Christmas is only a few days away! 2015 is coming to a close but I’m savoring the last two weeks of the year and the holiday season! The weather here has been unusually warm but even with the sixty-five degree chill in the air, I crave warm hot chocolate. As a child, I used to enjoy the powdery Swiss Miss packets with those crunchy marshmallows that would seem to evaporate instantly upon contact with the light chocolate drink. To make it richer, I would use milk instead of hot water and enjoy a cup along with some Christmas cartoons. Now, my palate has thankfully improved even though my love for hot chocolate remains the same. I’ve tried many other ‘instant’ hot cocoa mixes, some better quality than others, but in the end I decided to go the European way.

The chocolate obsession begins for children at a young age in Europe. In France, children drink chocolat chaud for breakfast and I know that when my husband was a child, he would have chocolate spread on a piece of toast before school. For them Nutella is a staple! It is such a part of their culture and they always go for the real deal; a chocolate that is pure, thick and decadently rich. When my husband first tasted Reese’s, he hated it. When he tried a Hershey bar, he felt it tasted ‘fake’.  And, I must agree! I much prefer the strong chocolate than the mass produced kind now. Though, I will never turn down a s’more made with Hershey!

 I thought this would be slightly more effort than it actually was. Dangerous for me, it is quite simple so I know I can whip it up anytime. There is just something so classic about being cozy with a hot cup of cocoa with cream. Snow falling outside and a Christmas film playing in the background makes for a sweet and comforting winter night.

HOT CHOCOLATE

Ingredients

8 oz Bittersweet Chocolate (bars work best but chips will do as well)
1 tsp powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp of espresso powder (to enhance the flavor and give you a kick!)

Over medium heat, take a saucepan and add your milk, heavy cream and sugar until it warms up. Do not let it boil.

Remove from heat and and add your chocolate right away so it melts. I used Godiva chocolate for this recipe though Nestle would be good too! Return your pan to a low heat and stir continuously. Add your espresso powder. Serve warm and top with whipped cream.

This made enough for my husband and I to have a full mug and we had enough left over for two additional mugs to give to friends! Enjoy this French chocolate chaud and say good-bye to powdered packets for good!