There is nothing that provides more solace from the cold chill of winter than a comforting mug of warm hot chocolate. The past few winter months have undoubtedly increased my chocolate appetite and I found myself nostalgically yearning to relive the moment I discovered what a hot chocolate really was (not talking about store bought powdered cocoa here!).
My memory begins overseas in an Italian chocolatier (…ironically in Singapore) and up until this moment I truly did not understand or appreciate the fine artistry that quality chocolate encompasses. Instead of picking from the menu, the chocolatier allowed us to choose our specific blend and percentage of cacao and also the aromatics that the chocolate would be infused with. As a lover of very dark chocolate, I chose the highest percentage of cacao to be combined with cinnamon, nutmeg and a dash of coffee.
I was in heaven before the hot chocolates were even brought to the table. The richly sweet cocoa aroma that filled the air was unforgettable. The first sip of my personalised hot chocolate was utterly magical. It was the most decadent, rich and chocolaty flavoured hot chocolate ever.
The velvet dark liquid was warm to the touch and the consistency was very thick, almost custard like… similar to cioccolata calda (a thick Italian hot chocolate somewhere between a dessert and a drink). What made this hot chocolate special was that it was made on all melted chocolate and then further infused by spices, coffee, milk and cream.
This boozy gingerbread hot chocolate recipe transports me back to that chocolatier in Singapore. It is thick and rich, slightly spiced by cinnamon with an added dash of gingerbread Kahlua. Drinking it removes all daily stresses and makes me feel like I’m rugged up fireside overlooking the slopes of Aspen.
For the hot chocolate, I melted down some Lindt 99% Dark Chocolate (seriously the darkest chocolate ever) over a double boiler, whisked in spiced infused milk and added a dash of Kahlua. I then topped the decadent concoction with a chai infused whipped cream. This hot chocolate is every bit indulgent as my overseas memory. The added Kahlua adds a sinful layer of warmth and decadence when combined with the spices and dark melted chocolate. The result is the most delicious, luxurious and comforting beverage to ever exist… perfect for serious chocolate aficionados.
Winter might be halfway over, but it’s never too late to indulge with a mug of hot chocolate. So next time yourself craving chocolate, ditch the artificial and cheap packaged cocoa and create this decadent drink instead. You will never look back again.
- 100g Lindt 70% Dark Chocolate
- 50g Lindt 99% Dark Chocolate
- 1-3 teaspoons of agave nectar or honey, to personal taste
- 2/3 cup Whole Milk, at room temperature
- 3 shots of Gingerbread Kahlua
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 vanilla bean pod, split
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon chai powder
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- Chocolate flakes to serve
- Begin by preparing the chai whipped cream. Beat the cream and sugar with an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until the cream begins to form peaks. Add the spices and cocoa powder and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form or until incorporated. Cover and set aside.
- To make the hot chocolate, over a double boiler melt the chocolate pieces, stirring occasionally. Once fully melted set aside.
- To make the spice infused milk. In a small saucepan over a low heat, heat the milk with the cinnamon, vanilla bean, sweetener and Kahlua. Bring to a simmer. Then remove from heat.
- With a whisk, stir the melted hot chocolate into the warm milk mixture. Continue stirring until a combined fluid mixture forms.
- Serve the hot chocolate into glasses and top with the whipped cream and a sprinkle of chocolate flakes to garnish.
- Serve warm.
- As a serious dark chocolate lover, I used two varieties of Lindt dark chocolate (70% and 99%). The recipe works just as well with milk chocolate and even white chocolate!