As a kid I thought that no better hot beverage for winter existed than hot chocolate. While my mother was having her cup of tea at tea time, we were given steamy mugs of hot chocolate. The fact that the hot chocolate came out of a packet (just add hot water) was of no consequence to me partly because I didn’t know better and partly because I loved those tiny marshmallows.
As an adult I consider hot chocolate more of a dessert than a beverage. I also think that if you are going to make hot chocolate it should contain, well, chocolate!
This is a grown up version of hot chocolate that makes a lovely treat after dinner. It has rich chocolate flavor deepened with the addition of some coffee liqueur (another reason it is grown up!) and vanilla extract. There is also a mild sweetness and hit of cherry from maraschino cherry liquid. (Good news, you can now find all natural maraschino cherries made without red dye and high fructose corn syrup!) Nothing against marshmallows but I think a dollop of whipped cream and a pretty red cherry make for a lovely and slightly more sophisticated presentation.
If the kids start getting jealous and demand their own, just leave out the coffee liqueur but check for sweetness, you may need to add a spoonful or two of the sweetener of your choice (I like dark agave, coconut palm sugar or brown sugar with chocolate.)
Whether you consider it a beverage or dessert, I am sure you are going to love this updated, grown-up hot chocolate.
Gluten Free Black Forest Hot Chocolate Recipe
2 cups milk of your choice (full fat, 2%, dairy free)
5 ounces dark (bittersweet) chocolate, chopped or 1 cup good quality bittersweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 – ½ cup (to taste) maraschino cherry liquid
1/3 cup coffee liqueur
Whipped cream or dairy free whipped “cream”
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
4 maraschino cherries with stems patted dry
Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring just to a simmer. Take off the heat and stir in the chocolate, vanilla, and maraschino cherry liquid until the chocolate is fully melted. Let the mixture sit off the heat for 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld. Reheat the mixture over low heat until it comes to a simmer, stir in the coffee liqueur and serve with a dollop of whipped cream, a dusting of cocoa powder and a maraschino cherry.
This Gluten Free Black Forest Hot Chocolate recipe serves 4
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