Winter spiced hot chocolate isn’t just for Christmas! We can treat ourselves to a warming treat of spiced hot chocolate any day of the year. In Ireland it is the perfect weather for hot chocolate. Having spent Christmas in Spain visiting my family who live there, imagine my shock at arriving to 3 degrees after a warm winter break! So I figured winter spiced hot chocolate was on the menu! It is rich, it is tasty, it is indulgent, but you can rest assured that it is healthy in a decadent sort of way.
Made from good quality dark chocolate chips, fresh or dairy-free milk and sweet spices it has no nasty processed ingredients so it is indulgence without too much guilt! This can be served with or without whipped cream and topped with a healthy sprinkling of cinnamon or a naughty sprinkling of crushed natural candy cane. The choice is yours!
For a Mediterranean twist squeeze some fresh oranges and add half a cup to your recipe for Hot Orange Chocolate. I use good quality dark chocolate chips with 70% cocoa. My favourite is from O’Conaill Chocolate based in Cork.
All those years you thought chocolate was bad for you then think again! Dark chocolate contains antioxidants to help fight against disease. It also contains a valuable source of iron, magnesium, manganese and copper. But it doesn’t mean you should eat as much as you like either! I stay away from milk chocolate as this has the opposite effect and has very low content of cocoa. The higher the content the better, although the higher number the more bitter it tastes. Start with a 50% and work up to at least 70%. You’ll be amazed how your tastes buds change and soon you will only choose dark chocolate over milk.
I think my taste buds started to change in France where I lived for 3 years. Every time I ordered a coffee it would be served with a square of dark chocolate. I had never even considered choosing dark over milk chocolate and now I find it hard to tolerate the sweetness of milk chocolate.
For those of you just over the flu this is a treat if there ever was one! It will pick you up in minutes and give you that happy feeling you felt at Christmas!
To make this winter spiced hot chocolate is very easy and in less than 20 minutes you will be sipping a warm, richly spiced hot chocolate:
Winter Spiced Hot Chocolate
- 700ml full-fat milk or dairy-free milk
- 200ml single cream or coconut cream
- 170g dark chocolate chips,70% cocoa
- 1-2 tablespoons coconut sugar, optional
- Seeds from 5 cardamom pods, ground in a pestle and mortar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 whole star anise
- 70ml double cream, for topping
- ground cinnamon, candy cane or sprinkles, for topping
- Place the milk and single cream in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the sugar, if using.
- Place the spices in the milk mixture and warm until the sugar has dissolved. Leave to rest for 10 minutes to let the sweet spices infuse.
- Add the dark chocolate chips. Turn on the heat to low and slowly bring to just under the boil, stirring continuously until the chocolate drops melt. Turn off the heat.
- Beat the double cream with an electric beater until stiff.
- Remove the star anise from the hot chocolate and pour the warm hot chocolate into glasses or mugs.
- Pipe a swirl of cream on each hot chocolate and top with ground cinnamon, crushed candy cane or sprinkles.
For a Mediterranean twist: Add half a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice to the hot chocolate mixture before heating.