Warm Wishes

From my kitchen to yours, I want to wish you and the special ones in your life a very Merry Christmas. Thank you for letting me into your home, for allowing me to share my stories and my food. Thank you for taking the time…

Warm Wishes

Hot Chocolate

From my kitchen to yours, I want to wish you and the special ones in your life a very Merry Christmas. Thank you for letting me into your home, for allowing me to share my stories and my food. Thank you for taking the time to visit, for reading, and for your ever-thoughtful comments. I send you warm wishes for a sweet holiday, rich in flavor and the company of loved ones!

Nothing warms up the holiday season like Hot Chocolate. I have a weakness for hot chocolate in the winter months, and have been known to indulge in a nightly cup. There are, of course, many variations on this hot beverage all over the world, from the grocery cocoa mixes to those offered in artisanal chocolate shops. For everyday, cocoa mixes are fine, but I do hold all hot chocolates to a gold standard that I tasted when my family visited Milan.

For me, the cup of thick, sweet chocolate that I tasted one early morning in a humble bakery adjacent to Duomo di Milano (the Milan Cathedral) remains the standard by which I measure all other hot chocolates. I have yet to encounter Cioccolata Calda that holds a candle to it stateside. And when I read my children’s favorite holiday story, The Polar Express, the scene in which the children on the train drink “hot cocoa as thick and rich as melted chocolate bars” reminds me of this divine libation. Clearly, author Chris Van Allsburg knows his hot chocolate.

One day, I hope to return to Milan and track down this bakery and a recipe for their Cioccolata Calda. Until then, I make this version. I find it extremely rich and luxurious, certainly not for my nightly indulgence, but for Christmastime, it’s just right.

Hot Chocolate

Serves 4.

  • 1 quart milk (skim works well, especially when worrying about the calories from the chocolate!)
  • 5 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 5 oz milk chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium saucepan, heat milk over medium-low heat until just scalded. Whisk in chocolate and continue to simmer, whisking until the milk is thick and creamy. Stir in vanilla. Serve immediately. Top with your favorite toppings: whipped cream. marshmallows, cinnamon, peppermint, chocolate shavings.

Comments

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  1. Sandy I. Villatoro

    My brother suggested I may like this blog. He used to be totally right.
    This submit actually made my day. You cann’t consider simply how so much time
    I had spent for this information! Thanks!

    Reply
  2. denise @ quickies on the dinner table

    Hi Liren – I love the Polar Express! And I still remember the hot chocolate scene! Such a delight…

    Sorry I’m late for Christmas, but it’s not to late to say, “Manigong Bagong Taon sa Iyo!”, I hope ;)

    I hope you and yours truly have a great one!

    Reply
  3. Becky

    I love hot chocolate in the winter, too. It’s very satifying and filling at the same time. My granddauughter used to drink hot chocolate all year ound, even in the summer, when she was younger. I even got her a Snowman choclate pot with matching cup, which now sits in my cupboard. She’s a Sr in high school now. thank you for stirring those memories,

    Reply
  4. A Canadian Foodie

    I have been far too addicted to peppermint this season. This has never before happened – but when I saw the peppermint sticks, I swooned. What a gorgeous, homey – wonderful decadent treat for a loved one on a cold evening. Mom used to make us a similar treat after tobogganing, and then I did the same, for my children. I haven’t made any for so many years. I need to do this.
    :)
    Happy New Year to you and your family!
    I cannot wait to see how you bring it in!
    :)
    Valerie

    Reply
  5. Veronica Gantley

    Wow! That hot chocolate looks good. William Sonoma has a casister of shaved chocolate for hot chocolate. They mix different chocolates.

    Reply
  6. Jenn

    Hi Liren!
    It’s Jenn (formerly Defunkt Gourmet/Chinese Baba).
    Anyhow, I don’t have your email, but I wanted to wish you and your family a belated, but Happy Christmas! And also all the best in the new year, 2011!! May it bring much happiness and good health to you and your loved ones.
    xoxo ;)

    Reply
    • Liren

      Jenn! Long time no hear! I have been wondering how you have been. I see you have started a new blog (looking forward to following that one – and have you really moved?). Has Chinese Baba been put on hold? Happiest of holidays to you, feel free to message me anytime at kitchenconfidante@gmail.com. Have a lovely New Year :)

      Reply
  7. Gitte

    Ahhh nothing better than a cup of hot chocolate when your coming inside after playing in the snow. Happy New Year!

    Reply
  8. FoodFitnessFreshair

    Hot chocolate is so easy and satisfying! I think I’d go with all semi or bittersweet because I’m a huge dark chocolate fan. Looks delish! Congrats on FoodBuzz!

    Reply
  9. Kim-Liv Life

    MMM!! What a wonderful winter warm up. Thank you also for your wonderful blog… I’ve so enjoyed reading it this year and “meeting’ you in the process.
    Beautiful pics and congrats on the Top 9!!

    Reply
  10. Priscilla - She's Cookin'

    Oh good, skim or 1% milk will work! Don’t want to scrimp on the chocolate :) Beautiful photos, Liren. I’ve been using Abuelita, but this would certainly be a treat on a rainy night. Congrats on the Top 9!

    Reply
  11. Ben

    It’s not very cold in Mexico City right now, but nothing warms up the soul better than a cup of hot chocolate. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  12. Evan @swEEts

    I think I’ll be bringing this recipe with me when we travel to Colorado to go skiing this week :) Looks delicious and perfect to warm you up after a chilly day on the slopes!

    Reply
    • Liren

      Oh, you lucky duck! Have a blast skiing, safe travels to Colorado, and yes, definitely indulge after a day of the slopes with this!!

      Reply
  13. Jean

    It was hot chocolate weather when I visited Milan several years ago and I do believe I also had a cup or two of chocolatey comfort. I love your peppermint stick stirrers.

    I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas, Liren. Wishing you the best for 2011!

    Reply
    • Liren

      Thank you, Jean! We certainly did have a memorable Christmas, and I hope you, D., and your family did too! Looking forward to 2011!

      Reply
  14. Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels

    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your family.
    This hot chocolate looks sooo delicious and rich. I swear hot chocolate has never looked so beautiful as yours. I just love the peppermint sticks in the hot chocolate (and of course the marshmallows!!), what a great touch!

    Reply
    • Liren

      I’m all about the toppings! I can’t have my cocoa without whipped cream or marshmallows :)

      Reply
  15. norma

    I can’t sleep and this would be the perfect warm me up cup of hot chocolate.

    All the best and thank you for your all your wonderful work.

    Reply
    • Liren

      Oh no, Norma – can’t sleep? Why were you up so early/late? Hope you are staying warm with all the snow there – this would be the perfect remedy on a day like today.

      Reply
  16. Jackie

    Happy Christmas, sweets, this looks like an awesome way to settle back with loved ones and enjoy the day!

    Have a wonderful rest of holiday, my honorary #aiya buddy ;)

    Jax x

    Reply
  17. Sara @CaffeIna

    Oh hot chocolate! It reminds me of my mom. Every time I am home in winter time she always makes me hot chocolate…well without the marshmallows but hmmm it’s so good! happy holidays again Liren!

    Reply
    • Liren

      I’m certain your mom’s version must’ve been better (and closer to what I am trying to achieve)!

      Reply
    • Liren

      Ah, it makes me wish it snowed over here! Enjoy your winter wonderland!

      Reply
  18. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

    Merry Christmas Liren! This is quite a special memory to affiliate hot chocolate with. I don’t blame you for wanting to have this every night, it the perfect remedy for the lower temperatures, and the striped candy makes it so festive.

    Reply
  19. Monet

    I am craving a warm cup of hot chocolate now. This looks so delicious. I hope you and your family have a bright and joyful Christmas. I’m thankful that I found you…your recipes, words and sweet comments bring me so much joy. Many blessings!

    Reply
    • Liren

      Aw Monet, I’m thankful for you, too! Thank you for always brightening up my weeks!

      Reply
  20. Kori

    What a delicious cup of hot chocolate! And I love how you mention The Polar Express… that was one of my favorite books growing up. A very Merry Christmas to you!

    Reply
    • Liren

      We love the Polar Express here :) My son asked me to read it nearly every night leading up to Christmas this year!

      Reply
  21. Chef Dennis

    What a perfect cup of Hot chocolate! I hope your Christmas has been a joyous one!
    Dennis

    Reply
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