Those of you in Montreal have to deal with winter’s last hurrah today. It’s both unexpected and normal: each year, Mother Nature teases you with melting snow banks and several days of weather nice enough to go play Frisbee in shorts and t-shirts in Parc Mont-Royal, then slams you again with one last “freak” snowstorm. And every year, people complain about how unseasonable it is, but really, the same thing happens *most* years, so the collective memory is pretty selective. However, let it not be said that I don’t sympathize: how about a nice cup of hot chocolate? Really, really good hot chocolate, nothing to do with instant mixes or even with most of what’s offered in coffee shop chains around the city. This is the real deal. You do need either an immersion blender or a standard blender, and that’s non-negotiable, but the result is absolutely worth it. The recipe below serves 2, with regular mugs (or 1 pregnant woman with a giant mug and a craving), but you can of course double it or triple it, depending on your needs. Think of it more as a snack than as a drink. I got this recipe on Orangette, and it is adapted in part from Ladurée in Paris.
1 ½ cups lactose-free whole milk
2 ½ Tbsp. water
2 ½ Tbsp. granulated sugar
3 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (don’t skimp on this one)
In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, water, and sugar. Place over medium heat and whisk occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture just to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate. At this point, blend the mixture. If you have an immersion blender, you can do this directly in the saucepan, which is what I recommend; if not, you’ll need to transfer it to a traditional blender. Either way, blend for 1 minute (on high speed, if using a traditional blender - and take care, as hot liquids expand when blended). The finished mixture should be very smooth and frothy.
Serve immediately. I topped mine with some non-dairy whipped topping, though you could also use miniature marshmallows or drink it plain.
Note: Should you somehow have any leftover hot chocolate, you can store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat it gently over low heat, stirring occasionally, until hot. Blend for 1 minute, then serve immediately.