Everyone Needs an Italian Hot Chocolate

Now, I am completely spoiled. I can no longer find much joy in that powder you add to hot water… I’ve tasted REAL hot chocolate. Not that thin, watered-down stuff..but the real, liquid gold, melt in your throat, not-too-sweet, just right stuff. I was ruined in Italy a few years back… I had real hot chocolate in Nemi and I doubt I will ever be able to go back to the old stand-in (and don’t get me started on comparing American Gelato!).

I’ve been searching for a recipe, an idea to work from, SOMETHING that will get me close to that small piece of wonder…but until now had nothing. Then, I found it. A recipe that, with a little tweaking here and there, has some real promise.

Homemade Italian Hot Chocolate - YUM!

Homemade Italian Hot Chocolate – YUM!

Italian Hot Chocolate Recipe
1 ½ cups half-and-half (this can also be a mixture of heavy cream and milk…whatever you have on hand)
1 ½ teaspoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons sugar
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 ounce dark chocolate

First, on a cutting board chop your chocolate into small pieces/flakes using a large knife (this makes it much easier to melt in the milk mixture later). I recommend using a high-quality chocolate, but I’ve also had great results with Hershey’s Chocolate Chips (and I’m a bargain shopper, so this happens much more frequently)! Set chocolate aside.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 c. the half-and-half (or milk) with the cornstarch, whisking until smooth. Make sure there are no lumps in the mixture. Pour the remaining half-and-half in a small saucepan over medium heat and slowly bring to a simmer (should not get to the point of boiling). When the half-and-half is hot, steaming and begins to bubble around the edges whisk in the sugar. Make sure your cornstarch mixture has not settled (you will most likely need to whisk it smooth again), then whisk it into your half-and-half mixture.

Allow the mixture to thicken slightly as you continue to whisk, this usually takes less than a minute. Remove from heat and quickly whisk in the chocolate until smooth. Pour into two cups and enjoy immediately! :)


Usually I continue to perfect a recipe as I go, so let me know if you make any changes! My husband had to have marshmallows in his (who could do without them, right?), but I preferred mine as it should be…a deep sweetness that doesn’t make you sick after a sip. YUM.


Strawberries, Sunshine and Pink Lemonade

My brain has been on strawberries today.
First when I made my chocolate-dipped strawberries for my grandmother’s birthday:

Melted milk chocolate, and then dipped the tips into the glittery, pink, sugar sprinkles I had. Amazingly good. The crunchy sugar added a third texture to the berry/chocolate combo and a tiny extra bit of sweetness. Yum. Also discovered white chocolate (at least most of them) will NOT melt correctly unless it has cocoa butter in the ingredients. I tried melting some before I knew this, and it came out the consistency of frosting – undippable.

Then for lunch today, when I couldn’t think of anything good for lunch. I finally decided to use my left over strawberries, strawberry yogurt and a few other things to make a smoothie:

Strawberry Smoothie
4 Strawberries
1 Banana
1 Cup Strawberry (or vanilla) Yogurt
3-4 Ice cubes
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 egg (optional)
Blend all ingredients in blender until completely smooth. Makes 2 glass-fulls (about 32 oz).

I thought the raw egg seemed really gross, but my husband insisted it was a great source of protein and I wouldn’t taste it. I’m okay with eating raw eggs in cookie dough or un-cooked brownie mixes, so I guess it won’t kill me. I know weight lifters and sports people eat raw egg diets all the time to get the protein and save time. Plus, he was right – I couldn’t taste it. Came out pretty good. I’m not that big of a banana eater, so I think it would taste better without that – but it does add potassium.

And finally when I put together this Etsy Treasury:

Strawberries, Sunshine, and Pink Lemonade.

“The time has come, my little friends, to talk of other things / Of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings / And why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wigs / Calloo, Callay, come run away / With the cabbages and kings.”