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A Perfect Hot Chocolate

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A Perfect Hot Chocolate

I love hot chocolate. I am obsessed with hot chocolate. I could drink hot chocolate on the hottest day of the year, in the middle of the Mojave, and still be extraordinarily happy.

My favorite cup of hot chocolate ever was from the Café Campana at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. I loved that cup of hot chocolate so much that my traveling companion, M, snapped a picture of me sipping, and I didn’t even notice. She insists that the atmosphere was more to blame than the hot chocolate itself. That it wasn’t any better than the hot chocolate we had at other Parisian cafés.

The Musée d’Orsay was built in an old railway station, and their café is behind the clock’s face. It’s absolutely gorgeous. The picture from their website doesn’t really do it justice, but you can see the clock face on the left.

Cafe at the Musee D'Orsay

image source:

So, I’m not sure. Maybe M is right. But to this day I insist that my love for their hot chocolate stemmed from the fact that they melted chocolate pieces to make it. The unsweetened kind you need to add sugar to in order to make it palatable. The real stuff.

Trader Joe’s makes a bittersweet chocolate bar that’s fantastic for any recipe that calls for chocolate. It’s good quality, gigantic and inexpensive for its size. I love to use bittersweet chocolate because it allows me to control the amount of sugar I put into anything I’m making.

But most people don’t happen to have a giant bar of bittersweet chocolate just hanging out in their cabinet. So I’m writing up this recipe using semi-sweet chocolate chips. The same kind you’d use to make a chocolate chip cookie. Which, in my mind, are a staple for any home. Like wine.

Easy Stove-Top Hot Chocolate

Ingredients (Makes 2 large mugs worth or 1 Kaitlin serving)

1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 c whole milk

1/3 c half and half

1 t vanilla extract

1/2 t cinnamon

1/2 t salt

pinch cayenne pepper (optional)


In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt your chocolate, stirring constantly with a spatula. The chocolate melts very quickly, so be careful not to let it stick to the bottom.

Chips melted copy

Once it’s completely melted, add 1 cup of your milk, a little bit at a time, still stirring constantly. As the chocolate and milk combine, the brown hue will get darker and darker. When it’s almost as dark as the melted chocolate, you’ll know it’s combined completely (approx 3 minutes).

Combine milk and chocolate copy

Add vanilla, cinnamon and salt. If you’re using the cayenne for spicy hot chocolate, toss that in as well.

Continue to stir slowly and heat another 2-3 minutes. Add the rest of your milk and the half and half. When the hot chocolate is steaming, it’s done.

Finished Hot Chocolate 2

Pour in a large mug and enjoy. Yummm


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