Since its first cultivation in ancient Mesoamerica, chocolate has been seen as a special treat. It was first consumed as a bitter liquid and was thought to be a gift from the gods. According to Aztec legend, Quetzalcoatl was cast away by the other gods for sharing chocolate with humans, much like Prometheus of Greek mythology. Chocolate was a common drink in the Americas, and was even used as currency in the Aztec empire.
When chocolate was first introduced to Europe, initial reactions were of disgust for the frothy drink, but it soon became a court favorite in Spain, where they added sugar to the drink. Chocolate in Europe was reserved for the nobility for centuries until Dutch chemist Coenraad Van Houten who, in 1828, created a process that made chocolate production cheaper and more consistent. Once chocolate became more accessible to the masses it became the go-to treat to celebrate any occasion.
Warm up your loved ones this Valentines Day with some homemade hot chocolate.
French Hot Chocolate, makes 4 cups
1 ½ cups whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
2 tsp powdered sugar
½ tsp espresso powder (optional)
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, preferably 72%, chopped
- In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, whisk together the whole milk, heavy cream, powdered sugar, and espresso powder until small bubbles appear around the edges. Do not allow the mixture to boil.
- Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the chopped chocolate until melted, returning the sauce to low heat if needed. Serve warm with lots of whipped cream.
This recipe makes an extremely rich, thick hot chocolate. If you want a thinner drink, start with more milk in the first step. Once you are comfortable with this recipe, try experimenting with different flavors, such as adding pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, cayenne powder, or if you’re feeling adventurous, bourbon.
[Recipe from wellplated.com]