How To || make the world's greatest hot chocolate
A recipe from Kit, a person of great resource and perspicacity and my friend Matt's housemate.
Kit comes from a family of maple farmers in Vermont.
Kit makes needlepoint art of Spartan simplicity and provocative impact. My favorite, the one in the upstairs hall, reads "I am a leaf / in the wind / watch me soar."
Kit has drawn up a comprehensive chart for all the coffee shops in Asheville, detailing their virtues and vices in matters of menu quality, atmosphere, seating, and whether the bathrooms are gendered. It should be noted that Kit doesn't drink coffee.
Kit just purchased a Suzuki Boulevard S40 and has ridden it faithfully every day since, sometimes in the dead of night on Asheville's winding, poorly maintained roads.
Kit loves theatre, wrote a senior thesis on Oswalt (the most pivotal character in Hamlet, in Kit's view), and works with local theatre productions whenever possible. Kit attends karaoke with them on Thursday nights Each time a show closes, Kit bakes a cake that symbolizes the show. This one on the right is for Macbeth. ...You see it, right? (It should be noted that the inner layer is made of blood-red frosting.)
Kit works at a chocolate shop in downtown Asheville. Where, presumably, Kit learned (or at least found the inspiration for the methodology that later led to)...
The World's Greatest Hot Chocolate
Having grown up working on dairy farms (mostly sheep and goat), Kit's judgment may be trusted in advising that hot chocolate is best made with sheep's milk. Even raw cow's milk, Kit concedes, will yield good results, "but sheep's milk is so rich and fabulous."
"I heat the milk first to about steaming first. If I'm paying attention properly, I make a sort of ganache with it--the proper way."
"If you just dump the chocolate chips in, sometimes they don't blend properly. If you put the chips in a bowl and put enough of the milk in to melt them, you get the thick ganache. Then it makes it really smooth.
"You add that to the milk, along with the cocoa powder."
"The trick to getting it chocolatey is chocolate chips and cocoa powder together...they react differently with the milk.
"I add as much chocolate as I can get away with.
"Keep heating it, then add the spices."
"Cardamom is my favorite hot chocolate spice. Cinnamon, chili powder, whatever you have on hand. Smoked salt...I use hickory-smoked sea salt.
Once complete, the hot chocolate yields no immediate distinction from other homemade varieties, save being a little thicker, a sort of creamy muddy color, and smelling faintly of heaven. You don't really know what you're in for, before tasting it.
This makes the first taste all the more powerful.