Few drinks are more soothing than hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day. There are many commercial varieties of hot chocolate drinks available, but have you ever wondered how the most perfect hot chocolate is made? Many experts suggest that the key factor is the quality of the chocolate that is used. They recommend using high quality chocolate and not simply cocoa powder. Plenty of commercial drinks use cocoa powder which has a much milder and more neutral flavor than real chocolate does. Real chocolate can be used as a solid piece or in powdered form. Powdered chocolate does have the advantage of dissolving quickly.
Most connoisseurs suggest using chocolate that contains at least 60% cocoa as this will produce a richer tasting drink. Some chefs may use chocolate with as much as 82% cocoa content. You can also decide whether to use milk chocolate or dark chocolate or some combination of both. It depends on your individual tastes and preferences.
The thickness of the hot chocolate is another factor to take into consideration. This can vary a great deal. Depending on the cocoa content, you may not need to use milk with a high fat percentage. Some restaurants use only 2% milk in their hot chocolate, since the chocolate they use has a high cocoa butter content that already makes the drink very rich. Others prefer to use full cream milk, but it really may depend on the chocolate that is being used.
High Quality Milk
To produce a high-quality hot chocolate drink, you should also use a high-quality milk. This will ensure that you produce a rich creamy substance. Some chefs state that one should also add cornstarch or milk powder as this will produce a creamier, richer and thicker texture to the drink.
In terms of the chocolate to milk ratio you want to have in your drink, it will depend on how rich you desire the drink to be. For a very rich drink you should aim for the drink to have 20% (or even higher percentage) of chocolate. When making the hot chocolate drink, you would normally heat the milk first then add the chocolate and reheat and mix the drink. Master Chef Torres believes that the key to a good smooth hot chocolate drink is to boil the drink twice, which means the reheating after adding the chocolate is essential.
Marshmallows and Whipped Cream
You can make a frothy drink by blending the chocolate and milk together in an actual blender. You can add whipped cream, rum, nuts, cinnamon or even vanilla essence or peppermint essence to the hot chocolate drink. Other very popular items to mix into a hot chocolate drink include marshmallows and whipped cream. Some of the commercial hot chocolate drinks come with marshmallows.
To make the perfect hot chocolate drink a person needs to know what they like and how rich they want the drink to be. If you are making your own drink it is a good idea to choose a chocolate that you like and follow the advice about heating (but not boiling) the milk twice.