AMERICAN HOT CHOCOLATE (for two to four)
“Most hot chocolate falls into one of two groups. There is the thick more-pudding-than-drink variety you find in Europe… and there is American hot chocolate, which is more like a watered down latte… One of the major differences between the two styles is that American hot chocolate is made with cocoa and most fine European hot chocolate is based on melted bar chocolate.” Amanda Hesser
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon best quality unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup plus ½ teaspoon raw sugar (such as Sugar in the Raw or Demerara)
2-1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70 to 75% cacao), broken into 1 inch squares or smaller, plus more for grating
large pinch kosher salt
5 cups whole milk
marshmallows to accompany (optional, but popular with children)
1. Whisk cream with 1 teaspoon cocoa and ½ teaspoon sugar in a small bowl until it forms firm peaks. Set aside.
2. Using a fine grater, grate 1 square of chocolate. Set aside.
3. Combine the remaining chocolate, the remaining ¼ cup each cocoa and sugar, salt and milk in a medium saucepan and whisk gently over medium heat. Once the chocolate melts and the cocoa dissolves into the milk, raise the heat to medium high and whisk more vigorously to create froth on the surface. When the mixture bubbles around the edges and seems ready to boil, remove from the heat; do not let it boil. Ladle into 4 small cups or 2 mugs with some froth on each, spoon a dollop of cocoa whipped cream on each and sprinkle with grated chocolate. Serve marshmallows on the side, if desired.
adapted from Amanda Hesser, The Essential New York Times Cookbook