Carmel Coco Delight
September 15, 2010
I think I can say, with confidence, that I just made the world’s best hot chocolate!
Perhaps I should give a little back story before I divulge into my creamy chocolate yumminess.
My husband and I frequently spend time at Barnes and Noble. We have spent many a Sunday reading and sipping lattés at B&N. I love the Starbucks café there. They serve Cheesecake Factory cheesecake and always have my favorite flavor (white chocolate raspberry) in stock. Well last weekend, I had a very intense craving for that cheesecake. After we went to the grocery store to stock up for the week, we stopped to get my cheesecake. I jumped out of the car to make a quick run for my favorite dessert. When I got up to the counter I looked the the pastry case and was shocked to see that my cheesecake was no where to be found. I asked the girl behind the counter where it went and she said it had been replaced with pumpkin cheesecake for the fall. I felt a little piece of myself shed a silent tear. I told her how disappointed I was, but decided to get a piece of the pumpkin cheesecake instead. I looked up and saw they were featuring a new hot chocolate for the fall. It was a carmel hot chocolate. I decided to get one of those as well. I took my cheesecake and hot chocolate back to the car where my husband was waiting for me. I took a sip of my drink and said “This is amazing!” Since my husband is the Ingredient Master, I asked him how he thinks they make it.
For the next couple days I couldn’t stop thinking about this hot chocolate. This morning I decided that I was going to try and make it… from scratch. No hot chocolate mix. No carmel syrup. Hot chocolate is easy enough to make. I make it all the time. Baking cocoa, sugar, and milk… but carmel syrup? I didn’t have the faintest clue what to do. I went to the bookshelf and pulled out my Joy of Cooking cookbook, flipped through the index until I found carmel. I looked at the recipe and read sugar and water. “Well that’s easy”, I thought. I put some water and sugar in a pan and turned the heat on. As I let the sugar dissolve I started questioning myself, as I often do. I went back to the recipe thinking that sugar and water seemed much too easy. Sure enough, there was more to the recipe than what I had originally read. I decided to read it really carefully to make sure I don’t miss anything this time. “Be careful not to let sugar water come to a boil.” Crap. It had been boiling for a good five minutes. I turned the heat down and went back to the book. Add butter and cream. I cut up a little butter, put it in and after it melted and cooked down a little I added a bit of heavy whipping cream. I removed it from the heat and let it set for a couple minutes while I tasted my coco. It was at a good temperature. I poured a little of the carmel mixture into a mug and poured the coco on top. I stirred it up and took a sip. Pure bliss! Let me tell you, Starbucks has got nothing on me. This was creamy, smooth chocolate heaven. I could hear hundreds of tiny little angels gathering around the steamy coco to sing Handel’s Hallelujah chorus in perfect unison.
My only regret was that I didn’t actually measure anything. I just poured the cocoa, sugar, butter, milk, and cream until I felt there was enough. What resulted was a beautiful mixture of sweetness and I hope I can reproduce it in the future.
Live and learn.