Hot Chocolate

There is something enormously satisfying about a nice big cup of hot chocolate.

 


I remember when I was younger we’d have hot chocolate every Friday night. It became a Friday night treat, especially because Friday night was ‘family night’ and we’d play games, drink hot chocolate, eat lots of finger food and candy, and end up watching a video.

I moved out at a tender age and family nights ended with my departure, not just for me, but also for the rest of the family. It wouldn’t be too long before people would split up and go separate ways. I didn’t make hot chocolate for a very long time, mostly because I didn’t stay anywhere long enough. I drank hot chocolate all over the world but found everything rather pre-packaged, which it probably was. To the true connoisseur, there is always a not-so-subtle difference between hot chocolate prepared from fresh ingredients to the variety that comes all mixed-up-together in a tin.

It would be many years before I’d settle down long enough to make myself a cup of hot chocolate, the way my grandmother made it. When I finally did, the smell and the taste of it combined powerfully to evoke an emotional reaction. Memories of my childhood, long subdued, came up to the surface to wave hello.

Over the years our hot chocolate recipe has evolved and changed slightly, but it always smells and tastes just as good as it did when I was a little girl. This is my version, with lashings of cognac to give it that grown-up twist. I make this often when it is cold or when I am ill _with_ a cold, and it is my pleasure to share the recipe with you today.

The Vardaraj Family’s Hot Chocolate (Awanthi’s Grown-Up Version)

You will need four tablespoons of cocoa, two tablespoons of sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, four and a half cups of milk, divided, cognac to taste, and cognac-flavored whipped cream to serve.

To make your hot chocolate, place the cocoa, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and stir. Add half a cup of milk and bring the mixture to a gentle boil, while stirring gently all the while. Add the rest of the milk and bring just to a boil, beating with a whisk. Stir in the cognac and pour into mugs. Top with whipped cream (or marshmallows, as you see in the photograph). This recipe serves four to six people.

Have a good one!

-A

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