Ina Garten's Fabulous Hot Chocolate Features An Array Of Ingredients

When hot chocolate season hits, there's only one way to make a really delicious cup of hot cocoa, and that's the Ina Garten way. The Barefoot Contessa doesn't skimp and uses ingredients worthy of this warm and comforting drink. Per the Food Network, to create her chocolate masterpiece, Garten begins with whole-fat milk but also adds half-and-half to create a truly thick, creamy, and rich base. Remember, all milk is 87% water and it's the fat content that separates one from the other. By combining the two, she is upping that fat content that works harmoniously with the chocolate's.

In addition to using two types of dairy, she shuns the dry cocoa and instead turns to both milk and bittersweet chocolate that is coarsely chopped for an easy melt to create a decadent, chocolaty taste. Why two types of chocolate? Typically, when you make hot chocolate, you will want to use semi-sweet chocolate because milk chocolate is not rich enough, and bittersweet chocolate isn't sweet enough. However, when you combine the intense flavor of bittersweet chocolate with the sweet and subtle flavors of milk chocolate, the two work together to bring your taste buds the perfect, velvety chocolate sensation.

Layers of flavor

And if you are curious about what brands of chocolate she likes to use, Garten is partial towards the French brand Valrhona or the Belgian Callebaut. But her chocolate choices are just the beginning of the celebrity chef's hot chocolate recipe that will have you sipping on it whenever the air turns chilly. Garten doesn't leave anything to chance when it comes to its taste. She ensures the sweet barometer hits its mark by adding some sugar and then layers in the flavors that make this truly unique. 

In addition to the sugar, she adds a little bit of bitterness with coffee. This may have you thinking this hot chocolate is more like a mocha, but the java simply creates a balance, so it isn't nauseatingly sweet. Garten then adds a bit of a caramel taste to this chocolate mixture using pure vanilla extract, and yes, store-bought is just fine. To round out the sweet and bitter, she adds a pop of warm spice, using cinnamon sticks for a garnish that can be used to stir the hot chocolate once poured. The end result is all the feels and tastes your mouth expects and then some.