03 January 2008


last spring i spent the night at RAF and JP's duplex in l.a. for the first time. and on saturday morning, RAF made chocolat chaud--french hot chocolate. just imagine smooth, dark hot chocolate that's intensely rich and perfectly delicious. with toasted challah to dip in it. i fell in love with the first sip.

sometime in the summer after RAF had made me more chocolat chaud one morning, i asked him if a hand mixer would whip up the chocolat chaud well enough. he thought not, but suggested using a traditional blender since i didn't have an immersion blender (which the recipe requires). and then for my birthday in september, RAF and JP surprised me with my very own immersion blender. bless them!

last night i introduced j(wh) to the beauty that is chocolat chaud. i had some 80% cocoa christian constant chocolate bars RAF brought me from paris and we picked up whole milk and some brioche at trader joe's. j(wh) gamely went along with my plan for dipping toasted brioche into hot chocolate, though he later told me he'd been a skeptic when i suggested it. he was quickly converted. you may initially be a skeptic, too, but i think everyone should know the beauty of chocolat chaud with toasted bread (an egg bread works best, thus the challah or brioche). so here's the recipe:

chocolat chaud (hot chocolate)
adapted from the recipe used at ladurée.

3 cups (750 grams) whole milk
1/3 cup (80 grams) water
1/3 cup (65 grams) sugar
6 ounces (175 grams) bittersweet chocolate (at least 80% cocoa), finely chopped

to make chocolate:
bring the milk, water, and sugar just to the boil in a medium saucepan. remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate. the hot chocolate needs to be blended at this point. at ladurée, this is done with a hand-held blender (also called an immersion blender). if you have an immersion blender, leave the hot chocolate in the pan and whip it for 1 minute. if you don't have an immersion blender, transfer the hot chocolate to a traditional blender and whip on high speed for 1 minute. serve the chocolate immediately while it is still hot and frothy.

to reheat chilled hot chocolate:
the chocolate can be made up to two days ahead and kept tightly covered in the refrigerator. to reheat, warm the chocolate in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring gently, just until the first bubble pops on the surface. pull the pan from the heat, whip the chocolate for 1 minute with an immersion blender (or in a traditional blender), and serve immediately.

to make cold hot chocolate:
chill the hot chocolate until it is very cold, then stir in 3/4 cup (200 grams) cold milk. whip the cold chocolate for 1 minute with an immersion blender (or in a traditional blender). serve the cold hot chocolate over an ice cube or two. the cold hot chocolate allegedly makes for a yummy ice cream float, too.

make yourself a pot of chocolat chaud, toast yourself some strips of brioche, and indulge in a perfectly decadent breakfast or late night snack.

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