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Monday
Oct082012

Bad Hot Chocolate, Awesome Book Giveaway

Worst Hot Chocolate Ever

Yesterday, I had a really terrible hot chocolate. I mean awful.

It was surprising because it was at a cafe where the food is quite good. It was on the menu, for $3.50, advertised as "hot chocolate with whipped cream". Yum.

But when it was delivered, there were some things wrong.

First, there was no whipped cream.

Second, it was made with a mix. Already bad enough, but to add insult to injury, it was improperly mixed, and still lumpy.

Third, it was made with water, not milk. Gross!

So, I sent it back. They were apologetic and offered to re-make it...but I declined. And I got to thinking: what makes a really good hot chocolate? Is it the chocolate itself? The milk? The temperature? The texture? Well, kind of all of the above. For me, it's a rich drinking chocolate like I had at Cafe Angelina in Paris.

What about you? What is your ideal hot chocolate? 

Real Snacks

Feel free to chime in, and you'll be entered to win a copy of this AWESOME book by Lara Ferroni entitled Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without All the Junk. I'm a huge fan of Lara's work, and also love her previous recipe book, Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home.

This time, she's back with homemade versions of popular snack treats. Sweet and savory. Some examples:

Cereal Bars Animal Crackers

I do believe I spied a unicorn on those pages! 

OK. So, to review: 

Leave a comment telling me about what makes the ideal hot chocolate, in your opinion (is it from a place? Made with heavy cream, at home? Or perhaps it's just Swiss Miss? I'm curious!). And on October 15 at 5pm EST, I will choose one lucky winner (at random) to get a copy of this great new book by Lara Ferroni. Due to the price of shipping overseas, I can only open this one to US residents.

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Reader Comments (57)

i agree that the hot chocolate at cafe angelina is delicious. i also love a good, rich mexican hot chocolate. the kick makes it especially good. thank you for the giveaway!
October 8 | Unregistered Commenterfishgirl182
My ideal hot chocolate is a thick one, with milk. (though being lactose intolerant, I'd just have to have a small one) Almost like melted chocolate chips.
October 8 | Unregistered CommenterLibby
Any hot chocolate on a crisp fall morning is delish, but I especially like mine with mini marshmallows on top!!!
October 8 | Unregistered CommenterValarie
Hot chocolate is about taste and texture to me. Mixing it with water is a SIN. :) Personally, using quality cocoa powder is important. Sweetening it to taste with organic sugar or perhaps a quality flavored syrup (coconut? hazelnut? raspberry? almond? The possibilties are endless.)

As far as milk goes, I typically do a 50/50 mix of almond milk and whole milk or evaporated milk. Or even a dash of half and half so you get that creamy, milky mouth feel.

Add in some homemade marshmallows (you can get them at Whole Foods if you don't want to make them yourself) or whipped cream...yum.

The best hot chocoloate I've had so far is the salted caramel hot chocolate at the Gharadelli store in Chicago. To die for. :)

Love your work, do you plan on adding more prints to your online store?

Thanks!
Diana
October 8 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Hernandez
Simple...I usually make it at home. I don't love the heaviness of cream, so I use whole milk. I bit of honey. A tiny bit of cinnamon and really really good cocoa powder.
October 8 | Unregistered Commenterladywild
In thinking about this, I'm pretty sure I have never had great hot chocolate. Sad! But I do think using real cocoa (as opposed to a mix) is paramount. Otherwise it's just not decadent enough to be worth it. I would never touch hot chocolate made from a mix, and especially not a "sugar-free" mix--that seems like the most wretched substance on earth.
October 8 | Unregistered CommenterJulie
I actually really like sugar-free mix hot chocolate made with hot water! Add some creme de menthe and marshmallows, and it is perfect. Richer hot chocolates are just too much, and I can't take more than 1 or 2 sips!
October 8 | Unregistered CommenterCara
Whatever it is, it has got to be milk based! I use 2%.
October 8 | Unregistered CommenterErin
I'm no hot chocolate expert, but I would have to say it should be made at least with milk! I like it rich and creamy. No whipped cream or marshmallows for me, nor flavored syrups. I guess you can say I am a bit of a purist.
October 8 | Unregistered CommenterConnie
I love thick and creamy hot chocolate topped with plenty of whipped cream. I'm on the road a lot for work, so sometimes even gas station hot chocolate will do the trick! :)

Emily
October 8 | Unregistered CommenterEmily
I say go big or go home, you know? Why bother unless it's delicious?. This morning I had a sample of a salted caramel hot chocolate that made my toes curl. I think I actually prefer it with a little salt to cut the sweetness.
October 8 | Unregistered CommenterAlison
When I was young my elementary school had a holiday fair and each year we would buy hot chocolate from this one vendor who packaged it in these holiday themed fabric bags. My whole family LOVED it because it had a perfect combination of spices such as cinnamon and others I couldn't identify. Years later I tried to do some detective work and find that vendor but alas, no such luck. My sister and I have been on the hunt for something similarever since.
October 8 | Unregistered Commenterkh
The most delicious hot chocolate is the famous frozen hot chocolate from Serendipity in NYC ( I also spotted one in Vegas in front of Caesar's Palace). The whole experience of the magical, whimsical atmosphere and icy, chocolate concoction brings back such wonderful memories of pure bliss!
October 8 | Unregistered CommenterDeirdre
Best hot chocolate I've ever had was in a coffee shop in Kyiv. It was so thick I could stand my spoon in it.

To recreate the idea, if not the thickness, I heat whole milk and grate a chocolate bar into it, usually something luscious and dark. Add a spoon or two of cocoa powder, a dash of vanilla, some brown sugar, a shot of whatever liquor is handy, and top with fresh whipped sweetened cream.

Best served in small cups with a fainting chair nearby as it fills me with languor.
October 8 | Unregistered Commenterowlchick
A good hot chocolate should be rich and creamy. Marshmallows don't hurt, either!!
October 8 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda
I'd say my ideal hot chocolate is rich and creamy - definitely needs some cream or half-and-half, and some melted chocolate - the real deal in addition to cocoa powder! When the hot chocolate is so rich, whipped cream is optional, for me at least.
October 8 | Unregistered Commentersara
I always used to love Swiss Miss in the package with the tiny, dehydrated marshmallows. After having hot chocolate from City Bakery in NYC a few years ago, I can never go back. It's thick, rich, sweet and bitter-ish at the same time and comes with this awesomely huge homemade marshmallow. LOVE.
October 8 | Unregistered CommenterCrystal
there is something about NYC, Rockefeller Center, looking up at "the tree" with a Godiva hot chocolate in your mitt...that to me is a very special hot chocolate...

thank you for a chance to win this great cookbook, there is something on the cover that I would love to make...
October 8 | Unregistered CommenterMaria in NJ
Made at home, with milk, not too sweet, and good chocolate. I love it with a touch of cinnamon and frothed milk on top!
October 8 | Unregistered CommenterAlly
A tiny drop of mint extract, and some shaved dark chocolate on top!
October 8 | Unregistered CommenterJordan M
The perfect hot chocolate is homemade and ALWAYS made with milk, never water!! And of course whipped cream on top is a necessity!
October 8 | Unregistered CommenterJacqui
I love hot chocolate that is made with hot milk. The best cocoa does make a difference. I do not like cream but having the hot milk frothy really makes for a delicious hot chocolate.
October 8 | Unregistered CommenterSydney85
Mmmm, hot chocolate! Definitely made with milk, delicious rich, chocolate syrup and LOTS of real whipped cream. Ooo, and shave chocolate on top!
October 8 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth F
Hot chocolate from Spain!
October 8 | Unregistered Commenterkerry
I love to make hot chocolate with shaved semi-sweet, cocoa, and whole milk per a recipe from a former co-worker...perfect with mini marshmallows! The best I've ever had is at Kakawa in Santa Fe, NM- 1775 Marie Antoinette hot chocolate with orange blossom and cinnamon. It is beyond delicious and mixes my love of history with my love of sweets!
October 8 | Unregistered CommenterJill

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