And so, suddenly, it is the last day of winter for us southern-hemisphere-dwellers… and I have mixed feelings about it.
This may seem odd given that I’ve been loudly declaring my hatred for all things cold and wintry, but it suddenly struck me that this is officially the end of hot chocolate weather. In fact, it is the end of chocolate weather PERIOD because from here on out it’s a steep, slippery slope to bikini season – BOOOOO! *waves pitchfork threateningly with wobbly bingo-winged arm*.
So before you start packing all those lovely, forgiving knitted garments away, and start wondering if it is indeed time to invest in those magical stomach-flattening galvanised-elastic slimming girdles from the home shopping network – join me in one last toast to the end of the chocolate affair.
This recipe is based on Callum Hann’s from his book The Starter Kitchen; it’s a rich, thick, outrageously chocolatey concoction somewhere between ganache and custard and it is absolutely anti-bikini-body. I swear you can actually see your hips expanding as you sip, but I promise it’s all totally worth it. You will gladly go to gym five times a week and munch on raw celery with a smile on your face, all for this divine stuff. It doesn’t have to end there – this could be your last overindulgence ’til winter rolls round again so top it with an enormous marshmallow, add a splash of amaretto or frangelico, or just make a double quantity and don’t share it.
For two (or one – you decide) cups of the best hot chocolate in the whole word ever:
100g good chocolate – milk or dark. I use 70%.
Heat the milk up to that point where it’s about to start boiling – the surface will look kind of shivery and a bit of steam may waft off of it. I do this in the microwave, because it’s quick and there’s no time to lose when there’s chocolate at the end. Meanwhile, break the chocolate up into chunks and beat the eggs together. I find that it’s best to heat the milk in a jug and prepare the eggs in another jug (or anything easy to pour from). Waste not, want not. This is chocolate we’re dealing with.
When the milk is hot, add the chocolate chunks and stir until it’s melted. This will not take long if you bought good quality chocolate. If you bought cut-price leftover easter-eggs, keep stirring and don’t get too excited.
Then, add the molten chocolate milk mix little bit by little bit to the eggs while stirring. This is so that you don’t end up with chocolate scrambled eggs. When a quarter to a third of the chocolate milk is mixed into the eggs, pour the egg mix into the milk mix and keep stirring. It will thicken and become glossy and a thing of luscious beauty – pour it into warm mugs through a sieve (Callum’s book doesn’t include this step but this experience should not be marred by stray snotty bits from the egg). You may need more milk if it’s too thick, and if you’re using dark chocolate you may want to add a little sugar to taste.
Settle in with a fluffy blanky and an equally fluffy read (I find that Katie Fforde is the perfect literary marshmallow, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible) and then allow yourself to sink into this one last cuppa yumminess.