South Asian-Style Spiced Hot Chocolate

(5 minutes, serves 2)

When I visited Paris, I got to try hot chocolate the way they make it, which is pretty much melted chocolate & cream — very different from the rather watery (and sometimes gritty) version Americans often encounter.

This recipe is a touch lighter than the French version, and inflected with spices you’d find in chai. The key to maximizing its deliciousness is to use high quality ingredients — dutch-process cocoa, excellent chocolate chips (I use Callebaut or Ghirardelli), and nutmeg grated fresh (your microplane grater will make this easy).

The end result is luxurious enough to serve at a dinner party, but is also just right for comforting your stressed out student facing exams, or for just indulging yourself at the end of a long week. And if you want to make it just a little more French and a little more indulgent, feel free to substitute in half a cup of heavy cream for half a cup of milk!

2 c. whole milk
2 T unsweetened cocoa
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cardamom
1/8 t. ground cloves
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cayenne (optional)
1-2 T granulated sugar (2 T is more American-style; 1 T a little more bitter & French-style)
1/2 c. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips

mini marshmallows for serving (optional)

1. Place milk, cocoa powder, spices, and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium/medium-low heat, whisking frequently, until warm (but not boiling), and the cocoa and sugar have dissolved. Add chocolate chips and whisk constantly for another thirty seconds or so, until the chocolate chips melt and distribute evenly into the milk. Serve hot, ideally with a few mini marshmallows on top!

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