Friday, December 16, 2011
There is a scene in The Santa Clause when Tim Allen goes to the North Pole for the first time and he is served hot chocolate from an elf named Judy. She tells him about her secret recipe for hot chocolate that she has perfected over 100 years. Here is her method: “Not too hot, extra chocolate, shaken, not stirred.”
You may be wondering why I can recite this seemingly random quote at the drop of a hat. It’s because of tradition. The Kelly family has endless traditions, especially around the holidays, but that is a subject that warrants an entire post of its own. All you need to know about Kelly family traditions for now is that watching the Santa Clause just happens to be a very significant one. It is also important to know that my sister and I circa 1994 thought that Judy the elf was the coolest (she wore glitter on her face) and we tried endlessly to emulate her hot chocolate. I had no luck finding the hot chocolate scene on you tube, but I stumbled across another Christmas favorite (see Kelly family tradition of quoting Elf endlessly in the month of December).
For years, Judy’s recipe eluded me, but then I went to Paris when I was in high school and found the perfect hot chocolate. Ladurée is known for macarons, which I admit are incredible, but their hot chocolate should really receive more attention. It is thick and rich and like Judy’s version, it contains extra chocolate. I have experimented endlessly to achieve a cup of hot chocolate that is even half as good as Laduree’s and below is the recipe that I think comes closest.
I will warn you not to serve it in a glass as large as the one pictured- this was for photography purposes only and you should not try it at home. The hot chocolate kind of has the consistency of chocolate fondue…think about the tummy ache you would have if you drank a big glass of chocolate fondue. That is why I have decided to call it sipping chocolate- just take little sips to savor the rich chocolaty goodness.
I also added the marshmallows for photography purposes only- in reality I am a purist. I don’t like to obstruct the delivery of pure chocolate with distractions like marshmallows and whipped cream. I used 70% bittersweet chocolate because I love dark chocolate, and I also didn’t add very much sugar so the result is not overly sweet. However, this is intended to be your perfect cup of hot chocolate, so feel free to adapt as necessary.
makes 2 small servings
~8 ounces dark chocolate, cut into pieces
~1 cup heavy cream or whole milk (don’t you dare use non-fat in an attempt to make it healthy!)
1-2 teaspoons sugar (depending on the sweetness of your chocolate)
1 generous pinch of sea salt
Combine the chocolate with half the milk in a small saucepan over low heat. If you have a double boiler- feel free to use it. Stir until the chocolate has melted, then add enough milk for it to reach your desired consistency. Add sugar and a pinch of salt to taste.