2.11.2013

Monday Bites: Cacao Nib Dark Hot Chocolate



I feel like I’ve been stuck in a hole since February started. Well, not really. But I’ve been consumed by those damn Fifty Shades of Grey books. Arg, they are awfully addicted. I’m not one to read these types of books....well, who am I kidding, I totally read the Twilight books and Hunger Games. I liked them too. Whatever, I said it. Anyway, by popular demand (and it being my choice) we picked Fifty Shaded for our book club this month. It took me a measly 10 days to finish the three book series. What?! I know, I am a little embarrassed  And since I’ve been so enmeshed in finishing my trashy novels, I haven’t been too inspired to get off the couch and make much food. But, this weekend, I took a break from the books and made some hot chocolate I’ve wanted to try for nearly a year.

Finally.




And it was good. Really good. Dark, smooth and rich. Kinda like Christian Gray….oh geez, I went there.

I’ll stop.

Now, onto that hot chocolate.

Like I said, I’ve wanted to try this for about a year and I've had some cacao nibs sitting in my pantry for a while not really knowing what to do with them. Strudel of Strudel and Streusel made some oatmeal cacao nib cookies that I thought about trying, but I had my heart set on this beverage. 

Now, what are cacao nibs? Basically, they are raw chocolate pieces. They are pieces of the cacao beans that have been roasted and hulled. Usually milk and sugar are added to the cacao during the chocolate making process making them chocolate bars. They are a fun, roasty nutty alternative to your traditional chocolate.

The goods about this recipe; it has simple ingredients and it is absolutely delicious. The bads; its time consuming and has more steps that are really necessary for hot chocolate. I think it would be worth the effort after a long day of skiing as a treat or being stuck in a blizzard at home when you have nothing to do but make hot chocolate for an hour. Or even a Valentine's Day treat for that matter! Other than that, I probably would opt for an easier option. But, you can be the judge.

First, I always start by taking all my ingredients out.


That way, I know I have everything...and there are no surprises! This ingredient list is so simple. 


Then measure out everything step by step. 


Getting ready to grind up the cacao nibs.


Measure out the milk and add the coco nibs.


Heat it all up in the microwave and once its seeped add it to the carafe where the sugar, salt, and chopped chocolate are waiting. 


Use a strainer or cheese cloth for this process.


Pump the plunger about 10 times to mix everything and attempt to froth the milk (mine didn't, but it mixed quite well). 

Serve it right away and top with your favorite whipped cream or marshmallows. I found these bad boys and added them to mine. Delightful and indulgent to say the least.


Cacao Nib Dark Hot Chocolate
Serves 2
What you need:
1 ounce cocoa nibs  (you can get these a Whole Foods or in any other natural food store).
16 ounces milk
6 ounces good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
3 ounces sugar
2 ounces water
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

How to:
Pulse the cocoa nibs in a spice/coffee grinder 3 to 4 times until the nibs are coarsely chopped. Place the nibs in a 1-quart microwave-safe measuring cup and add the milk. Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes. Let it sit and steep for about 30 minutes.

Combine the chocolate, sugar, water and salt in the carafe of a French press. Set aside.

After steeping, return the mixture to the microwave and heat on high for 2 minutes. Strain the milk mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the French press carafe. Set aside for 1 minute, and then stir to combine the chocolate and milk. Pump the plunger of the French press 10 to 15 times to froth and mix. Serve immediately.


Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

Cheers,

Erica

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