Archive for the ‘Chocolate’

Drinking Chocolate, Southeast Asian Style

February 13, 2012
By Holly Jennings


This is galangal.

It is not the same as mandrake, the root that Ofelia, the protagonist in Pan’s Labyrinth, placed under her sick mother’s bed.

But it’s nearly as (more…)

African Drinking Chocolate

January 02, 2012
By Holly Jennings

Grains of Paradise. This, the most poetic and beguiling of the names for melegueta, a pungent spice native to West Africa, has finally found a place in my kitchen.

I learned of grains of paradise years ago in an early colonial hearth cooking class. The instructor, clad in a period-style dress, had many antique props, one of which was an ornate wooden spice box. The fineness of its craftsmanship mirrored the (more…)

The Best Chocolate Pudding

November 07, 2011
By Holly Jennings

The mission at Cook’s Illustrated is “to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods.” Who can’t recall creamy chocolate pudding as a favorite food, if from a distant childhood past? The problem with those childhood versions, however, is that they lack the amount of dark chocolate oomph needed to appeal to our more sophisticated, adult palates.

After sourcing recipes spanning four decades, (more…)

Frothed Mexican Drinking Chocolate

November 01, 2011
By Holly Jennings

On the Day of the Dead, or any day, I like Mexican drinking chocolate served chilled and “on tap,” with a head. Thus began frothing sessions with a molinillo, a whisk, and, (more…)

Greek Drinking Chocolate

February 05, 2011
By Holly Jennings

Greeks love honey, and are famous for the variety and quality their bees produce, chief among being wild thyme honey. I’m intrigued with honeys that capture the flavor of specific regional herbs, flowers or trees, and, though I’ve never tried thyme honey, I like to imagine how it might taste. With this special Greek honey in mind, this drinking chocolate is sweetened with honey and infused with the flavor of fresh thyme and orange zest—the latter, a common ingredient in Greek pastries, cakes, biscuits, and breads. While I’m not sure how Greek this drinking chocolate tastes, it does taste good. I enjoyed it with Olive Oil Biscuits with Cumin and Sesame, a common breakfast food in Greece, from the DCCC pick The Food and Wine of Greece.* (For lots more information on the basics of making and serving drinking chocolate, read My Favorite Drinking Chocolate.)

Makes four 6-ounce servings

4 cups whole milk
1 heaping tablespoon grated orange zest (from about 1large orange)
4 to 6 sprigs fresh thyme
4 tablespoons Dutch-processed (alkalinized) cocoa powder
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (52 to 55% cacao), chopped (see note)
2 tablespoons honey
Small pinch of sea salt

  1. Combine the milk, orange zest and thyme in a small, heavy saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. (If your saucepan has a thin bottom, heat the milk over medium-low heat.) Immediately reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. (If you think you may have scorched the milk, do not scrape the bottom of the pan when stirring.) Strain the milk and discard the zest and thyme. The milk will have reduced by about 1 cup.
  2. Place the cocoa powder in a small, heavy saucepan. While stirring vigorously, over medium-low heat, gradually add ¼ cup of the heated milk, a tablespoon at a time. Continue stirring until all lumps of cocoa are incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
  3. Add the chocolate and reduce the heat to low. Gradually add another ¼ cup of the milk, while stirring. Heat until the chocolate is melted, stirring often. Add the remaining milk in a steady stream, while stirring. Bring to the gentlest simmer. Add the honey and salt. Stir until the honey is dissolved and serve.

 Note: Better quality chocolate with higher amounts of cacao solids tends to be available in block form, necessitating chopping. To make sure the chocolate melts at an even rate, chop the block into small, similar-size pieces. I like chopping chocolate; however, if you can find what you want in pistoles or chips, this will eliminate a step.

*Though the English recipe title for these delicious biscuits in The Food and Wine of Greece is “Olive Oil Biscuits with Cumin and Sesame,” no sesame seeds are included in the recipe. Finding this confusing, I wrote to Diane Kochilas, the author of The Food and Wine of Greece, about the use of sesame seeds. She said they are optional, and if used, would be sprinkled on the outside of the biscuit after the egg wash is applied.

Masala Drinking Chocolate

January 13, 2011
By Holly Jennings

This drinking chocolate is inspired by the flavor and aroma of the famous Indian tea known as chai. There are various recipes for chai. The simplest style, like the recipe in the previous DCCC pick Entice with Spice, is made with black tea, milk, sugar and cardamom pods; more complex chai, using several spices, are called Masala Chai. (Masala means “spice” in Hindi.) Some masala chai have a licorice accent via fennel or anise seed—thus the addition here of Pernod, a licorice-flavored liqueur. (My bar is directly above my spice drawer, so it’s easy to get side-tracked.) (more…)

My Favorite Drinking Chocolate

January 07, 2011
By Holly Jennings

I’m passionate about drinking chocolate, so much so that I finagled a way to work it into the theme of Dowdy Corners Cookbook Club. For each DCCC cookbook pick, I will challenge myself to come up with a new drinking chocolate recipe inspired by the subject of the book. The first step, before spinning off into exotic riffs, is to give you my recipe for basic drinking chocolate, and an overview of my approach to making the drink, which can be modified to your taste.

I’ll try to brief, but I have a lot to say about drinking chocolate. It’s been my most constant source of pleasure in the kitchen for the last several years: I love the process of making it, experimenting with different sweeteners and flavorings, and drinking it, especially with my boyfriend, Mike. (If our relationship has a food theme, it’s drinking chocolate.)