This silky, dark hot chocolate from L'Ecole Valrhona Pastry Chef, Derek Poirier, is not the hot cocoa you grew up with. Guanaja 70%, Valrhona’s extra bittersweet chocolate keeps it intensely bittersweet, while whole milk and heavy cream give body and richness. A splash of vodka lands it firmly in adult beverage territory. If you prefer a bolder-tasting booze, Bourbon or tequila make excellent substitutions.
- 9 oz. high-quality bittersweet chocolate (1½ cups if coarsely chopped or in chunks), such as Valrhona Guanaja 70%
- 1 1⁄2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1⁄2 cup vodka
- Whipped cream, marshmallows, or caramel sauce, for serving (optional)
In a double boiler or small bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water, add the chocolate. Heat gently, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula, until fully melted and smooth, then turn off the heat, leaving the bowl of chocolate over the hot water while you heat the liquids.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the the milk and cream. Set over medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Once simmering, immediately remove from the heat.
Transfer the warm melted chocolate to the jug of a blender. Begin to blend on low speed, slowly adding one quarter of the hot milk mixture while you blend. Continue blending until the mixture is completely homogenous, then, with the blender still running, slowly drizzle in the remaining hot milk mixture. Blend until the hot chocolate is very smooth and completely emulsified, 10-15 seconds more. Add the vodka and blend an additional 2-3 seconds to incorporate.
Transfer to a serving container, or divide the hot chocolate between mugs or heat-resistant glasses. Serve hot, topped with whipped cream, marshmallows, or caramel sauce if desired.