People often make the mistake of thinking that I'm some kind of discerning chocolatier simply because I love to eat chocolate. In fact, the exact opposite is true. I'll eat any kind of chocolate, including (but surely not limited to) that found with shiny wrapper under an inch of dust on long-forgotten pantry shelf, that which is commercially overproduced to the point of waxy discord, and that which is an amalgamation defying logical existence. To me chocolate is chocolate, forgivable for the inconsistencies of demand and excess. Be that as it may, I'm certainly not against the idea of chocolate as a unique, first-class experience. When my friend Vi came home from an Argentinian farm bearing bricks of mountain chocolate, I was thrilled to goosebumps at her very mention of the words Hot Chocolate. Hot Chocolate has long suffered the blight of supermarket powderings*, and the idea of a cup melted from dense (almost black) real-deal chocolate gave me the shivers. Of course, Vi being VI: Culinary Genius, things got a little out of hand and before you could say 'marshmallow' we had made up a white chocolate heart to adorn our liquid feast with.
*yes, i made this word up.
What You'll Need:
Chocolate (dark works best)
White Chocolate Chips (for the decorative heart)
To Make The Heart: Vi devised a makeshift double-boiler kind of thing to melt the chocolate down to the right consistency for shaping. Fill a pot with an inch or two of water, and place it on the stove with a regular, metal mixing bowl fitted over it (pictured at left). Place a few handfuls of white chocolate chips in the bowl, and bring the water to a boil in the pot underneath it. The heat of the steaming rising from the water will be enough to melt the chips into a gooey, sticky mess. (While this happens, it's a good idea to spread out a sheet of tin foil in preparation.) Once everything is properly liquefied, poor the mixture into a squeeze bottle and immediately begin to draw the heart shapes. Make as many as you want, as thick or thin as you want. If the mixture begins to solidify, pop it in the microwave for thirty seconds. When you're done, put the tin foil in the freezer to set.
To Make The Chocolate:The best part about this recipe is that it's completely DIY, even down to the amounts used. You can add or subtract ingredients completely at whim, depending on your most of-the-moment craving. It's a really lovely demonstration of free will. Melt down the dark chocolate over low heat, slowly adding and mixing in the cream. When the mixture is of a good consistency and color (darker for the purists, lighter for the richer palate) add about a tablespoon each of cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir everything in and allow it to bubble for a bit, the flavors will have some time to get to know each other this way.
Now your chocolate is ready to serve. Pull the white chocolate hearts out of the freezer. They should be firm enough to lay decoratively on top or alongside of the cup. Drink while still warm. As a side-note: the heat of the drink will inevitably begin to melt the chocolate heart, but roll with it. What it will leave at the bottom of your cup--a gooey, toothy hunk of creamy, pliable chocolate--will incite pleasure verging on total insanity. See? Look at my face below. I'm a loon.