Luxury hot chocolate drinks

Hot chocolate. Photos: Linda Robertson
Hot chocolate. Photos: Linda Robertson

Daniel Pfyl, of the Otago Polytechnic Food Design Institute, shares some professional techniques to make your Easter and autumn hot drinks easier and yummier.

Hot chocolate

(Serves 4)
100g dark chocolate

500ml milk
1 Tbsp sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
brandy or peppermint schnapps to taste (optional)

For topping
whipped cream
dark chocolate shavings (grate chocolate on a fine grater).

Hot white chocolate

100g white chocolate
500ml milk
1 Tbsp sugar (optional as white chocolate is sweeter than dark)
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
kirsch to taste (optional)

For topping
whipped cream
white chocolate shavings.

Hot white chocolate.
Hot white chocolate.

Maya hot chocolate

100g dark chocolate
500ml milk
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch cayenne pepper
Grand Marnier to taste (optional)

For topping
whipped cream
dark chocolate shavings.

Maya hot chocolate.
Maya hot chocolate.

For all versions
Place the sugar, chocolate, and spices in a pot with the milk, over a medium heat so the chocolate melts and the cinnamon infuses. Stir occasionally.

After about five minutes, when all the lumps have disappeared, the liquid is evenly coloured and hot, pour into heated cups or glasses.

Add a slug of liqueur if desired.

Carefully place a tablespoon of whipped cream on top, then sprinkle with finely grated chocolate.

Tips
If you don’t have cinnamon sticks, use half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon.

Chef Pfyl says there is no need to use expensive chocolate for these drinks, but if you do use chocolate with a high cocoa content, you may want to add more sugar.

Be careful not to overdo the cayenne pepper in the Maya version. You want a little warmth from it, but you don’t want it scratchy.

If you want to prepare this hot chocolate for a party, you can put the ingredients in a slow cooker for two hours.

If you want an even richer version, replace some of the milk with cream.

If you wish to be really decadent, you could stir with a chocolate bar.

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