How to be awesome at making hot chocolate

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

There's only one remedy for chilly Ohio weather. Well, besides a trip to Miami Beach to "report" on the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. The perfect fix for winter shivers is, of course, hot chocolate. But just because you can buy this belly-warming treat in instant powder form doesn't mean you should. With a little help from Lisa Boyle of Grandview's Chocolate Cafe, here's how you can make hot cocoa from scratch.

1 - Chocolate/Milk

The ingredients are about as basic as it gets. For four servings, use a quarter-pound chunk of pure chocolate. Dark chocolate works well, but for an extra-sweet drink, milk chocolate is the way to go. The other main ingredient is milk, about one cup per serving. You'll get a richer, more filling cocoa with whole milk or cream, but skim milk is just fine for a lighter treat. Rounding out the necessities - two saucepans, a functioning stove and whipped cream.

2 - Simmer down now

Heat the chocolate and the milk at the same time, in separate saucepans, over low heat. Let the milk slowly come to a simmer. Heat the chocolate for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Don't be tempted to turn up the heat to speed the melting time. The higher the temperature, the greater the chance for burning, which ruins the taste and creates a sticky mess.

3 - Stirred, not shaken

After the chocolate is completely melted and the milk is nice and hot, stir the milk into the chocolate until it's well combined. Pour the cocoa into mugs, and top with some whipped cream. For a fancier drink, use a cheese grater to shave chocolate on top.

4 - Holiday spirits, anyone?

The only thing warmer than a cup of cocoa is a cup of cocoa with some booze in it. Baileys or Kahlua will heat things up nicely, and the alcohol will help you forget about how Ohio winters are bitter all the way into March. Drink up!