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How to make the perfect hot chocolate - The ultimate hot chocolate recipe that never disappoints

Updated: Feb 13


We scoured the internet, TV cooking shows, and recipe books for the ultimate hot chocolate recipe. And time after time, we kept coming back to one that is so basic, it's almost magic!


Simply titled, Hot Chocolate, this recipe is from none other than the Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten. Of course, we’d expect nothing less from the author who wrote the book, BAREFOOT CONTESSA BACK TO BASICS. Known as the essential Ina Garten cookbook, it focuses on techniques behind her elegant food and easy entertaining style, and offers nearly a hundred brand-new recipes that have become trusted favorites.
"What truly fires my imagination is taking ordinary ingredients and cooking them - or pairing them - in a way that "unlocks" their true flavors. This book is about how to cook the simple ingredients you can find in a grocery store and how to unlock their essences. "

So let’s get right to it.


Using Ina’s recipe, the advice from experts, and the Drink Perfector, we give you, the ultimate hot chocolate recipe that never disappoints!


All hot chocolate experts agree, when it comes to making the perfect hot chocolate, it’s all about percentages and temperatures. Click to see our video post about this back in November.

  • Start with high-quality chocolate between the range of 60% to 70% cocoa content.

  • Don't boil your milk but bring it 180°F (boiling point for milk is 212.3 °F) to melt the chocolate and properly extract the flavors.

  • Chocolate should be no less than 20% of your favorite recipe.

  • Drinking hot beverages above 140°F mutes flavors and isn’t healthy for your esophagus.


THE RECIPE (by Ina Garten)


Ingredients

2 1/2 cups whole milk

2 cups half-and-half

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon instant espresso or coffee powder

4 to 5 vanilla beans or cinnamon sticks, for garnish


THE DIRECTIONS


Heat the milk and half-and-half in a saucepan on medium heat to just below the simmering point. Remove the pan from the heat and add both chocolates. When the chocolates are melted, add the sugar, vanilla extract, and espresso and whisk vigorously. Reheat gently and serve immediately. Use a vanilla bean or cinnamon stick to garnish each serving.

THE PERFECTION


To finish it off, pour through the Drink Perfector to safely drink and experience the roasted cocoa beans in the chocolate. Like coffee, the flavor notes in hot chocolate are best tasted at 140°F, as opposed to drinking immediately after making your recipe at 180°F.


The Drink Perfector makes the perfect unique gift for hot chocolate lovers: click to purchase