Why not leave Swiss Miss to her own devices and make your own hot chocolate from scratch? It’s infinitely better than packaged, and you probably have all the ingredients on hand: milk, chocolate and sugar.

 

PARISIAN HOT CHOCOLATE

This recipe is adapted from one by David Lebovitz, formerly a pastry chef at Chez Panisse, Zuni Café and other Bay Area restaurants, and now a cookbook author who lives in Paris and blogs at davidlebovitz.com. If your chocolate is more bitter than sweet (65 percent cacao and above), you’ll probably want to add sugar. If all you have are semisweet chocolate chips, you probably won’t need any sugar.

 

2 cups whole milk

5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

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1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (light brown preferred)

 

1. Heat the milk in a medium-sized saucepan.

2. Once the milk is warm, whisk in the chocolate, stirring until melted and steaming hot. For a thick hot chocolate, cook at a very low boil for about 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Be careful and keep an eye on the mixture, as it may boil up a bit during the first moments.

3. Taste, and add sugar if desired. Makes 2 cups.

 

HOT COCOA

If you don’t have any chocolate in the pantry but you’ve got unsweetened cocoa, here’s my go-to recipe.

 

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (Dutch process, if you have it),

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1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon instant espresso or coffee (if you have it)

Pinch of salt

2 cups whole milk

 

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1. In a small saucepan, mix cocoa, sugar, instant espresso, salt with 1/4 cup water. Over medium heat, whisk mixture until it is completely smooth, then let it simmer for a minute or two.

2. Pour in milk while whisking constantly. Cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until cocoa is piping hot. Don’t let it come to a boil. Makes 2 cups.