When it’s raining, a home-made treat like hot chocolate can be delightful
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It’s warm and rich, it’s velvety-smooth, it’s the perfect balance of sweet and bitter, it’s a drink that’s also a dessert—yes, we’re talking about a hot chocolate cuppa. Ditch the convenient and accessible store powder packets because a delicious cuppa requires putting together just a few simple ingredients, so that you can warm up or snuggle in on a rainy day. We got two chocolate experts to share their luscious hot chocolate recipes with us:

1. Sanjana Patel, owner of the patisserie La Folie

Ingredients:
Belgian or Swiss chocolate: 300g
Sugar: 30g
Milk: 1.2 litres
Fresh cream: 100g
Cocoa powder: 20g

Instructions:
1. Belgian or Swiss chocolate has the best flavour, aroma and texture, and is perfect for a cup of hot chocolate. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Subsequently, combine milk, cream and sugar and whisk it in a saucepan over the stove. Depending on how rich you like your hot chocolate, you can play with the proportions of milk and cream. You could flavour the milk and fresh cream with a dash of orange and cinnamon—that’s a Dutch specialty. You might need to fine-tune the ratios to taste.

2. Pour this milk and cream concoction over the chocolate. Use a hand blender to mix the ingredients well. While you reheat them, sprinkle the cocoa powder into the mixture to get a richer flavour and thicker texture. Whisk occasionally.

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3. Rim the serving glass with caramel. Transfer the hot chocolate into the glass. For a garnish, drizzle some cream and caramel. With every sip, you will discover the blend of chocolate and caramel. One secret for dreamy hot cocoa is to garnish it with milk froth or whipped cream Chantilly (stiff cream sweetened with sugar or vanilla extract). The former creates a perfectly creamy mixture with a foam on top that feels premium, while for the latter, which is further decadent, this stiff cream will float on top of the chocolate, providing a hot and cold texture with each sip.

Expert tip: “Good quality ingredients will get you the best results. The best way to have hot chocolate is with whipped cream Chantilly or milk froth. To make it more playful, you can top off your hot chocolate with marshmallows—that is a fond childhood memory.”

2. Bunty Mahajan, owner of Deliciae Patisserie

Ingredients:
Chocolate: 300g
Cocoa powder: 30g
Milk: 1 litre
Coffee powder: 20g

Instructions:
1. Whisk together the chocolate with the cream to make a chocolate sauce. You can skip sugar because chocolate is naturally sweet. Instead, you can add a teaspoon of caramel or some raspberry pulp to the chocolate sauce to enhance the hot chocolate and deliver superior taste.

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2. Heat the milk and once it comes to a boil, pour 3/4th of the chocolate and cream mixture to it. Mix the coffee powder—this is the secret ingredient that will lend a richer flavour to the chocolate, letting chocolate take centerstage. Plus, if the chocolate is too sweet, coffee powder will cut the excess sweetness.

3. Transfer the hot chocolate to a serving glass. For garnish, you can add a swirl-like dollop of whipped cream (this floating cream on top of the chocolate will provide a hot and cold feel with each sip) and top it off with the remaining 1/4th chocolate and cream mixture, just like a chocolate sauce; or a dusting of cocoa, if desired.

Expert tip: “Chocolate and caramel, or chocolate and raspberry are good combinations, and are interesting flavours. You can play around with the presentation of hot chocolate—whipped cream, chocolate sauce, or you can also dust some chocolate powder as a garnish as it has a mild taste.”

Image courtesy: Shutterstock

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