Happy National Hot Chocolate Day! To celebrate we’ve decided to share this amazing Chai Hot Chocolate recipe from Now, Forager! Although this recipe takes a little time and finesse, don’t feel daunted! It is easy and definitely worth it! And be sure to read our personal notes and tips at the end to help ease some of your initial hesitations!
FROTHY CHAI HOT CHOCOLATE WITH MILK CHOCOLATE GANACHE
Total Time: 8+ hours (includes ganache cooling & firming time)
Makes: 2 (7 ounce) hot chocolates
FOR THE CHAI MILK CHOCOLATE GANACHE:
In a small saucepan bring ½ cup heavy cream, 6 cardamom pods (lightly crushed), ⅛ tsp. black peppercorns (lightly crushed), 6 whole cloves, 1 star anise, ¼ of a vanilla bean's seeds and scraped pod, a pinch of fleur de sel, and 2 tbsp. loose leaf Assam tea to a strong boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt 6 oz. of 38%-46% milk chocolate over a double boiler stirring occasionally. Set aside once melted.
Strain steeped cream into a clean bowl and discard spices. Measure amount of cream and transfer back into the saucepan. Add more heavy cream (about ¼ cup)until there is again ½ cup of total cream. Bring to a simmer and then pour over melted milk chocolate.
Gently stir the hot cream into the chocolate with slow small circular motions in the center of the bowl. As it emulsifies, make your circles bigger and mix until the ganache is fully combined and smooth. Let the ganache cool at room temperature until firm (about 8 hours or overnight). To speed up the firming process, you can allow your room temperature ganache to firm up in the refrigerator.
FOR THE FROTHY CHAI HOT CHOCOLATE:
Place the ganache into a high speed blender and set aside.
In a small saucepan bring ¾ cup whole milk and a pinch of fleur de sel to a boil. Pour over the ganache in the blender and let sit for 1 minute before placing on blender lid.
Blend on high for 15-20 seconds until frothy. Pour hot chocolate into a mug and add a star anise and light dusting of cinnamon for garnishes.
NOTES & TIPS:
All of these spices can be found in the spice aisle of your grocery store. To help save on cost, most of these spices can be found for considerably less at local Asian grocery stores!
Fleur de sel can be substituted for any course sea salt, although it will not be as crunchy or flavorful. Fleur de sel can be ordered on Amazon if it’s not available at your grocery store.
Don’t skimp on the quality of your milk chocolate! The chocolate ganache is the star of the drink and you want its sweetness to be balanced! Cheap chocolates will make your hot chocolate overly sweet. We used Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Chips.
If you don’t have a heat resistant bowl to create a double boiler, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave 30 seconds at a time and mixing between each interval.
Any remaining ganache can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. This is especially great if you want to make this recipe last a few days!
For extra frothy chai hot chocolate, make each serving separately in the blender! (That is, place only ⅓ of the ganache and ¼ cup of the hot whole milk into the blender at a time.)