A chocolate treat recipe

It’s 6:58 am and the house is still sleepy. Well, except for the two year old who came to join us in bed a couple of hours ago, now tossing and turning and devising ways to wake up his still comatose parents. He manages to slip off the bed, and like a puppy breathing and panting in his slumbering master’s face, he yelps, loud and clear: “Park?”

I surface, groggy, and start thinking about my day as we put together breakfast. Boysenberries, yogurt, honey, cereal, milk, bread, butter, jam… and the wheels start turning.

The anniversary post, that’s right. It’s up there on my calendar, like an obvious fact. Of course I’m going to write an anniversary post. Waited til the day before, of course. What the heck do I want to say about it? That the past year has been so great, and what a wonderful journey it has been already, how much I’ve learned–


Pablo, “Maman? Manger petit-déjeuner! Miel!”

9:30 am, in the car, driving to work. Nice to work away from the house once in a while, alone time in the car, it gives a mom some time to think in full sentences.

So what have I learned from this blog? Stuff I would never have suspected, social media, analytics, html… photography, food styling. But it’s more than that. It’s expanded my horizons. Made me discover a great blog community of talented people, bloggers, cooks, photographers, food stylists, parents, writers (or all of the above) that I have come to feel so close to, even though I’ve never met them in person. I’ve learned so much from this blog, this one, this one and this one. And this one too. Oh and this one. So many others.


Oh, and I should talk about how it gave me such an appreciation for the process. Blogging, cooking, parenting. Learning. Life. All processes. I’ve learned how they’re the meat of life.

I park, it’s time to go in and switch hats from blogger to translator (my day job). It’s hard to do. As I wait, I futz around with my phone, check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. That would have never happened a year ago.

12 pm. Lunch with my good friend A. I tell him about this new exciting collaboration I’m going to be doing for the blog, and a giveaway. He’s happy for me, seems to have faith in the whole thing, points out how much the blog has grown in a year. I guess he’s right.

1 pm. Driving home, running a couple of errands. More time to think.

OK, so how much I’ve learned, discovered, a sense of accomplishment, so grateful– Wait a minute. Am I writing an Oscar acceptance speech or something? That’s what this all sounds like. There’s no award here. Just one small year.


Yeah, but a big step for me. Anniversaries are good chances to look back and acknowledge. And be grateful. The post should be a thank you letter, really. To all the awesome readers, their feedback, their questions, their comments, their loyalty and support. That’s what’s kept me going.

3 pm. Home, it’s late. I got the chocolate, I have to get those chocolate fondants going. Pablo is still napping. Then I have to sit down and write this post. I whisk the chocolate and butter together. Doubt sets in.

What if this post sucks? Well, all I can do is be as honest as I can and let the chips fall where they may. There’s been many times in the past year when I’ve wondered whether this blog had any value, whether I it was good enough, whether I had enough to contribute, whether it was really useful or helpful to anybody. Otherwise what’s the point?

The hand mixer whirs through the eggs and sugar.

There were the times when I wondered if the blog way too unfocused, is it a mom blog, a food blog, a baby food blog, a personal ramblings blog? All of it? What did I want it to be? A space of sharing. A resource. A journal that somehow could be helpful to its readers. And a celebration. Of cooking and eating as paramount to life and family.

I add flour. Whisk it together with the chocolate. It’s so creamy and beautiful. I must take a picture (or ten) of that whisk with the glistening chocolate on it. Then stick it in the fridge.

To heck with self-doubt, it’s so sterile. At least I know these chocolate fondants will be good. Hope the photos come out all right. My photography’s gotten better, but I still have so much to learn and try. Feels like a tall order sometimes. Life feels like a tall order often sometimes too, I guess.

4 pm. Pablo’s up from his nap, and I sit down to finally write the post.

Should I go to Starbucks to write? I could focus there. It’s getting late though…

Pablo proceeds to tell his zoo story with such passion, sound effects, gestures and all. It’s hard not to smile. And it’s also hard to focus. Another late night looms.

I face the screen. Pablo comes for a cuddle, lets me know he’s eating compote with his Mamette (grandma) in the jardin. Lets me know again. Runs through my office again. Gives me a kiss. A compote-y kiss. I manage to write a few thoughts.

It feels kind of flat. But it’s honest at least. Will have to finish later. Should have gone to Starbucks. But then again I would have missed the compote-y kiss.


5:20 pm. I preheat the oven and pour the chocolate batter in the ramekins. I set up the little table I have for taking pictures of food for the blog.

How hard can it be to make chocolate cake look appetizing? Kind of hard. Actually, I have a decent feeling about these photos, I think they’re going to turn out OK. I’ve gotten slightly more confident about writing, cooking, taking photos since last year. Something else I owe to the blog.

I take out the fondants, 10 minutes, they’re too soft. So delicious though. They’re pouring their chocolaty heart out onto the plate. A little too much. I stick the last one back in the oven for a minute.

Trial and error, that’s the good stuff of life. The real stuff. Not perfection and expectations. Cooking, parenting, blogging, they’ve all taught me that. I’m so glad I know that now. I should talk about that in the post. What a  strange intimacy, it feels like the people who have been reading the blog know me. Really know me. Perhaps better than some of my friends. It’s nice to feel visible. I should thank the readers for that too.

The last fondant is perfect, slightly crusty on top, totally melty in the middle. Pablo sees me taking pictures, he runs to get his camera too. I do the most unthinkable, un-French thing possible: feed him a spoon of chocolate cake and spoil his appetite before dinner. Oh well. It’s a special occasion. We photograph these gushing chocolate fondants from every angle. We’re behind schedule.

6:45 pm. Bath and dinner prep time. The naked giggling toddler comes running in and out of the kitchen. A daily pre-bath ritual in our house. I think of my friend Pascale, a published author, and the most helpful piece of writing advice I ever got.

‘Be as profoundly honest as you can possibly be’, she said. ‘Give the naked truth.’

7 pm. Setting the table outside for dinner. Oysters tonight.  And a surprise Camembert for cheese. We celebrate my mother’s 5 years of life in the US.







It has been a great food year for our family, really. Pablo eats oysters, pickles, asparagus, blue cheese… you name it. He’s still an adventurous eater, the jovial eater who gulped that gazpacho a year ago, and he’s a budding cook too. We have been eating as well as I always wanted him eat, and these wonderful family meals have brought us so much joy and connection. I should say that too. 


God, it’s going to be a long post. Who has the time to read that, seriously? No matter, write it anyway.

8:30 pm. Pablo’s in bed. We’re doing dishes. And it comes to me.

Naked truth. I should just share what my day was like. My thoughts, doubts. Just be an open book. I can do that, I have come to trust this space. It feels like home.

So… thank you. You, reading these words. This blog wouldn’t exist without you. You have made my life better, made me feel helpful and useful in a small but real way, and that is so very rewarding.

There goes the Oscar speech again. All right. ’nuff said. Moving on to the chocolate cake now.

I thought a sweet treat was in order, it is an anniversary after all. I made these simple dark chocolate fondants for Mother’s day and they were a big hit. I hope you will enjoy them too.

Dark chocolate fondants

Makes about 5 (depending on size of ramekins)

Prep time: 15 mn + 2/3+ hours rest time
Cook time : 10-12 mn

Age for babies:  15 months+ is when I introduced Pablo to chocolate (as a special treat)

4 oz dark chocolate (I used organic 85% cocoa)
4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter + a little extra for the ramekins
4 oz (1/2 cup) sugar
1/2 scant cup flour
4 eggs

Break up the chocolate into a bowl, add 1 tbsp of water and melt in the microwave (in mine, in took about 1 mn 20. Or melt over very low heat on the stove).

Stick the butter in the microwave for about 12 seconds to soften it (or use room temperature).

In a large bowl, use a fork at first to work the butter and the chocolate, then a whisk until it becomes a smooth mixture.

In another medium bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together until it is foamy and light yellow/white, about 2-3 minutes. Add the flour and mix with a whisk.

Pour the egg/sugar/flour mixture into the chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly until combined. Place in the fridge for 2-3 hours (or more if you need to).

Preheat the oven at 400°F.

Butter the ramekins, fill them 3/4 of the way up with the chocolate batter.

Place in the oven, and therein lies the only tricky part of this recipe: the cooking time will vary a lot depending on your oven and the size ramekins you use, if they’re narrower or wider (then it might only need 7 or 8 minutes). Some there’s some trial and error to get the consistency just right, though this is a recipe you might not mind having to make two or  three times to get it just perfect 😉  My favorite is when there’s a crust on top, but with a liquidy center. For me with slightly narrower/taller ramekins, the sweet spot was at about 12 minutes. You can test by sticking a knife on the side and in the middle. However, I overcooked them slightly one time, by leaving them in the turned off oven, and they were still very good, just all solid. Slightly undercooked and they will kind of fall apart when you take them out of the ramekins. That being said, they are still absolutely scrumptious that way, just on the gushy side. (You can serve them in the ramekins too.)

They are delicious served warm, but also lovely cold.

Simple chocolate pudding…

First things first: happy spring everyone! It’s official, t’is the season of rebirth, and I for one, am excited about it. Secondly, a bit of “spring” housekeeping, I have finally posted a couple of new pages which I hope will be helpful… 

– A new FAQ page, with various questions I have received from readers and my answers.

Now… (deep breath, it’s a long one…) 

This article written by Yoni Freedhoff, MD, called “Why is everyone giving my kids junk food?” was recently brought to my attention, and
several people have asked me (and I have been asking myself!) how I would deal
with the onslaught of junk food out there in the world towards our children,
whether at school, at birthday parties, playdates or at any other kid events
and venues. 
I have been baffled to encounter this even as early as now (Pablo is
22 months), in a toddler art class, as I shared previously. From the looks
of it, it’s going to happen a lot more in
the coming years. This is certainly a dilemma I never expected, which French
parents mostly don’t have to deal with. Without overgeneralizing, I can say
that it is widely accepted in France that you do not eat between meals or snack indiscriminately throughout the day,
that children will eat vegetables and
have a balanced diet and not eat n’importe
quoi.
(An expression particularly hard to translate into English, used to
designate things done without care or attention or reason.) So French parents don’t have to have that impulse I think a lot of us have (given the response to that article, there are quite a lot of parents in this boat), to protect our children from the world and the “assault”of junk food given everywhere.  And
actually, I wouldn’t be too happy about not just junk food, but also snacks and
juices, however “healthy” they may be, given at any occasion outside of meal
times. (And I do have the somewhat convenient excuse to give to other adults in these circumstances, that being French, we don’t do that; the cultural explanation has sometimes been my easy way out, I must admit.)
The author did a good follow-up article on helpful ways to deal with the institutions or people that might be giving the junk food, which I highly recommend. And the good news is, more and more parents in the US (and perhaps other countries where this might be happening?) have objections to it, and so I think the seeds of change have been planted in that area… 

That said, how will I deal with this, with Pablo, in the coming years?

Well… I’ve decided I’m going to do my very best to trust him.

The fact is, our children don’t live in a bubble. They will
be confronted with all kinds of undesirables throughout their childhood and life, that are
out of our control, whether it’s the food they’re offered, or the entertainment
they’re offered, or disrespectful children and adults they may encounter…
That’s life, isn’t it? 

We can’t remove all the undesirables. But we can prepare them to deal with them (and potentially learn from them). We can’t fight all of our children’s battles for them. And I don’t
think that we should. My goal is to raise a resilient human being, who feels
capable of sound judgment, capable of going through the process of dealing with
the world, capable of developing a filter, his own filter, before doing
something. And as hard as it can sometimes be for me, I am committed to let my
child experience trial and error. I feel I would otherwise be robbing him of a valuable learning opportunity.

BUT… we can lay the groundwork.

The first couple of years of life are so crucial this way
(though I do believe you can do it with older children or adults too, it’s
never too late, perhaps just a little bit more challenging). And so here are some of the things we are doing now, and have been doing ever since we begun this journey of Pablo’s education of taste, which will hopefully help him make better decisions later on.

1. Nurture his ability to listen to his own body

I find this fascinating about babies and toddlers. This is an ability I envy
very much, and which I’m relearning with my son. As a teenager, I definitely
went into emotional eating to fill some voids and gaps in my life, and it’s
taken years (still a work in progress) to become attuned to my body again and
regain a healthy relationship with food. Young children do know how to listen
to their body. And I am convinced that if we provide the right environment or
context to nurture that ability, it will grow and stay with them. They know
when they’ve had enough to eat. Basically young children can hear their body
loud and clear, provided there is no
interference,
from us. They even know what
foods their body needs. And
we want them to keep listening – to themselves. That’s why I steer away from
any emotional association to food (no, “one last bite to please mommy”, no
“come have a cookie to make you feel better”, no “no dessert if you don’t
behave”, you get the idea…) If he lets me know he no longer wants to eat, I
comply. I also let him feed himself as much as possible, so he knows he is in charge of his intake.

I have found that the 4 meals a day structure with no
additional, on demand snacks, as well as eating slowly and in courses teaches delayed gratification. And it helps
differentiate between the “desire to eat” vs. actual hunger.  If we give a snack to a child every time he
“feels like eating”, whether truly hungry or not, they don’t get to really sense hunger (I’m talking reasonable
hunger here, not starvation obviously.) Just before mealtime, Pablo is
definitely hungry (which is why he eats so well, and gobbles with amazing
appetite his watercress soup and boiled leeks in vinaigrette under my proud eye
;-)) He has an awareness of his body
telling him it needs some nourishment. The experience of that bodily sensation, in part due to delayed gratification, I think contributes to keeping this symbiotic
relationship between mind and body. (I have actually experienced this myself as an adult.)

2. Prevent emotional eating later on

In a much broader sense,
insuring a healthy secure attachment to our children (I found much wisdom in author Daniel Siegel’s work, as well as in RIE and Janet Lansbury’s work in that area) also makes it possible for
them to listen to their body, to learn from the world, and develop a sound body
and mind.  I found in my own experience, that emotional eating can come from a void in that area. And attachment issues certainly have been known to affect a child’s way of dealing with peer pressure, which can come into play when it comes to eating junk food.
Ideally, food isn’t a tool, a means,
emotionally speaking. For reassurance, for comfort. Yes, it a means of
nourishment obviously, but I think it should be considered an end in itself. This way, it is separate from other activities,
which we do also as ends in themselves (more on this here). We eat because
it is a pleasurable experience and an opportunity to connect with our loved ones.

3. Avoid GUILT like the plague

One  instance where I have seen older children “binge”
on sweets or junk foods at parties, is because they feel they should do it
while they can, as a product of frustration. And then the whole guilt
vicious circle kicks in, which tends to stay with us through adulthood. I have
talked about this telling study I read in Karen Le Billon’s French Kids Eat Everything of most
Americans’ response to the picture of a chocolate cake, vs. most French
people’s reaction: Americans think “calories” and “guilt”, the French think
“pleasure”, “celebration”. I find this so
revealing.  Nothing like guilt and
dieting to make you want to inhale a whole chocolate cake or pint of ice
cream!  
The French tend to talk much
more about a balanced diet, than a healthy diet, they talk about “paying attention” to what they eat, vs.
dieting or self-depriving.
French children definitely enjoy sweets or savory treats, and mostly, I
think they do so guilt-free. Snack time (430p ish) is usually the opportunity
to have a sweet treat, for example, a piece of cake, a pastry even, something
of their choice usually. It makes those treats, in moderation, commonplace, no big deal, not something to pine for
and gorge on at the first opportunity. A lot of French families bake together
with children on weekends, and the cake is kept for snack time, creating a
wonderful sense of anticipation, and creating a pleasurable experience.

The
French would also let their kids have things like a few pieces of candy, French
fries, some potato chips or cheese crackers, a soda or juice, on special occasions, on vacations, for the occasional apéritif (pre-dinner snacks and drinks usually offered to guests at a dinner party, to munch on before sitting at the dinner table.) So instead of creating guilt around those things, they create a sense of
pleasure, celebration, and moderation at the same time. A sense that these
things are special, to be enjoyed
thoroughly – which is a nice little lesson in the enjoyment of the present
moment as well. Guilt-free.

That will absolutely be my strategy with Pablo, while emphasizing
enjoyment, the “special” factor, moderation, the need for balance. I don’t want to instill in Pablo a sense of guilt every time he has, or wants a “treat”. The fact is, there are times where we all feel like eating something, even though we may not be hungry. Denying that is futile. Acknowledgement, enjoyment and moderation are key.

4. Explain it to him

That each family has their way, that we don’t snack
indiscriminately so we better enjoy meals together. I have done this already. At 20 months,
he understood that we didn’t eat the popcorn offered in art class because we’re
going to eat lunch soon, and it’s going to be delicious and we don’t want to
spoil our appetite. Basically, let’s wait
for something better.
(And I guess a prerequisite for that, is that lunch is in fact better, i.e. that we eat
well, things that are really good and enjoyable and flavorful. That argument
might be less convincing if we were going home to eat boiled broccoli with dry
chicken.) Which brings me to my next point…

5. Show him how good, good food can be

Meaning, cooking delicious meals, making the food taste
good. And this is a commitment, for sure. A lot of people have told me they
just don’t have the time, and absolutely, this is a significant time, and to a certain
extent, financial commitment: to buy quality products, variety, to spend the
time to cook them in different ways.

6. Be a model

Really, this is the most important way in which our children
learn anything. They’re watching us, all the time. If we snack all throughout
the day, yoyo diet, binge on junk food and then deprive ourselves of
everything  (all things I have done in
the past, before I had Pablo), then that’s the model we give our children. In
our family, we have really found a balance which I’m happy with as a model for
Pablo:  we eat well during mealtimes, do not eat
between meals, we rarely have junk food, we splurge on little treats once in a
while, in moderation, and this guilt-free, thoroughly enjoyable way to eat has,
quite simply, improved the quality of our life.

Well, if you’ve made this far into the post (sorry, it’s a bear!) you deserve a sweet treat… (Oh, sorry, we don’t use food as rewards, forget that then ;-)) I have recently made chocolate pudding for Pablo’s “goûter”, inspired by a type of pudding I used to love as a child in France, named Danette (a household brand name in France). You have gathered, I’m sure, from some of these images, that Pablo enjoyed it thoroughly!

This is very easy to make, and incidentally, it has the same
quantity of sugar as a fruit compote, if not a little less. Chocolate has many
health benefits as well (cocoa is high in magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron…), and French children eat it in
moderation, guilt-free, especially at snack time.

Chocolate pudding (homemade “Danette”)

Serves 6

Prep time: 10 mn (+ rest time in the fridge 2 hrs or more)
Cook time: 5 mn

Age for babies: 12 months and up

2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup quinoa flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup organic cocoa powder (unsweetened, non-alkaline)

In a pan (but not over heat yet), combine the flour, sugar and cocoa powder. Incorporate the cold milk, whisking vigorously (still no heat). Now turn on heat on medium and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. As soon as it boils, remove from heat, and keep stirring, until thicker (it comes to the consistency of yogurt, or maybe a little bit less thick). 

Place in individual ramekins or a larger bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Stir before serving. (It can keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.)

I served it to Pablo (I had some too!) with a couple of Petit Beurre cookies (basically simple butter biscuits).

Chocolate hazelnut flourless cake

It’s the day before Thanksgiving. Stateside, everyone is busy getting ready for the holiday… including myself. So I will make this one short… and sweet. Very sweet indeed.

No pumpkin, no pecans, no pie or cream. Just pure chocolate goodness.

I had bought some hazelnut butter to make chocolate hazelnut pots de crème from Cannelle & Vanille (delicious, by the way), and wanted to find other ways to use it.

This flourless cake is remarkably healthy as far as desserts go, with very little sugar, and we found it was a perfect balance of chocolate and hazelnut. Pablo, who has more of a weakness for cheese than a sweet tooth, did enjoy licking that bowl thoroughly!

 

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving, and being ever so grateful for every one of you reading these words, wherever you may be.

Chocolate Hazelnut Flourless Cake

Prep time: 20 mn

Cook time: 20 mn

 

Age for babies: From 12 months, as a rare treat, though I didn’t give Pablo chocolate until 15 months.

3.5 oz dark chocolate (70%)

3/4 cup unsalted, unsweetened hazelnut butter

3 tbsp milk

3 1/2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp potato starch (or corn starch)

4 eggs (4 yolks, 3 whites)

Preheat the oven at 350°F.

Mix the hazelnut butter with the milk, warming it for about a minute in the microwave.

Melt the chocolate either in a hot water bath or in the microwave with 1 tbsp of water.

Mix the hazelnut butter and chocolate together, let cool.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar, add in the potato starch. Then incorporate the egg mixture into the chocolate-hazelnut cream. Mix well.

Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold them in gently with a rubber spatula in the chocolate-hazelnut mixture.

Pour the mixture in a buttered cake mold or individual molds.

Bake for about 20 minutes if in a square cake mold (7-9 minutes if in smaller individual molds).

Awesome orange (and chocolate) cake

So I found this awesome recipe for a wonderful orange and chocolate cake that is super easy to prepare and doesn’t even have any butter in it, so you do not have to feel guilty if you have one slice too many….

Awesome orange (and chocolate) cake

Ingredients

  • 3 organic oranges
  • 11oz. of sugar
  • 5 oz. flour
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 2 teaspoos baking soda
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • saffron (optional)
  • For the glaze

  • 9 oz. chocolate
  • 1 cup milk or cream or half-half depending on how naughty you feel

Directions

  1. First take 3 organic oranges (it is important that they are organic because you are using everything, including the peel and orange peel apparently absorbs pesticides like a sponge…). Cut them into fourth and place them in a blender, peel and all. Once they are blended down to a pulp, add 11oz. (300g) of sugar, 5oz. (150g) of flour, 4 whole eggs, 2 table spoons of vegetable oil and 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Mix everything until you have a rather smooth and liquid mixture. Pour the mixture in a cake mold and bake it in the oven for 40-50 min at 380-400F.
  2. For the ganache:

  3. If I do the cake just for myself to snack on for breakfast or so, this is the end of the cake, it is awesome just like it is and as there is no butter in it I don’t feel that guilty eating it. But if you want to make an impression, or you loooooooooove chocolate, you can glaze it with chocolate. This is how I do it.
  4. Break about 9oz. of chocolate into small pieces (use good quality chocolate, it’s worth it!) and add 1 cup of boiling hot heavy whipping cream (or half half or even milk if you are watching your waistline), mix it until the chocolate is all melted. If the mixture becomes cold too quickly and chocolate doesn’t melt entirely, pop it in the microwave for about 10-20 seconds, mix again and repeat if necessary. Never let the chocolate in the microwave for more than 20 sec otherwise you risk overheating it and it separates.
  5. Now cut the cold cake in half and spread some of the chocolate ganache (that is the name of the chocolate sauce) in the middle, recompose the cake and use the rest of the ganache to glaze the cake.
  6. I prepared the glazed version yesterday as a thank you cake…. hopefully it will be successful!
  7. Note on the ganache:

  8. Now the correct procedure to make chocolate ganache, would be to warm up the cream, put the chocolate in a double boiler, with the water at a simmer, pour the boiling cream onto the chocolate and let melt in the double boiler. I find that with this procedure, overheating the chocolate is easier, plus is much more practical to use a plastic microwavable bowl than a double boiler and the results are great anyway….

3.1

– Add a handful of chocolate chips to the cake mixture
– Add saffron to the cake mixture (not sure what it does, but it is in the original recipe, I did it both with and without saffron and didn’t really notice any difference)
– Add a bit of rum or grand marnier to the mixture
– Soak the cake in liquor before glazing it
– Don’t add any oil ( I baked the cake once forgetting the oil, and there was no noticeable difference in the final result)

Decadent Italian hot chocolate

So after a very snowy winter and totally unanticipated, last week spring arrived to the mid west and the thaw began: mush, puddles, mud and a nice warm sun that made you feel like going out and walk around despite the above mentioned puddles. Finally on Friday, the worst of the thaw was over, sidewalk started to be more or less dry and the snow was only on some grass patches. And then the wind started blowing and from close to 50F on Thursday we went down to below 10F on Friday night…. And then it got warmer again, but it started snowing, snowing like crazy! And my BF is stuck in Canada and is cold and snowy again…. So to avoid depression I took the occasion to whip up some decadent Italian hot chocolate.

The thing about Italian hot chocolate is that, differently from all other chocolates, it is super thick, think bechamel or almost pudding thick. And that makes it rich and super comforting (and makes all other chocolates super boring and disappointing).

So here is how you do it. It is easy enough that you probably will abandon prepackaged mixes forever!

Decadent Italian hot chocolate

Decadent Italian hot chocolate

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of flour or cornstarch
  • 3/4 cups of milk

Directions

    1. In a small pot or sauce pan (depending on how many people you want to treat) mix 1 spoon of sugar, 1 spoon of flour and 1 spoon of unsweetened cocoa powder. Now add a 3/4 cup of milk per person and mix well.
    2. Turn on the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat and keep mixing until the chocolate has thickened up (this takes no more than a few minutes). It should be at least thick enough to coat a spoon and you can keep boiling more if you want it thicker. Of course cooling down to a sippable temperature will also make it slightly thicker, so keep that in mind too.

  1. You can also add aromas to the initial mix, I sometimes add a bit of ginger, or you could add orange peel or a bit of chili powder or even caramelize the sugar. And to cut calories you can even substitute part (or even all) of the milk with water. Of course with milk the thing is much more decadent, so I think I’d rather save calories by cutting the serving size than by substituting the milk with water.