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The Gourmet Kitchen Recipe: Spiked Hot Chocolate with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream

Gourmet-Kitchen_Hot-Chocolate_400This is a seriously decadent drink, one that’s perfect for cold-weather months. Sure, the alcohol can be omitted. But bittersweet chocolate, bourbon, and salted caramel are a winning trio.

You can speed up the time required for chilling the salted caramel cream by using an ice bath. Before cooking the caramel, fill a large bowl with ice and some water. After the caramel and cream have been combined and removed from the heat, place the saucepan directly over the ice bath and stir periodically while allowing the cream to cool. This will cut down the time required to finish chilling in the refrigerator by half or more. From The Gourmet Kitchen.

Prep Time: 3 hours 10 minutes (mostly inactive)
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes (mostly inactive)
Yield: 3 to 4 servings

¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 cups whole milk
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup bourbon

1. In a medium saucepan, heat the sugar, water, and salt over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Allow the sugar to continue cooking, keeping a close eye on it, until it starts to turn golden brown. Once it begins to caramelize, it will continue to darken quickly. Let the sugar get as dark as possible without burning for best results. Once the caramel is a dark amber color, remove the pan from the heat and pour the heavy cream down the side of the saucepan. The caramel will splatter before temporarily seizing up, so be very careful to avoid burns. Move the pan back onto the burner and use a heatproof spatula to stir the caramel and cream until evenly combined. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring periodically.

2. Pour the caramel into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the film directly against the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Allow to chill until very cold, several hours or overnight.

3. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or using a large bowl and a whisk, whip the caramel cream until it reaches a medium peak. Set aside.

4. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat. When the milk is steaming hot but not yet simmering, remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes until the chocolate has melted. Vigorously whisk in the vanilla and bourbon, and briefly return to the heat until the desired serving temperature is reached. Pour into mugs and top each with a dollop of whipped cream.

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