Recipe: Chocolate Espresso
Head chocolatier at Edward & Irwyn Edda Holt explains how to make a deliciously indulgent winter drink
For the hot chocolate:
450ml whole milk
15g (about 2 tbsp) of the best cocoa powder you can lay your hands on (we recommend Valrhona)
40g of dark chocolate (about 60% cocoa solids)
A pinch of sea salt
Muscovado sugar (optional)
For the honey cream:
1 vanilla pod
100ml double cream
1 tsp of your best honey
(serves 4, with top-ups)
This is how I make and drink my hot chocolate, and it very much encourages people to experiment for themselves by adding in spices or herbs to infuse in the milk, and sweetening it to taste. We have affectionately named it The Chocolatier's Breakfast at the kitchen, since that's how we normally drink it, and it gives you the most almighty buzz.
The quality of the cocoa powder is paramount here. For me it has to be Valrhona cocoa powder. I recommend using a good quality dark chocolate, but nothing too bitter. Around 60% cocoa solids is perfect. For the slightly braver amongst us, it can be drunk almost savoury, without the Muscovado, and sipped through the cold, sweet, honey cream. But it is equally amazing with the added depth of flavour from the dark brown sugar, and a splash of booze.
Score the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape the seeds out and put them in a bowl with the double cream and honey. Set aside in the fridge.
Put the rest of the vanilla pod in with the milk and the cocoa powder in a small pan and set over a low heat. If you wish, you could add some spices in at this point (a sprig of fresh rosemary, a pinch of chilli or some freshly grated nutmeg are all excellent). When the milk is warm, but not boiling, take it off the heat and allow it to infuse for about ten minutes. Return it to a very low heat and add in the chocolate and salt, and whisk continuously as the chocolate emulsifies. At this point it is virtually savoury, so have a taste and add in a bit more chocolate or some dark Muscovado sugar if it's not sweet enough.
Take the reserved cream, vanilla and honey from the fridge and whisk until thickened, but still pourable. Once your hot chocolate is nice and hot (but don't let it boil!) strain out your spices, taste one last time for sweetness, return to the pot and whisk vigorously to aerate it a bit. Throw in a glug of rum, if you wish, and then serve in wee cups, a bit like an espresso, with some of the honey cream poured on top. It is also excellent served in bowls with fresh bread or brioche to dip.
Edda Holt, head chocolatier, Edward & Irwyn, edwardandirwyn.co.uk.