European style hot chocolate is so rich and decadent, you can serve this to your guests as a warm, comforting dessert.
When I was growing up in the Midwest, peanuts and almonds seemed to be my go-to nuts of choice. When I moved to Europe, I was introduced to the heavenly properties of hazelnuts. They immediately became my favorite nut flavor. I was amazed at how popular the hazelnut flavor was in Germany. The ice cream truck would come around with their amazing, fresh ice creams. I would get the perfect sized cone for a Deutsche Mark – about 60 cents back then. And my favorite flavor of ice cream to get? You guessed it – hazelnut.
Another wonderful gift from heaven that highlighted the flavor of hazelnut…hazelnut and chocolate was the glorious little Kinder eggs. I loved Kinder eggs! They were milk chocolate eggs, with a white chocolate lining, and a yellow plastic capsule inside. Brown egg…white inside…and the yolk. Inside the yolk was a tiny little toy you could put together. Not only were the toys adorable…but the chocolate that the egg was made of, included the flavor of hazelnut. Scrumptious! I look forward to enjoying some more of them when I visit my son, who just moved to Germany last week!
And then there is Nutella. The third gift from above that I grew to love while living in Germany. I had never had it before arriving over there, and fell in love with that combination of chocolate and hazelnut instantly. It was like peanut butter’s sophisticated great-aunt. You can imagine how excited I was to find it in American stores after arriving back in the states. And now, you can find all sorts of chocolate & hazelnut spreads, made by a number of different brands. It really caught on here!
And that brings me to my recipe for you today.
To me, there is nothing better than a rich cup of hot chocolate. It warms your soul, and your fingers on a cold day. But if you make it right, it can also double as a decadent dessert.
I am sharing this “grown up” hot chocolate, inspired by my time living in Europe.
To begin, you will need 1/2 cup each of milk chocolate morsels and bittersweet morsels. I recommend using a good quality chocolate.
Place those in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Sprinkle in a tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of cornstarch. The cornstarch will make your hot chocolate rich and creamy, and it will give the impression that you are drinking pure, melted chocolate. Give those a stir.
Pour in 2 cups of milk. I used whole milk, but feel free to use low fat or skim if you prefer.
Heat this over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture just begins to bubble around the edges. Turn off the heat.
Stir in a half teaspoon of hazelnut extract. If you can’t find hazelnut extract, you can substitute vanilla extract for a different, but equally delicious flavor. Add in a small pinch of salt. Stir these into the hot chocolate.
Ladle the hot chocolate into serving cups or mugs. It is so rich, you could even serve it in espresso cups.
Serve this with some dipping cookies if you like. Enjoy!
- ½ c milk chocolate morsels
- ½ c bittersweet chocolate morsels
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 Tb sugar
- 2 c whole milk (can substitute reduced fat or skim if so desired)
- ½ tsp hazelnut extract (or vanilla extract)
- small pinch salt
- To begin, combine the chocolate morsels, cornstarch and sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir to combine.
- Pour in the milk.
- Over medium heat and while stirring often, cook the mixture until it just begins to bubble around the edges. Turn off the heat.
- Stir in the hazelnut extract and the pinch of salt. Stir together.
- Ladle into serving cups or mugs. Serve with dipping cookies if you like.
The holiday season is upon us, and that means lots and lots of parties and celebrations! We have all sorts of recipe inspiration for you to treat your guests, without breaking your back:
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Desserts and Baked Goods
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