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When temperatures dip, Noah Dan, founder of Pitango Gelato, starts warming up guests with hot Italian sipping chocolate.
“It’s not like anything that comes from a powdered mix,” says Dan, who took inspiration for Pitango’s hot chocolate from the classic cafés of Turin, Italy. “True sipping chocolate must be dark, thick, intense, complex and, like all good things in life, bittersweet.”
The prep is simple, as the recipe contains only three basic ingredients: High-quality cocoa, milk and sugar. The real trick is finding the right cocoa powder because at this level of concentration any negative characteristics in the cocoa will be amplified, making the result less than stellar. Pitango uses organic cocoa from Costa Rica, which has a pure, intense chocolate flavor.
To make the cocoa, combine 2/3 cup cocoa and 1/3 cup sugar in a medium saucepan. Gradually add three cups of milk to the cocoa and sugar over low heat, mixing to avoid lumps. Be sure that the milk is heated but never reaches a boil. Continue mixing the chocolate on low heat until it is fully blended and thickens to a rich consistency.
Thick and potent, hot sipping chocolate is the equivalent of a coffee purist’s ultimate espresso. As such, this “adult” version of hot chocolate is meant to be savored slowly, in small portions (5 ounces or less). If the pure version doesn't cure what ails you, here are a few classic variations that use this hot chocolate as a base.
Five Hot Chocolate Variations: Noah Dan
1. With whipped cream
4. Hot gianduja
For homemade hazelnut butter, I recommend going the regular nut butter recipe route: Toast hazelnuts until lightly golden. Remove the skins and grind in a food processor until it becomes a smooth paste. You might need to add a little oil (use a neutral oil like canola) to achieve a smooth consistency."
5. Spicy hot chocolate
What's your favorite variation of hot chocolate? Spill your warming recipes in the comments below.
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