Saturday, February 4, 2017

Valentine's French Hot Chocolate

Just hearing the words "Chocolate" and "Paris" seem to instantly conjure up dreamy notions of love. So naturally a sweet chocolatey treat inspired by this most romantic of cities seemed a perfect combination for celebrating l'amour this Valentine's. 
Leave it to the french to elevate, a winter childhood favorite, to a gourmet experience. Apparently, Chocolate Chaud, or their version of hot chocolate, is not the apres-sledding powder and marshmallow mix, warming tiny mitten clad hands, but a rich, decadent and grown-up luxury to be savored.
 Although I admit to overindulging in sweets and treats during my limited travels abroad, (I'm quite sure I've eaten my weight in macarons), I've never, sadly, had the chance to sample the famous hot chocolate of Paris. 
With limited time and budget barring any overseas jaunt and a wintry wind chilling the air, I thought I'd attempt this cozy yet decadent treat here at home. After several attempts at different chocolate chaud recipes (all in the name of selfless research of course) I found this relatively simple, not overly sweet but flavorful version from 

Chocolate Chaud
2 cups whole milk
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons light brown sugar  
 Heat the milk in a medium saucepan.When milk is warm, whisk in  chocolate, stirring until melted. Cook at a low boil for about 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Watch carefully as mixture may boil over.  Taste, and add brown sugar.
Chocolate will thicken upon standing
*The original recipe suggests a high quality bittersweet chocolate finely chopped, but I subbed the easier and less costly chocolate chips.

Cafe Cups
Unable to find the small round bowls often used for serving warm drinks in France, I improvised with oversized white mugs and plates from the dollar store.
 I used a glass friendly paint from my craft store to add some romantic sentiments "Je t'aime" and "Toi et Moi"  (I love you, You and Me) in pink and gold tones.
Simply follow your paint manufacturer's instructions and get creative

Flavored Whipped Cream
The chocolate is delicious as is but for added panache I thought I'd add a little flavored whipped cream topping. Simply whip one cup heavy cream and add one tablespoon powdered sugar and vanilla, raspberry or almond extract, adjusting to taste.

Wishing Everyone
Sweet Valentine's Day!