Classic Drinking Chocolate (serves 6-12). This can be made ahead of time, but keep in mind that the spices intensify over time.
2 1/2 cups whole milk
4 ounces 99% unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it's hot to the touch. Whisk in the chocolate and sugar ad continue whisking for 1-2 minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the vanilla, the cinnamon, and the cayenne. Reduce the heat to low. The chocolate will thicken as it sits.
For a lighter, airy consistency, remove the hot chocolate from the heat and mix with a hand blender on low speed just before serving. Or make ahead and use the frother of an espresso machine to reheat it. Individual servings can be topped with frothed milk.
All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010