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Hot Chocolate Three: A Witch's Chocolate

I've never been to Paris, but all of my ideas about hot chocolate changed the first time Patrick and I went to Edinburgh and visited Plaisir du Chocolat, a French-stlye chocolaterie where the hot chocolate was mixed in gorgeously aromatic dark, steaming vats near the front door and the scent drifted down the street like a trap for the unwary. They served three different kinds of hot chocolate - 60% chocolate hot chocolate, 70% chocolate, and (the one I didn't dare to try) 90% chocolate.

I tried the 60% chocolate the first time, and it blew my mind. I had never tasted hot chocolate so richly chocolatey. We came back twice a day, every day of our visit. When we got home I pined for it until I finally found out that I could order chocolates from the shop, specifically designed to melt into hot milk and make a similar-tasting (although not quite as amazing) hot chocolate in my home.

Alas, Plaisir du Chocolat no longer exists. (Wahhhh! I really miss it.) But I couldn't go back to my original hot chocolate recipe after becoming addicted to the rich chocolate taste of their hot chocolate.

For years afterwards, my regular hot chocolate recipe then became a dairy version of the vegan recipe that Patrick posted here last week. I melted good, dark hot chocolate into milk, and that was it. And honestly, it was good.

But then, this year, I discovered a new favorite author: Laura Florand.

Laura writes romances for adults, and her first series, Amour et Chocolat, is set in the chocolateries of Paris. Oh, are her descriptions of the chocolate mouth-watering! I love all of her books - they're just as delicious as the chocolates she describes.

And her second book, The Chocolate Kiss - a romance with a strong and lovely element of magical realism - is all about the hot chocolate.

Her heroine, Magalie, doesn't just make the best hot chocolate in Paris, the that kind people can't stop craving after they've drunk it - she makes magical hot chocolate, hot chocolate that can help people find their heart's desires. And that's only appropriate, since her chocolaterie is La Maison des Sorcières, and she and her aunts are only half-jokingly known as the witches.

I read the descriptions of Magalie's hot chocolate with my mouth watering, and when I finished the book, I was thrilled to discover this recipe at the end of it, as shared with a food blogger (who's also a character in the book).

When I asked Laura, she very generously told me I could go ahead and share it with you guys, too, as part of my Hot Chocolate Day celebrations! So here it is:

A Witch’s Chocolate
(Le Chocolat Chaud d’une Sorcière)


A recipe shared by Magalie Chaudron on the blogs A Taste of Elle and Le Gourmand. According to our guest, Magalie Chaudron, of that magical little shop on the Île Saint-Louis, La Maison des Sorcières, chocolat chaud should change with the weather and the person drinking it, and no recipe should ever be followed to the letter, because why do you want to imitate other people? That sounds oddly humble. However, to get you started, Magalie has generously described her basic process for us, and we’ve added precise measurements to help out. She had never measured her ingredients before.

1. Smile. Just a soft curve of the lips.

2. In 2 cups (250 milliliters) whole milk, infuse the following ingredients for 15 minutes, keeping the temperature below scalding so that steam rises very gently from the liquid but no skin forms (about 140–150 ° F):

-1 cinnamon stick (½ teaspoon ground cinnamon)
-1 vanilla bean , split (if you don’t have a vanilla bean, it’s probably best to leave out the vanilla altogether)
-Dash nutmeg, freshly grated (less than teaspoon); if it is not freshly grated, you might want a touch more

3. Remove the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean, and any skin if you misjudged the temperature because you were distracted by someone like Philippe. If you prefer an even richer vanilla flavor, scrape the seeds from inside the vanilla bean into the liquid.

4. Add 8 ounces (225 grams) high-quality dark chocolate. How dark depends on whom you are making it for, but Valrhona’s 61 percent couverture chocolate is a good place to start.

5. Let the chocolate sit in the milk for about 30 seconds, then whisk until smooth.

6. Keep over low heat. When you are ready to serve, stir three times with a smile and a wish. If you wish for dreams to come true, then be prepared for upheaval. Dreams are like lions: gentle when sleepy.

From Laura Florand's The Chocolate Kiss (Amour et Chocolat). Kensington Publishing Corp. Kindle Edition.

***

Tomorrow is Hot Chocolate Day. I'll be making my own hot chocolate, using Magalie's recipe. (Alas, I have no vanilla beans, but it's delicious even without them! And I have to admit that I never give my hot chocolate the full fifteen minutes of spice infusion first - someday I will, when I don't have a baby and time pressing on me! - but oh, does it taste good even if you just infuse it for a couple of minutes before adding the hot chocolate. Please forgive me, Laura and Magalie - I know it would be even better your way!)

I'll also be linking to one last hot chocolate recipe here on the blog...

...and all while celebrating the release of something else that brings me joy, A Most Improper Boxed Set. Hooray! A Most Improper Boxed Set

I like to think that Kat and her sisters will be drinking hot chocolate, too. :)

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