We’ve been drinking a lot of chocolate lately. When I mean a lot I mean pounds.
Not only is it a favorite creation in the house, we’ve been trying to figure out a blend of chocolate and spices that would be a fantastic Winter time delight.
What makes a good drinking chocolate? Why not use just cocoa? How hard can a blend be? Let’s see if we can’t explore this a little and as always we’d love your input into what you find a favorite homemade chocolate concoction.
It begins with chocolate desire…
As the temperatures dip and a fire becomes regular something is missing whether it’s gooey smores or a warm beverage between your hands. We were probably nibbling on some left over truffles when it struck us to use the couverture chocolate we use everyday to make some hot chocolate.
The Chocolate Research Begins
Any quick study of the landscape of hot chocolate beverages will land you in a flurry of camps of thoughts. Use cocoa and reintroduce the fats, a lot of sugar, and some vigorous blending until reintegrated. Sounds fun? The other camp uses a variety of couverture chocolates melted into water or milk and add a bit of sugar.
We tried a few combinations of each, and even a few in the middle, and found our favorites on just the chocolate palatability to be in the solid chocolate camp. Like our truffles why should we add filler when you don’t need to? I posted our recipe from last year on Quora: What is a good recipe for hot cocoa or hot chocolate.
A few points to think on.
- Cocoa powder adds richness and intensity but not much flavor.
- Chocolate adds body, definition, and character–make sure you pick something you like to eat.
- Bittersweet will be too bitter.
- 60-70% chocolate is a great place to be.
- Liquids, the carriers of everything. Your choice here will be instrumental in your final product.
- Water adds no character and will create a rather thin product. Might also require a corn starch to thicken to your liking.
- Heavy cream is great in an espresso cup but not for really a long draught.
- Milk (2% or whole) is a great carrier but if your lactose intolerant..
- Almond milk, good body and carrier, little nutty taste can balance wonderfully with cacao.
- Soy, similar consistency to almond milk or 2% but the aftertaste was off-putting.
- Coconut milk/cream, lush and deep–will almost remind one of heavy cream. The flavor while nice will override subtle infusions you might try. Great for an almond joy drinking chocolate.
The Shop, The Audience
Now we have a shop and we’re no longer toting machines to markets. At our inception we wanted to do something large, like we always do. Our thoughts lingered on picking from any of our available ganaches and making that into a drinking chocolate. The logistics of that kind of idea though really weighed down getting the product out. We’re not setup like a cafe so in trials it created a lot of lag from order to delivery. We don’t want that. We want something that is good, but still convenient.
We thought some more. Who loves their drinking chocolate, what are their dietary requirements, what kind of drinking chocolate do we make, and many more.
What we came up with was something that should appease most camps and let us get this fantastic treat out.
Drinking Chocolate is Seriously Good,
and it’s Vegan Friendly
Seriously. All we are using now is 60% TCHO chocolate (the base of most of our ganaches), cocoa powder, and almond milk.
It is phenomenal.
No extra sugar. No thickeners Just a lot of chocolate, good chocolate, that thickens and coats a spoon well.
We’ll be rolling this out soon as the air is already growing chilly here in the Carolinas. This year we’re going to keep it simple since we’re still feeling it out. We plan on offering an infused version of drinking chocolate on a weekly or bi-monthly rotation.