Hidey Ho lovelies! I am sure many of you are all wondering, “Isn’t this gorgeous pin-up lady also a pastry chef? And why the heck hasn’t she shared pastry goodies with us?” Well wonder no longer, I am going to share with you my current pastry obsession. CHOCOLATE MILK! Holy cow, right? I know chocolate milk may not seem like a fancy-shmancy thing, but sometimes the simplest items are the best at featuring the rich flavor of quality items.
Chocolate is essential to my life as a pastry chef; I use it every day in desserts and decorations around the shop. I am also a professed chocoholic. You can bet that I have it stashed in several places around my house so that I can curb a craving when it arises. I am a bit of a chocolate snob too. I refuse to eat Hershey’s and when I do I am very surely drunk… or desperate for a fix. Aside from that I like Swiss and Belgium style chocolates. (I will very likely do a whole article devoted to chocolate education, so I am not going into detail on this now.) In my Kitchen at work we use an array of chocolates, my favorite being Callebaut and Cocoa Barry. We also use Casa Luker as a cheaper option, but honestly I think Luker has this weird fruity note that distracts from the deep chocolate flavor. For those of you who share my elitist chocolate snobbery and don’t mind paying shipping for your chocolate, https://www.chocosphere.com/ is a great online retailer for chocolate used in the culinary industry. For those of you looking for a grocery store option Ghirardelli and Guittard are a better choice than Hershey’s or Nestle’s. Both brands carry a variety of chips from white to dark chocolate. I haven’t seen Guittard outside of specialty or fancy pants stores, but it is worth searching for.
Now you’re going to see on this recipe-and many recipes in the future I am sure- that when I use a chocolate that has a certain percentage. This percentage is talking about the cocoa content in the chocolate. Cocoa content being the stuff in chocolate that actually come from the Cocoa bean. So ingredients like cacao and cacao butter are included in the cocoa content. Ingredients like sugar, milk powder, vanilla and etcetera are what make up the remaining percentage of 100. Most of the time it is a no-no to substitute chocolates of a different percentage. It can wreak havoc on a delicately balanced formula by turning a velvety smooth mousse into a soupy mess. Nobody wants their mousse to be loose, it can be devastating. I learned quite a few hard lessons in my pastry infancy. That is a story for another time.
After all of what I just said preaching about of the importance of following the cocoa content in a recipe I am going to go ahead and say that you can ignore it in this recipe. I will tell you that if you sub out the milk chocolate for white chocolate you are going to want to reduce the sugar significantly, by least 20% of its original weight. If you desire a deeper chocolate flavor, I recommend a 58-64% dark chocolate. However, if you love chocolate as dark as night then I recommend a 70%. Anything more and you might as well eat cocoa paste and let me tell you, that’s just unpleasant. If you’re buying chocolate chips, you probably won’t find a percentage on the bag. In that case from my experience milk chocolate and white chocolate chips will work fairly close to the recipe, semi-sweet are a good substitute for 40- 50%, and dark chocolate or bitter sweet chips work for 60% or above. As for the cocoa powder you can use Dutch process or regular. Non-dutched cocoa will have a slightly acidic and deeper flavor. I generally use Cacao Barry extra brute, which is a Dutch process. Now you may want to tweak this recipe to make it your own, but I think it’s a great indulgent recipe. Kind of like drinking a milk chocolate bar. The recipe is written in weight not volume measurements, so you are going to want a scale. So without further ado I give you, chocolate milk!
Makes 6 servings
4.8 oz heavy cream
6 oz 42% milk chocolate (chopped)
1.8 oz cocoa powder
2 vanilla beans, seeded or .3 oz vanilla extract
2.4 oz confectioner’s sugar
31.2 oz whole milk
Tools and equipment:
Immersion blender (optional)
Heavy bottom sauce pot (2 or 3 quarts)
Pitcher or storage container
Pour the cream and vanilla bean seeds (if you are using them) into the sauce pot and heat just until scalded. Scalded cream or milk will look like It has formed a skin on top and the sides of the pot should be gently bubbling. Slowly whisk in the milk chocolate and remove the pot from the heat. You should have what looks like a ganache now. Then add the cocoa powder and whisk until the cocoa is evenly incorporated. Slowly begin pouring the milk in additions whisking thoroughly after each addition. If you have an immersion blender, I recommend switching to it now. If using vanilla extract, add it now and add the confectioner’s sugar in additions. Make sure you blend well after each addition of confectioner’s sugar to ensure there are no little lumps. If you are whisking by hand, whisk like you have never whisked before! I believe in you! From here you can heat the mixture gently to make hot chocolate or pour it into your vessel of choice and chill until it’s nice and cold. Just be sure to give it a good stir before serving. VIOLA chocolate milk!
If you are like me, then you may want to take your hot chocolate even further. I like dusting mine with cinnamon or a drip of peppermint extract. Whipped cream is always a great topping, as is homemade marshmallows. Or if you are EVEN more like me than perhaps turning it into a night cap with some spiced rum, Kahlua, or Bailey’s is a great indulgence. I hope that you all take a crack at this cocoa concoction and will enjoy it as much as I do. Of course if you have comments, suggestions, or questions just leave them here on my blog or send me an email! I love teaching and learning so I will be happy to share thoughts with anyone. Thanks for stopping by!