In my adult quest I’ve never found the “perfect” recipe for hot chocolate.
Instead, I’ve found several.
From celebrated chefs I’ve gleamed tricks that make that relatively simple combination – chocolate and milk – into something almost magical, like the hot cocoas I’d daydream about as a child during frigid New England winters. A far cry from shaking out the contents of a packet into a plastic mug of warm water, these recipes elevate the cocoa concept: hand-blending emulsifies the chocolate and milk so completely you’d questions that one had ever existed without the other; replacing the majority of milk with dark beer transforms classic cocoa into a potent adult cocktail; a bit of infused spice adds layers of warmth; a balanced ration of milk, cream and milk chocolate brings Candyland to life.
Here, four celebrates chefs share their personal recipes for the perfect hot chocolate*.
Tim Nugent creates a classic hot cocoa, a rich and balanced combination of Valrhona milk chocolate and half-and-half. He is the Executive Pastry Chef at Scala’s Bistro in the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, San Francisco.
Lori Erlitz, co-owner and manager of Beaner Bar in Brooklyn, NY, adds a bit of spice to Mexican chocolate for her smoky, warming cocoa.
Johnny Iuzzini, James Beard award winner for Outstanding Pastry Chef and former pastry chef to Jean-Georges, layers a coconut milk chocolate foam over his coriander-infused cocoa, perfect for sharing fireside.
Hot Cocoa – All Grown Up
James Beard nominated Michelle Gayer is the Executive Pastry Chef at the Salty Tart Bakery in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her stout and dark chocolate combination packs a potent punch with a biting sweetness.