Masala hot chocolate

This winter in London has been very back and forward. One day it’s warm pavements, milky sunshine and the squeak of new grass growing in the park. The next it’s grey wool skies, rain in buckets and wind that chills your heart. It feels lees like winter and more like more like a weak-willed spring, dragging itself forward towards the summer but needing regular, rainy sit downs on the way.

Today is one of those dark, damp days and naturally I have arranged to spending the morning walking in Green Park and playing fetch with my friends’ dogs. We’ll stick to the plan: weather never stops play, but I am filling myself with hot chocolate just to make sure I stay cosy even as the puddles leak in through my boots.

This recipe is based on Felicity Cloake’s perfect hot chocolate. I’ve used Flake for the milk chocolate because I like crumbling it over the top and watching the little shards instantly melt. They make an extra puddle of chocolate floating on top of the milk. I raided masala chai for the spices and this hot chocolate makes a good bedtime drink, or breakfast with a buttery handful of brioche for dunking.

Masala Hot Chocolate
Serves 2

500ml whole milk
10 green cardamom pods
4 black peppercorns
A small chunk of cinnamon
A pinch of fennel seeds
2 cloves
A pinch of ground ginger
70g good quality dark chocolate
1 (32g) Flake
A pinch of sea salt flakes
150ml single cream

1 Pour the milk into a small pan. Lightly bash the cardamom pods to open them out a little. Add them and the rest of the spices to the milk. Bring to the boil over a medium-low heat, whisking often. Put the milk onto a very low heat, stick the lid on the pan and simmer for 2 minutes – be careful it doesn’t boil over. Take off the heat and set aside to infuse for 5 mins while you prepare the chocolate (you can leave it to infuse for 30 minutes if you’re organised or patient. Reheat the milk before moving onto step 3).

2 Finely chop or grate the chocolate into a large heatproof bowl. Crumble in most of the Flake (save a little for garnishing). Add a pinch of sea salt flakes.

3 Set a heatproof sieve over a jug and pour the spiced milk through it to catch the spices. Pour a splash of warm milk over the chocolate and stir till the chocolate melts and makes a smooth paste. Slowly whisk in the milk, a little at a time, till it’s combined.

4 Pour the chocolate into the pan. Add the cream. Gently warm over a low heat for 1-2 minutes till steaming. Pour into mugs and top with the last of the Flake to serve.

Tagged with: ChocolateDrinkHot chocolateMilky drinks