2009 Herb of the Year: Hot Chocolate with Bay Laurel

| February/March 2009

Serves 1

European hot chocolate is prepared with cream and melted chocolate rather than milk and cocoa, and is served with whipped cream.

• 1⁄2 cup half-and-half and 1⁄2 cup milk OR 1 cup whole milk
• 1 bay leaf, preferably fresh
• 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar or regular sugar
• 1 1⁄2 tablespoons sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips or small pieces
• Few drops pure vanilla extract
• Few dashes freshly grated nutmeg
• Whipped cream, optional

1. In a heavy-bottomed, nonreactive saucepan, combine cream and milk with bay leaf. Place over medium heat and cook gently just until hot, not simmering.

2. Whisk in cocoa powder, sugar and chocolate chips. Keep stirring with whisk until sugar dissolves and chocolate melts; do not allow mixture to boil.

3. Turn heat to low and whisk to create froth on top. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and a few dashes of nutmeg, cover with a saucer and let sit for a few minutes. Whisk, taste for seasoning, and remove bay leaf. Pour into a cup and serve hot with whipped cream, if desired. The chocolate can be cooled and refrigerated, then reheated the next day.

Click here for the original article, 2009 Herb of the Year: Bay (Laurus Nobilis). 

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