For many of us, chocolate is a sinful indulgence, and for others, it is a part of daily life. We love to sneak in a piece of chocolate during work when no one is looking. Sometimes, we indulge in a sizable portion of a robust dark variant with red wine. During the winter, hot chocolate gives us more reason to be joyful. It is blasphemous to think of going through an entire day without eating chocolates.
You may have noticed that a person’s taste in chocolates evolves with age. Your preference for chocolates must have changed as well. You may have loved milkier and sweeter variants as a child, but right now, you may like darker, spicier versions more. It is the same with sipping chocolates for the most of us. Most of us began our journey of chocolate drinks with hot chocolates and hot cocoa. We have all loved the rainy days and chilly winters as kids for one reason – hot cocoa and hot chocolate.
As adults, we realize that they are very different drinks. Hot cocoa is a variant that comes from powder, but hot chocolate is a drink that includes small bits of chopped chocolates. We have all been guilty of using choco chips in milk in place of chopped dark chocolate. As children or even as young adults, we were too much in love with the liquid chocolaty goodness to care about the darkness or creaminess of the concoction. However, as we have grown older, we now realize that we would like our chocolate drink to be fuller and richer in taste. We would love for it to be creamy and heavy. It should have the goodness of whole milk, but at the same time, it should have the robust flavor of cocoa. When we say cocoa here, we do not refer to the powder, but we mean the cocoa content of the dark chocolate that goes into the milk.
We all have the fond memories of powdered drinking chocolate that used to make the milk all yummy and special on the nights of sleepovers and family vacations. Adding marshmallows to the hot chocolate obviously meant that it was a story night. Well, growing up does mean straying away from those childhood moments, losing old friends and making new ones. However, it does not entail forgetting the creamy goodness of drinking hot chocolate on a cold night. As we were saying, the taste continuously evolves as a person grows over. Now, your favorite recipe of sipping chocolate might contain hints of vanilla or a tinge of orange blossom. Adding a dash of cinnamon or spicing it up with cayenne definitely helps fight of potential frost bites on a mean chilly night.
What is the secret of sipping chocolate?
In reality, sipping chocolate is a little different from drinking chocolate and hot cocoa. You may have had to sip chocolate a hundred times without knowing its moniker. Sipping chocolate uses real chocolate for making the drink. Most cafes and restaurants that serve genuine sipping chocolates use dark chocolate and not powder. You have to melt the dark chocolate directly into the hot milk slowly as the milk changes color and turns thick with the bittersweet flavors. To make a great cup of sipping chocolate, it is always better to begin with a brand of dark chocolate you like. Do not forget to pick whole milk. The high percentage of fat makes the drink creamy and savory.
You can always add some all natural and organic honey to the mix to add some sweetness. Picking wild orange flavored honey and wildflower honey might be a great idea if you like your drink flavored, but you do not have a stash of fresh herbs and spices. We have a go-to recipe for sipping chocolate that preserves the traditional goodness and at the same time, brings home a warmth of spices. Here’s our secret to year-round happiness –
- Add the chopped chocolate, milk, honey, chili powder, cinnamon and other spices to a heavy-bottom saucepan.
- Heat on low. Do not boil it.
- While heating, stir it continuously to prevent the chocolate from burning at the bottom.
- You should heat it until it is warm to touch. That should take you about 10 minutes. The drink should also turn to a dark brown color.
- Always strain to catch milk particles and spices. Portion it according to your heart’s desire.
We have found that sipping chocolate is much heavier than hot cocoa or hot chocolate. Therefore, two cups whole milk and 3 ounces of dark chocolate make enough for four people. Usually, half a cup per person is the standard serving. However, you can go with one full cup, if you are having an especially trying day!
Hot chocolate on a stick
Did you know? You can serve sipping chocolate on a stick to your kids and guests. All you need to do add condensed milk. So your hot chocolate on a stick will have half cup heavy cream, 3 ounces of dark chocolate and half a cup of condensed milk. You will also need the lollipop sticks or popsicle sticks for presentation.
After the mix is brown and ready, you need to pour it onto a non-stick baking pan. You can prepare the pan beforehand with cooking spray or a coat of unsalted butter. Once it becomes a little firm, refrigerate it for 3 hours or leave it outside overnight. You can cut them into equal square blocks or any way you please. Always use a sharp knife and rinse it in hot water to make the cuts clean and sharp. Skewer with the lollipop sticks.
You can store these blocks in airtight containers for over a month in the fridge. These are great treats for kids on Halloween as well. Since they are gluten-free and nut-free, they might as well become this year’s neighborhood hit.
Now that you know the different forms of sipping chocolate, you have no excuse to skip them this winter. Since it has no added trans-fat and it is high in protein, it can even squeeze right into your fitness diet.