|Photo credit: Megan Gunnell|
I don’t know about where you are, but in the lovely city of Oxford, the days are getting shorter, there is a definite chill in the air, and woolly jumpers have become part of my daily attire. I think I’m in “Autumnal Denial”, as I’ve been trying to ignore the fact that winter is coming.
|Photo credit: Anne Dickens|
In Oxfordshire, we’ve just had 2 days of grey, drizzly, mizzly, rain, leaving me feeling like hibernating for the next 6 months until Spring comes around again.
Although the idea of months of wet, cold winter leaves me with a sinking feeling as I have to say goodbye to the warmth of the summer sun, one of the best things about autumn and winter is the chance to snuggle up indoors and revel in lots of wonderful comforting things – like hot chocolate!
After picking up the little one yesterday, we were both in need of an after-school treat, so I whipped up some of my Ultimate Hot Chocolate.
It’s creamy, smooth, and totally luxurious… and I promise you it will be THE best hot chocolate you have ever tasted.
You can make changes to this recipe based on what you have available in the kitchen or based on how intensely chocolatey you like your drink. But it’s really so easy, that however you make it, it’s going to be gooooood!
The Ultimate Couva Hot Chocolate (makes 4 mugs)
- 4 mugfuls of milk (we use semi-skim in our house, but you could use full-fat milk for a really indulgent treat!)
- 4 tablespoons of chocolate Ovaltine (any other chocolate milk powder would work too!)
- 1 x 100g bar of Lindt Excellence Creamy Milk Chocolate OR Lindt Excellence 85% Dark Chocolate (if you like it a bit more intensely chocolate and slightly more bitter)
(*you can use any other kind of milk or dark chocolate that you have available, but I have to say that Lindt is my favourite! I’ve also used Cadbury’s, Sainsbury’s brand, etc… But just make sure that they are 100% PURE chocolate without any funny additives)
- Vanilla Whipped Cream (see below)
- Chocolate shavings or more chocolate Ovaltine for sprinkling
- Warm up the milk over medium heat until there is steam coming up from the top of the milk, but be careful that it doesn’t come to a boil.
- Sprinkle in the Ovaltine and carefully drop in the pieces of your chocolate bar.
- Grab a whisk or wooden spoon and stir continuously until all of the chocolate melts. You want to try and keep the chocolate moving once you first put it into the hot milk so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
- Remove from heat and pour into 4 mugs.
- Garnish with a few dollops of gorgeous Vanilla Whipped Cream (see below), a few marshmallows and a sprinkle of some chocolate shavings or some chocolate Ovaltine powder.
- Enjoy! (and trust me – you will!!)
Vanilla Whipped Cream
- 150 ml double or whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (try to use a good quality, pure vanilla if you can)
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- Mix together the cream, vanilla extract, and sugar.
- Whip on high until the cream starts to thicken. Be careful not to overwhip the cream or it will start to get clumpy, and clumpy cream just isn’t nice! You want to stop whipping when you’ve got some soft peaks, but the cream mixture can still be easily stirred.
This Vanilla Whipped Cream is amazing on all sorts of things – cafe latte, cappuccino, apple crumble, or even just a spoon!
*You can also use this Ultimate Hot Chocolate to make the most amazing Cafe Mocha. Simply fill your mug half-way up with the hot chocolate, and fill the rest with your favourite freshly-brewed coffee. Again, top it with some Vanilla Whipped Cream and chocolate shavings… You’re going to love it!
I’d also just like to say a few things about marshmallows. Nowadays, there are marshmallows and there are Marshmallows. You can buy your average pink and white ones from the supermarket, and they are pretty yummy. But if you are looking for a really over-the-top, decadent hot chocolate experience, may we suggest that you invest in some of the most amazing chocolate marshmallows you’ve ever tasted from Eat Toast Dunk Me. I promise you, they are well worth it! The heat of the rich, velvety, cream hot chocolate permeates the chocolate marshmallows, melting them ever-so slightly so that they become almost like little pillows of chocolate mousse that sit atop of the whipped cream. Seriously, all together, we are talking heaven in a mug!
And what better way to keep your Ultimate Couva Hot Chocolate at the right temperature for longer? A Couva Cup Cover of course!! The covers make a great gift… You can get one here: www.couva.co.uk/shop.html
Imagine giving a hot chocolate gift pack to a loved one?! A mug, a Couva Cup Cover, a bar of Lindt Chocolate, some Eat Toast Dunk Me chocolate marshmallows, and the recipe for our Ultimate Hot Chocolate – it would make anyone very happy!