COOKING ADVENTURE # 59: Frozen Hot Chocolate
Yup, that recipe’s name is a bit of an oxymoron. How does one enjoy frozen hot chocolate, do you ask? I’ll make it simple for you. It’s not chocolate milk. It’s not a frappe or a milkshake or anything that can be easily made. It’s the most fattening, sugar laced hot chocolate you’ve ever known. And somehow, it wasn’t invented by Paula Dean. Shocker. Actually this recipe is taken from a very popular place in the great New York City called Serendipity where they are known for their frozen hot chocolate. I found this recipe while scouting Pinterest (once again) and decided to take a whack at it. It’s not as if I needed to add to my chocolate consumption though. Combine your surplus of chocolate from Valentine’s day and mix in some stress from a long and not great day at work. Voila. You are now primed for clogging your arteries with this drink of choice. Or at least, I thought I would be able to enjoy it while sulking about my day. Turns out that even making the frozen hot chocolate was more of a chore than I’d predicted.
So, like I’d hinted at, it had been a long day at work. The worst of it ended up being trapped in my department with three little girls (all of them carrying a terrible cold– which I always say is either Hanta or The Black Plague) and having to listen to a repetitious bout of screaming and coughing. Frankly, I was afraid to touch anything after they finally left about an hour and a half later. From that point on, things just didn’t go well left and right. By the time I got home, I was ready to throw in the towel, either with a bottle of hard cider or this dangerously delicious hot chocolate recipe. Based on what my schedule looks like this week, I decided to go ahead with the hot chocolate, knowing full well that it would just accelerate the Himalayan Mountains breaking out across my face from all of the sugar. Oh well.
A major, major component for making this frozen hot chocolate is the use of a double boiler… which is something I don’t technically own. My mom gifted me a great new stainless steel pot with a steaming compartment for Christmas and also a mini wok that conveniently fit inside of the pot. We both figured that would serve just fine as a double boiler and I was excited to finally have the opportunity to try it out. I poured some water into the bottom pot and got that up to a “gentle boil” on the stove top. While that heated up, I assembled all of my ingredients so that I wouldn’t have to fiddle with them later on. Apparently, I should have gone one step further and had everything measured out, too.
In the wok, I added 1 tbsp. sugar and 1 tbsp of butter. It also said to add 3 tbsp of a package of hot chocolate. When I went to measure this out, it ended up being the entire package… not sure if I some how just ended up with a package that had less powder in it or what. Hmm. I then placed the wok over the water when it had reached the “gentle boiling” stage. The butter melted slowly and I began to worry that there wasn’t enough when the cocoa and sugar were virtually untouched. I added another tablespoon of butter to the mix and soon realized in horror that it wasn’t going to help. In fact, it made it worse. The cocoa mixture solidified almost instantly. The directions said that I should keep stirring until I got a smooth paste. I kept stirring, losing my hope that it would soon look the way it was supposed to. A part of it was watery while the rest was more of a clumpy paste that never seemed to thicken up or become smooth no matter how much stirring I did.
Finally, I just ended up taking the wok off the boiling pot and placed it on another burner while I wrangled with the packages of chocolate chips. I added about a tablespoon of semi-sweet chocolate chips and white chocolate chips to the wok and then put it back over the boiling water to let them melt. They turned to a beautiful milky brown but unfortunately, didn’t want to mix with the mutant cocoa blob from before. I shook my head. Somehow, in less than five minutes, I’d already managed to irrevocably screw up the recipe. Guess old habits die hard.
The last item to add to the wok was 6 oz. evaporated milk. Here’s the thing: in my brain, I somehow misinterpreted “evaporated” for “sweetened condensed.” Don’t ask me how that happens. There are many long, dark, and empty halls in my mind when it comes to culinary expertise. So, instead of having a frozen hot chocolate that is moderately sweet, I ended up with something that might likely give someone diabetes on the spot. Terrific.
If that wasn’t enough, I also had to blend this chocolate nightmare with more evaporated milk in a blender until it formed a smooth consistency. Let me tell you how well that went. After removing the wok from the boiling water and turning off the burner, I let the wok sit for a moment to cool down. Turns out this was a bad idea. When I tried to get the chunky cocoa mixture into the magic bullet container, the chocolate moved like sludge. It had started solidifying again. It glopped into the bottom of the cup and promptly glued itself to there. I opened the freezer to grab some ice cubes to add to it. However, since I haven’t had the need for ice for the last four months, I haven’t used any and it all dried and evaporated from the ice trays in the freezer. There were only three very thin ice cubes left which I grudgingly added to the blender cup. Then, I added some milk, thinking that the consistency was probably a little too syrupy and would remain so without more ice to compensate.
I moved the trusty Magic Bullet into the living room. It was 9:30 at night and I’m sure my next door neighbor wouldn’t want to hear that thing rip-roaring into high gear just to chop up three measly ice cubes and pulverize some chocolate muck. However, when I plugged it in and pressed the blending cup onto the bottom applicator, I realized that the chocolate from the wok had stuck completely to the bottom of the cup (which is now on top) and wouldn’t slide down to hit the blades. All it did was spin the milk and the few bits of chocolate that it could reach. Grumbling, I returned to the kitchen and tried to scrape the chocolate from the cup with a spoon. Then, I tried blending it again. This step took FOREVER to do. I think if I’d just added the chocolate in with the ice quickly enough, I wouldn’t have had any problems. I ended up holding the blender container and literally shaking it as hard as I could back and forth to try and dislodge the chocolate from one end of the cup… but it didn’t work.
After returning from a fun Doctor Who event at the local library this evening, I took a very small juice glass from the cupboard and filled it with a few ice cubes. Then, I poured some of the chocolate mixture over it and put a few chocolate chips to garnish. The original photo has pictures of shaved chocolate and whipped cream. I wasn’t going to go all out, partially because I knew I’d already ruined the recipe and because I was the only person that was going to drink it… presumably. I’d barely had half the glass when I felt my sinuses completely close up and my throat get rough. Talk about having a random allergic reaction! I immediately dumped the rest of it in the garbage and quickly downed a glass of water. It’s been nearly a half an hour since I drank it; I still have a mini headache and my sinuses are still clogged! The chocolate was WAY too sweet. This is because of my stupid mistake regarding the condensed/evaporated milk debacle. Also, my body isn’t used to a lot of chocolate. I barely eat it and when I do have it, it’s usually in very small quantities.
I’m a bit sad that it didn’t turn out good. I think I’ll just take other people’s words for it and say that Serendipity’s frozen hot chocolate is to die for. Maybe someday I’ll have the opportunity to go to New York City and try it myself.
Next week on Cooking Adventures, we’ll be doing a wonderfully healthy alternative to all of the sweet stuff we’ve seen in the last couple weeks. Quinoa Tabouli will be next! Stay tuned!