. Or if French music isn’t your jam, I also highly recommend this track.
Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate (from The New York Times, with one small addition)
For the chocolate:
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 15-ounce can coconut milk
¼ cup dark brown sugar
Pinch kosher salt
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped about 1/4 cup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the meringue:
1 large egg white
3 tablespoons superfine sugar
In a small saucepan, whisk cocoa into 1/3 cup boiling water.
In a saucepan, combine coconut milk, brown sugar and salt. Simmer, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Whisk in hot cocoa and chocolate until smooth. Stir in vanilla.
In bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg white on medium speed until it begins to foam, about 1 minute. Add superfine sugar tablespoon by tablespoon as mixer is running. Beat until egg white stiffens to soft peaks and is shiny, 5 minutes. Dollop onto cups of hot chocolate. Garnish with chopped chocolate or chocolate shavings if desired.