Stir things up with this decadent hot chocolate recipe.
Step 1: Chop the chocolate Finely chop or grate the chocolate. Set aside about two teaspoons for later. Use whatever chocolate you like—bittersweet, semisweet, unsweetened, milk chocolate, or a combination thereof.
TIP: Some chocolates now label the cacao percentage, which is the portion of the chocolate that comes directly from the cacao bean. In general, the more the cacao, the less sweet the chocolate.
Step 2: Beat the cream and sugar Combine the cream and sugar in a bowl, and beat with an electric mixer until it forms stiff peaks. Set aside.
Step 3: Heat the milk and chocolate Place the milk and the chopped chocolate in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture comes to a simmer.
TIP: Spice it up with a few drops of peppermint oil or vanilla extract, a pinch of ground cinnamon or red chili powder, or the zest of half an orange.
Step 4: Top it off Divide the mixture between two mugs, top with a dollop of whipped cream, and sprinkle on the reserved chocolate.
Step 5: Liquor it up To add a little kick, consider slipping in a jigger of coconut rum, peppermint schnapps, or orange or coffee-flavored liqueur.
FACT: In the early 19th century, hot chocolate was a beverage reserved for the privileged classes.