It might not get that cold in Karachi, but Karachiites love winter treats like hot chocolate. Come November and people start looking up places to find the best hot chocolate in the city. Most times, the craving outlasts the number of options available and this is where a good hot chocolate recipe comes in.
Like you, I have made several mugs of the delicious beverage ourselves and we present to you five ways you can amp up your hot chocolate recipe.
Tip 1: Use good quality chocolate
I know, ‘captain obvious’ much? But seriously, this would not be on the list if it didn't make a huge difference. And when I say good, I mean a good dark chocolate. Using your favourite milk chocolate is fine for a cup or two but somewhere down the line, it will start to taste a bit sickly sweet.
Dark chocolate has that richness without making you feel like you are drinking an over-the-top dessert.
Tip 2: A dash of cinnamon goes a long way
I am a big proponent of keeping things simple, especially recipes, but when you find that little trick that goes a long way in making something great, you have to hold on to it. For me, it is the trusted cinnamon. It helps with doing away the “milkiness” of the drink so it doesn’t feel like you are having those childhood milk-based drinks instead of hot chocolate. It also elevates the aroma of the beverage.
Tip 3: Cook it for longer
Yes, everyone is super into everything instant right now but taking your time with your hot chocolate has a great pay-off. The longer you cook it, the richer it will be. Don’t spend longer than six to seven minutes or you will be there all day but don’t skimp either!
Oh and keep stirring. One minute in, you will still be able to see that the texture is a bit grainy. As the chocolate and milk cook together on low heat, they will melt into a velvety drink and that is exactly what you want.
Tip 4: Experiment
Sure, you can hold on to one classic hot chocolate recipe but it’s always fun to experiment. If I hadn't, I wouldn't have discovered that mint chocolate actually makes a really good hot chocolate — if not the best. And then there is chilli chocolate and maybe even raspberry. Why limit yourself to one flavour?
Tip 5: The magic is in the mug
A good hot chocolate is as much about the beverage as it is about the mug it is poured in. Find one that speaks to you and make sure it is not made out of steel because it gets hot — and you can’t hold it. Just a nice cozy mug to wrap your hands around as you slurp up your favourite hot drink while imagining a fireplace and the next instalment of Harry Potter, but maybe not written by J.K. Rowling.
Here is a hot chocolate recipe that I stand by.
250 ml milk
A pinch of cinnamon
Half a teaspoon of cocoa
A teaspoon of brown sugar
80g or half a bar of dark chocolate, finely chopped
In a saucepan, pour in the cup of milk over medium heat. Add a pinch of cinnamon, cocoa and brown sugar and stir till everything gets mixed in.
The minute you start to see signs of it coming to a simmer, add your dark chocolate and bring the heat to low.
Keep stirring as it cooks. We recommend 6-7 minutes.
Once it reaches the density you like, pour it in your mug.
All photos by the author