A Candyland of Cocoa

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*.

The “Classic”

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.

Spiced Cocoa

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.

The Seductress

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. 

*Recipes provided upon publication agreement. For more information email Jacqueline@WordsFoodArt.com