Thursday, 9 February 2012

Winter Warmer – Dark hot chocolate with star anise recipe

In 1796 Geronimo Piperni  said the "chocolate is a divine, celestial drink, the sweat of the stars, the vital seed, divine nectar, the drink of the gods, panacea and universal medicine."

As I read this quote between sips of bitter hot chocolate infused with star anise, I feel strongly that I’ve never agreed with any statement more. In this frozen land of Europe, there is no drink with the power to warm me more, or to bring a broader smile to my face.

I can’t help but close my eyes with each sip, allowing the full effect of this divine nectar to pass over me, and through me. Carefully tasting it as it moves from my mouth, and then makes its way slowly, and gently into my stomach, where it sets to work on relaxing and warming my chilly body. 

The temperature here has been well below freezing for days. Inside the house we’re cosy and comfortable, but leaving for any activity requires layers and layers of insulation. Hat, scarf, mittens, coat, two pairs of socks, sheepskin lining in my boots, and finally (and ironically) sunglasses, because it is so incredibly bright at the moment. While such accoutrements were a welcome novelty a few days ago, that novelty has sadly, and fairly quickly faded. Now I find myself inside for most of the day, leaving the house only once or twice for essential missions, and ingredients.

If you, like me, are experiencing freeze fatigue, this decadent hot chocolate may just revive you – at least temporarily. Beware, it’s rich, so I serve it in very small cups. The star anise gives a wonderful aniseed infused compliment to this dark and bittersweet hot chocolate. It’s super simple and quick to make.

Here’s the recipe:
1 Litre milk, I use semi-skim, but you can also use whole milk
150 grams chopped dark chocolate, I used Lindt 70% cocoa solids
250mL crème fraiche
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons dark muscavado sugar (or any brown sugar)
5 star anise (ground with a mortar and pestle, or a spice grinder if you have the patience) 

Step 1: Over a low heat in a saucepan, put the milk, chocolate and crème fraiche. Stir slowly with a wooden spoon, and watch as the chocolate slowly melts. 

Step 2: Add the sugar, cocoa and star anise to the mixture saucepan, continuing to stir. Once the chocolate has melted (about 5 minutes), use a whisk to gently whisk the ingredients, ensuring there are no cocoa lumps.

Step 3:  Before serving strain through a wire strainer removing any small fragments from the star anise.   

Et voila! Ideally, serve it fireside and enjoy. If there is any remaining (unlikely in our house) it will keep in the fridge for 1-2 days. Just re-heat it on the stove when you feel the need for a pick me up.

Like all bloggers I love reading your comments and thrive on feedback, so please feel free to leave me messages, feedback, and tit-bits below! 

PS:  I'm taking part in the Feburary chocolatelove bloghop, details below:


Ms. T said...

Looks lovely! I wish I had some right now...

Junia said...

first of all, i wish i were in france! and this hot chocolate with anise looks divine. i love your blog writing, it is so inviting and descriptive. :) sending some #chocolatelove to you!

Julia @The Roasted Root said...

Hi there! Your hot chocolate looks fantastic. I have never tried using star anise and would love to try it out...I did see it used in beer once, which seemed tasty as well. Hot chocolate has always been my favorite warm drink, so I will have to make this for dessert tonight! Thanks so much for sharing and stay warm!

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