I am a huge fan of chai. In fact, I’ll probably sneak too many recipes into my forthcoming cookbook. And when I asked Denise to explore the world of chai spices, she served up her favorite hot chocolate. This warm, spicy drink charms me to no end and, for sure, will keep me chained to a stack of cookbooks on the next snowy day. How do you spice your hot chocolate? xox -Maggie
We finally had rain a couple weeks ago, and to say that it wasn’t thrilling would be an understatement! California has slipped into a drought, and it is noticeable around the cities, parks, and gardens, as well as at the markets. It really is sad. To celebrate the coming of a rainy day, I made a batch of our favorite chai hot chocolate.
The day was really perfect as we had no plans. Our calendars were filled with easy to-dos, books to read, a couple movies to watch and a mission to make a batch of this hot chocolate. Hot chocolate is great on its own, but when the spicy warmth of chai is added to the mix, the flavors of good bittersweet chocolate get even more sultry. Whenever I enjoy anything made with a chai base, I feel as if the world has wrapped her arms around me; I feel safe and at home.
This recipe is good made the day you enjoy it, but if you can wait a day, make a double batch. Put it into a glass bottle so all the flavors can mingle and, then forget about until the next day. The chai flavors will intensify, and you will still get that velvety chocolate taste with a bit more intensity. If you are like me and cannot wait, it is still outstanding. Now grab a wooly sweater, a few books and make a batch or two of Chai Hot Chocolate.
Chai Hot Chocolate
Makes two servings
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup unsweetened chocolate cocoa powder
- 15 cardamon pods
- 14 whole allspice berries
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 11 whole cloves
- 2 star anise
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half
- 1 knob of fresh ginger, peeled and lightly smashed
- 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
- Whipped cream for garnish
- Place the whole milk into a large saucepan. Whisk in the coco powder until smooth and lump free. Gently heat over low heat.
- Lightly smash the cardamon pods and allspice berries with your hands. Toss into the milk mixture.
- Add rest of the ingredients, except the whipped cream. Stir and cook for eight minutes over very low heat.
- Turn off the heat and let steep for 60 minutes.
- Strain through a fine sieve into a smaller saucepan.
- Gently reheat. Pour into serving cups and top with a dollop of whipped cream.
To make a batch to set for 24 hours: After step three, pour into a glass bottle and seal with a lid. Place into the refrigerator and try to forget about it until the next day. Before serving, strain, and then gently reheat.
Photos taken and styled by Denise Woodward.
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