Spanish style hot chocolate is dark, slightly bitter and so thick you can feel the spoon drag against the bottom of the cup. It’s easy to make at home with good quality chocolate. Once you try it, you may be tempted to Go Boxless and always make it from scratch.
It’s almost a shock, the first time you taste hot chocolate that tastes “real”. My first taste was at Chocolateria San Gines in Madrid where they’ve been making chocolate and churros for over a hundred years.
I had lots of chocolate while in Spain, but none was as sublime as that very first cup. In some of the smaller places I noticed the server would scoop some sort of mix into a small pitcher and dissolve it in steamed milk. Hey, it was delicious…I’m not complaining.
To replicate the flavor of Spanish style hot chocolate at home you’ll need quality dark chocolate. Purchase the best you can find. We’ve had good success with this brand (affiliate link), but quality dark chocolate chips will work too and eliminate having to grate or chop the chocolate.
There’s some controversy in the Flexitarian Kitchen about the use of cornstarch (or arrowroot) to thicken the chocolate. Rick insists it’s not necessary, but I like it. The amount called for doesn’t make the chocolate too thick, but does give a nice gloss. If you’d rather not use it reduce the amount of milk by a third and add more after the chocolate is melted to get the consistency you like.
Spanish style hot chocolate is extremely rich and typically served in a small four to six ounce portion, about the size of a traditional tea cup.
Churros were lacking in my house, but I did have these marvelous Maria cookies (affiliate link). If we’re having hot chocolate for dessert, Rick will sometimes drink a little brandy with it. It’s something the men in his family do and it’s a nice finish to the day.
- 2 cups milk (almond milk is good too)
- 1 tablespoon cane sugar (adjust to taste)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot
- 4 ounces grated or chopped chocolate (I estimate based on the size of the package and it usually falls somewhere between a half and 3/4 cup in volume…you can always add more milk or chocolate to adjust the strength)
- Mix the cornstarch with a little milk to make a slurry and set aside.
- Heat the remaining milk and sugar in a small sauce pan until bubbles form around the sides.
- Add the chocolate and stir while it melts. Avoid boiling the milk.
- Stir in the slurry and continue to stir while the chocolate thickens and gets a little glossy.
- Serve immediately.
If you’re feeling adventurous, there are some really good flavored chocolates that could be substituted. You could also add a little chili powder or cinnamon to your chocolate for a Mexican flair in your Spanish style hot chocolate.