It seems like the weather in New York is finally beginning to get back to normal. It's been so unseasonably warm! Don't get me wrong, I love 60 degree weather, I really do, but there's definitely something nice about just getting to put on tons of layers and bundle up before having to brave the cold weather that's right outside. We're not quite there yet, but the forecast shows the temperature is starting to drop, and I can't wait for it. Really, I can't. That's why I made hot chocolate.
I used to not be a very big fan of hot beverages...well actually, I'm still not really. I don't really drink tea, and asking me to drink a cup of coffee is like a death sentence for me (I actually joke that I must be one of the few people studying architecture that doesn't drink coffee at all, even with the crazy all-nighters!) Hot chocolate is different though. It's good. Definitely not my favorite drink, but I do enjoy a nice cup of hot chocolate every now and then. It's simple to prepare and oh-so-comforting.
The following recipe is really easy to put together; I mean, it's hot chocolate, so it has to be, right? The recipe originally calls for an additional tablespoon of sugar, but I chose to omit it, since milk chocolate is generally very sweet on its own. Actually, when I made it, I thought it tasted fine, but my dad and my sister both thought it was a bit too sweet for their liking! Play around with the combination of chocolate that you use until you get the right ratio; add more or less milk chocolate, or even substitute in some semisweet chocolate. You can't really go wrong!
recipe from Barefoot Contessa
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups half-and-half
4 ounces milk chocolate
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant coffee
whipped cream and cocoa powder, for garnish
In a large saucepan set over medium heat, combine the milk and half-and-half just below the simmering point. Remove the pan from the heat, and add both chocolates, stirring until the chocolates have completely melted. Once melted, add the vanilla extract and espresso powder, and whisk vigorously. Reheat slightly, and serve with whipped cream and cocoa powder if desired.