Oh, friends, let me introduce you to this bliss that is European Hot Chocolate! It can hardly even be called mere hot chocolate–it is more akin to a lovely bowl of rich chocolate fondue. Only you can drink the whole cup!
It also goes perfectly with the Mini Churro Muffins I shared yesterday. Like, maybe I made a batch expressly to dunk in this chocolate paradise.
Some of my favorite memories take place in Barcelona. One of my first visits happened when my friends and I needed a break from the dreary Paris winter that kept us bundled up in bulky coats and tall boots. We spent a long weekend lazying on the beach, wandering around Gaudi’s enchanting Parc Guell, and eating our weight in Spanish tapas. It was all we could do to leave the sunny coast and return to Paris.
To be young and living in Paris–poor us, right?
Lucky for us, Paris welcomed us with open arms and giant mugs of hot chocolate so thick it was practically fondue. I couldn’t help falling in love with Paris all over again.
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Where to drink hot chocolate ?
But somehow Barcelona kept calling my name. I went back a few more times over the years and always gorged on patatas bravas. At some point during each trip–and no matter how hot it was–I indulged in a mug of thick, spicy hot chocolate and crispy churros fresh from the deep fryer.
Whether in Paris or Spain, Europeans sure know their hot chocolate. Barcelona even has an entire museum dedicated to chocolate (Museu de la Xocolata, which serves a delicious hot chocolate speckled with cayenne pepper).
There seem to be churros on every corner in Barcelona, but one of my favorite places to treat myself is Caelum, down in its teensy basement that was once a medieval Jewish bathhouse. With its stone walls, glittering fairy lights, and pastry bar (the almond cake is perfection), it is true romance.
The last time I was in Barcelona, it was unseasonably chilly. My husband and I ducked into Caelum and were transported back in time. We could have stayed all day while the rain came pounding down. Cuddled up with a steaming mug of hot chocolate and a heaping plate of pastries, we were set for life.
This European-style hot chocolate is a nod to both the fondue-esuqe chocolat–chaud at Paris’s famed Angelina and the cozy Spanish hot chocolate at Caelum. While not strictly mandatory, you really should consider baking a batch of Mini Churro Muffins to dunk in this glorious mug.
How To Make European Hot Chocolate Recipe?
It all starts with a bar of dark chocolate. But of course, we also cut the bitter dark chocolate with a generous handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips. And then you pour lots of whole milk on that business for some serious goodness.
The trick to getting this to its fondue-esque stage is corn starch. Yes, it sounds odd but it works. Promise.
And then all you have to do is dust your churro muffins in cinnamon sugar and Go To Town.
Forever and ever. Until you are left with the saddest sight in the world: an empty mug.
European Hot Chocolate Recipe
- 12 oz. whole milk
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 6 oz dark chocolate chips i like ghiradelli; roughly chop the chocolate if it is a bar
- 6 oz milk chocolate chips
- pinch of cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- batch of Churro Muffins
- Heat milk in a medium saucepan until bubbles form on the edges (not boiling). Put cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk 1/4 cup of warm milk into it, making sure to get out all the clumps. This forms a cornstarch slurry, which will help thicken the hot chocolate. Pour the slurry into the saucepan with the rest of the milk and bring to a gentle simmer for about a minute. Turn off heat.
- Add chocolate to warm milk and stir until completely melted. The hot chocolate will be thicker than normal cocoa. If it is too thick for your taste, add a little more milk. Stir in cinnamon and salt and pour into two mugs. Serve with churro muffins and enjoy!