When was the last time you had real hot chocolate? You know what I mean, not that powdery stuff in a packet with crunchy little marshamallows. It doesn't count if someone made it for you, either. I just came off of a quest for the perfect hot chocolate, and it was far closer to home than I'd realized.
My family and I took an afternoon and experimented with as many hot chocolate recipes as we could find. We tried chocolates in all forms; solid, cocoa and syrup. We tested dark, milk and Dutch process. We used powdered milk, real milk, cream, powdered coffee creamer and water. Whipped cream? We used real, canned and frozen. We had great big marshmallows and tiny little ones. Cinnamon, chili powder, vanilla and masala all made their way into our concoctions. It was a real burden, but we figured somebody had to do it.
What we finally settled on as the best hot chocolate ever is nearly identical to the one my own grandmother made for my four brothers and I each morning when we would visit her. It's simple, but delicious and perfect. See what you think.
Heat milk until very warm, but not boiling.
Combine cocoa powder and sugar in a heat-safe cup.
Pour milk into cup and stir until sugar and cocoa are both dissolved.
Add vanilla and stir again.
Top with real whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon.