Move over hot cocoa. It’s time to have rich and decadent, thick Italian hot chocolate! Get your hands on some intense dark chocolate and pull out your whisk. In just a few minutes you’ll be sipping on a drink which is somewhere between a chocolate ganache and drinkable pudding. And will make all your chocolate dreams come true!
A few weeks ago, when I was deciding what beverage would grace my blog in December, my daughter had a complaint. She was tired of me making all sorts of yummy cocktails which she was too young to enjoy. It didn’t seem fair! And I couldn’t argue with her.
It wasn’t fair.
Even though she does enjoy Brussels sprouts more than I would have expected in a twelve-year-old, fun and festive drinks are certainly going to be more exciting! Not too surprising since fun and festive drinks are more exciting for sprout loving adults as well. 🙂
Therefore, I cast my mind in the direction of warming, kid-friendly drinks. I knew I wanted a hot beverage for December and I knew I wanted chocolate, so it didn’t take long for me to alight on Italian hot chocolate.
Tip: Keep a spoon on hand when enjoying cioccolata calda. It can get quite thick as it cools and you may prefer to scoop it out rather than drink it!
While I was familiar with the concept of cioccolata calda, I wasn’t sure about the details. It seemed to be a drink of chocolate, milk, and a thickener of some sort, and a quick google survey showed me I was right. Italian hot chocolate turns out to be quite simple! Bittersweet (or at least semisweet) chocolate, half and half, a little cornstarch, and some sugar if you need it.
And that’s it!
Well, except for the bit that I decided an infusion of cinnamon would be a totally excellent addition to the recipe. So, I told my family that I would have to make the hot chocolate…again.
They were crushed. 🙂
But they rallied and agreed to try the cinnamon version and gave it a big thumbs up! Phew.
Tip: If you are sensitive to caffeine, be careful about having more than a few ounces of the hot chocolate late in the day. Too much bittersweet chocolate can keep you up at night!
One last run through, and a pile of chocolaty photos later, and I bring you cinnamon infused thick Italian hot chocolate for all your cold weather, chocolate sipping needs!
A few points about the recipe:
- Yes, have a spoon. The operative word here is thick!
- Stick close to your cooktop. A few minutes inattention and you could burn the hot chocolate or turn it lumpy.
- You only need a little cup. The other operative word is rich!
- Whipped cream is an optional topping which I highly recommend.
– Happy sipping, Annemarie
Cinnamon Infused Thick Italian Hot Chocolate (Cioccolata Calda)
- 1 1/2 cups half and half or whole milk
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar and more if needed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 3.5 oz dark chocolate: semisweet or bittersweet, finely chopped
- toppings: powdered cinnamon, whipped cream
- In a medium saucepan, heat 1 1/4 cups of half and half (reserve the remaining 1/4 cup) with the sugar and cinnamon stick on medium heat. Stir occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the milk is starting to bubble, 7-8 minutes.
- Mix the reserved half and half with the cornstarch until smooth. Add the slurry to the bubbling half and half. Bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking constantly and simmer for 1 minute.
- Add the chopped chocolate and whisk it into the half and half until it is completely melted and smooth and the hot chocolate is quite hot, 2-3 minutes. Taste and stir in another tablespoon of sugar if needed. Remove the cinnamon stick.
- Pour the hot chocolate into 4 small cups. Top with whipped cream and powdered cinnamon.