steamed milk - it is not just for coffee any more - and then again a little coffee never hurt.

Hot chocolate – espresso style.  With the colder weather my kids have turned their attention to the joys of hot chocolate.  I remember the discovery when I was a kid of how much better it was if you made hot chocolate with milk than water – in retrospect, I am not sure anyone ever makes it with water.  Getting a little older it occurred to me that hot chocolate would be best with steamed milk.  The sweetness and texture and creaminess all make it rise above the simpler taste of heated milk.

My kids are huge fans.  They agree with me that steamed milk is the way to go.  Aka “I want daddy hot cocoa” (made with my espresso gear) as opposed to the mommy version made in a microwave.

Today just for fun I pulled a shot of espresso at the same time and made three cups of cocoa – one for each kid and one for me, to which I dropped in the shot.  It was great.  Sure I could have gotten away with lesser coffee since the flavor was muted and overwhelmed by the chocolate goodness, but I had no complaints.

Now the next thing I would like to pursue is the Spanish version of hot chocolate.  I had it once or twice over there when I was much younger and I think they did make it on an espresso machine, but I am not sure.  In any event it was much thicker than anything I could find in the US, Italy, or anywhere else I have been in Europe either.   It was so thick you could stand your churro (think sugar coated stick like donut if you haven’t had one).

Truth be told I think the secret to it is really good chocolate combined with corn starch as a thickener.

Here is my recipe – steam 2 cups of milk, melt 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, and mix in 1 tablespoon of cornstarch until it is dissolved.  Whisk together and let stand.  You can also try adding the melted chocolate and cornstarch before steaming and steam it all together, but I am always nervous about getting foreign objects near my steam wand.  

It is a start, but I welcome suggestions for improvements (including the obvous of adding that shot of coffee)!

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