Without a drop of irony, I seek out museum cafes when I travel. They are predictably good and often have menus that match the exhibits. But sometimes all you need is a cup of hot chocolate and a baked good.
It can be dangerous to relive an experience — you might be disappointed. But each time I’ve been to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, I’ve eaten at their café and with dessert, ordered their hot chocolate. Without a doubt, this is the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had.
We’re not talking about a chocolate-sugar powder packet with water. No… I’m talking about hot chocolate so thick it could be a batter*; a dark, rich, and barely sweetened chocolate experience that will leave you seeing bright colors if you have more than one.
Pretend you’re on holiday where calories never count; don’t look at the nutrition labels; and make yourself a cup of heaven, my version of the Uffizi Gallery’s Hot Chocolate.
Here’s the recipe:
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch processed work)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (more if you prefer sweeter, which would make it taste more traditionally American.)
Optional Garnishes or Add-ins
- Add the peel of an orange while simmering; remove before serving
- Whipped cream
- Semi-sweet chocolate shavings
- Off the heat, place cocoa power and sugar in a two-quart sauce pan. Whisk in two tablespoons of the milk to make a paste, which will remove cocoa powder lumps and allow for better distribution with the rest of the ingredients
- Using a serrated knife, chop the chocolate into small pieces for quicker melting
- Place the chocolate into the sauce pan with the cocoa paste, and add the remaining milk and cream and set heat to medium. Slowly, but consistetly, whisk until the chocolate melts, the sugar and cocoa paste is completely dissolved and bubbles start forming around the pan (about 7-10 minutes). Pour into 4-6 cups
*Fun fact: If you had used half and half instead of milk, added 3/4 cup of sugar and tempered six egg yolks into this the mixture, you’d have chocolate ice cream batter! Once chilled, it would be ready to process per your machine’s instructions.