I like my chocolate dark and warm. Here are a few of my favorite preparations, just in time for Valentine’s day.
What passes for hot chocolate in most places is far too sweet and too watery for my tastes. I prefer a thick, rich drinking chocolate, similar to an Italian hot chocolate. My simple alternative requires only two ingredients: milk (any kind, but I prefer unsweetened soy milk) and dark chocolate (at least 60%, but I prefer 70%).
- 1/4 c. milk
- 0.7 oz. dark chocolate chips (or a bar, cut or broken into smaller pieces)
- Equipment: Small, microwave-safe mug; tiny whisk; microwave
Directions: Place milk and chocolate in mug. Microwave for 30 seconds on full power. WATCH your microwave the whole time (a clear glass mug is helpful here). Cooking times can vary, and you may need to stop it sooner to avoid it boiling over (I know from sad personal experience!). Use the whisk to thoroughly combine the milk and chocolate. I’m not sure where I got that tiny whisk, but it’s really useful!
You can play around with adding a bit more milk or a bit more chocolate to get to your preferred consistency, which is a thin pudding, suitable either for sipping or spooning.
This slightly more involved recipe for an official Italian hot chocolate is worth checking out as well, though I usually turn to my easy, microwave version.
Chocolate Cashew Pudding
This started as a search for something warm and chocolaty, but a bit more substantial than the drinking chocolate. My version is a simplified version of this recipe.
- 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews, soaked in water overnight and drained
- 1 1/2 cups warm milk (I use unsweetened soy)
- 2 T. cocoa powder mixed with 2 T. sugar
- 2-3 oz. dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- Blender or immersion blender — I found my immersion blender works better here, and clean up is easier!
If using an immersion blender, place all ingredients in a wide-mouth quart jar or place all ingredients in the jar of a regular blender. Let sit a few minutes so the warm milk can soften the chocolate. Blend until smooth.
The finished product will still have some texture to it from the cashews, so the mouth feel differs from a traditional milk-egg-cornstarch pudding. I like it!
Chocolate Chia Pudding
This was another attempt to make something more substantial than the drinking chocolate, but without the soaking step of the cashew pudding recipe. I start with the drinking chocolate recipe above, with perhaps a bit of extra milk to thin it. After whisking together the warm milk and chocolate, whisk in 2 T. of chia seeds. Let sit 5-10 minutes, whisking every once in awhile, until the chia seeds absorb some liquid.
Chocolate Peanut Butter
I’ve been making peanut butter for over a year now, and it was only a matter of time until I discovered chocolate peanut butter. If you already make peanut butter, this is really simple, basically just a matter of throwing some chocolate chips into the food processor AFTER the peanuts have been butter-fied. The residual heat from processing the peanuts melts the chocolate.
I used this recipe, with roasted, unsalted peanuts and 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips per recipe. Melty, warm, and delicious on top of toast or pancakes!
To Your Health!
With health-boosting components including antioxidants and flavonoids, dark chocolate can definitely be part of a healthy diet (check out this article for more details). A bit of high-quality dark chocolate goes a long way!
We still get a lot of our chocolate from what was Sweet Earth Chocolates (now Mama Ganache Chocolates — I liked the old name better!), because we appreciate the company’s social and environmental standards (especially in contrast to charges against other chocolate companies).
What is your favorite type of chocolate and/or favorite way to enjoy chocolate?