Featured Image - French Chocolat Chaud

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I’ve seen recipes for this many years now and finally made French Chocolat Chaud this past month. If you love chocolate, I encourage you to give this one a try. Intense, rich, and quite heavenly.

French Hot Chocolate Sprinkled with Cinnamon

(Post modified on 12/6/23.)

Some might recognize this drink as French Hot Chocolate. Imagine decadent dark chocolate, melted down and mixed with milk, then heated low until it gradually thickens. Not thick like a pudding or even ganache, but certainly not like the hot chocolate we know in the United States. The French will serve this chocolate indulgence in demitasse cups or small coffee or tea cups. And believe me, you really don’t want much more than that.

Serving French Hot Chocolate in Demitasse Cups - Schumann Empress Dresden Flowers Pattern

I first learned about Chocolat Chaud years ago when a missionary acquaintance from France visited the U.S. for a writer’s conference. She mentioned how much she loved French hot chocolate and that it was nothing like what we have here in the States. At the time, I thought how odd to enjoy such a thick drink. Boy, was I wrong!

You may actually make this chocolate as thin or thick as you want. It all depends on how long you heat it after the chocolate has melted. I find that heating it for about 3-4 minutes is where I like it best.

 

On Buying Chocolate

Guittard Bittersweet Chocolate Wafers

Since this recipe is ALL about the chocolate, I encourage you to purchase the best quality chocolate you can afford. Dark or bittersweet chocolate works really well of at least 70% cacao. Guittard, Ghirardelli, Lindt, or Godiva are all good choices. Bars are good for chopping, but I’ve also used wafers from Guittard and Ghirardelli with great success. Do not use chocolate chips, however, as they do not melt as well.

 

Want More French Dessert Ideas?

 

Ingredients for French Chocolat Chaud

(See the full recipe at the bottom of this post.)

  • whole milk
  • heavy cream
  • brown sugar
  • espresso powder (optional, but lovely)
  • dark bittersweet chocolate
  • whipping cream
  • Fleur de Sel – sea salt

 

Instructions for Making this Recipe

Ingredients for this Recipe

Gather the ingredients for this recipes. You’ll also need a small heavy pot and wooden spoon for stirring.

You’ll want to use a small heavy pot for heating the milk and melting the chocolate. If you have a copper pot, now is the time to use it as copper provides even heating and is perfect for making candy or sauces, such as this.

 

Prepare the Chocolate

Chopping Bars of Dark Chocolate

If using bars of chocolate, chop them into small pieces. The first time I made this recipe I used 2 bars of Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate 72% cacao. Lindt dark chocolate would also be a nice option that is easily found in stores.

It is not necessary to chop chocolate wafers. I can attest that Ghirardelli and Guittard chips melt very well. 

 

Heat the Milk

Pour whole milk and heavy whipping cream in a heavy medium saucepan.

When researching recipes for Chocolate Chaud, it seemed that the majority used only whole milk. Some used milk and water for a more bitter chocolate flavor. I preferred the extra richness the cream provided. 

Add the brown sugar, and espresso powder. Whisk to combine.

Again, some recipes used powdered sugar, superfine granulated sugar, brown sugar, or even no sugar. It’s your choice, but I really liked the flavor that the brown sugar gave to this drink. Same goes for the espresso powder. You may use it, add more or less, or not at all. I thought it enhanced the chocolate flavor quite wonderfully. 

Heat over medium heat until the milk is nicely warm, just to the boiling point. Stick your finger in the milk to test if it’s warm enough. Another sign to watch for are small bubbles at the edge of your pan. When you see this, the milk is about to boil.

 

Melt the Chocolate

Add Chocolate to the Warm Milk

Remove the pot from heat and add the chocolate pieces. Allow it to set for a few minutes and then stir until it has melted.

Heat on Low Until Thickened

To thicken the chocolate, return the saucepan to low heat and continue stirring until the chocolate has thickened to the desired consistency, about 3-4 minutes. However, as before, do not allow the mixture to boil.

 

Serve French Chocolate Chaud in Style

Serve French Hot Chocolate in Chocolate Pot with Demitasse Cups and Saucers

If desired, transfer the hot chocolate to a chocolate pot, or serve warm in demitasse cups.

As you may know from reading my newsletter, I love collecting dishes and shopping at thrift or antique stores. I found the above chocolate pot and demitasse cups on E-bay and enjoy using them for this French Chocolat Chaud. The photo above is a pattern I collect called Shumann Empress Dresden Flowers, made in Bavaria, Germany.

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Serving French Chocolate Chaud with Fleur de Sel

Top with whipped cream and/or sprinkle with the finest sea salt – Fleur de Sel. Another option you might try is to add a little ground cinnamon to the top of the whipped cream.

My daughters and I loved the addition of the Fleur de Sel, which provided a delightful saltiness and crunch. We sprinkled a little salt on top of the chocolate and then topped that with a bit of whipped cream. Ooh, là là! 

Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container such as a pint jar. Reheat in microwave or a saucepan over low heat until thoroughly warmed.

Serve with a French Chocolate Croissant

Serve this dessert or decadent drink with a French pastry such as Raspberry Macarons, Cream Puffs or Eclairs, or Chocolate Croissants. This recipe will serve approximately 4-6 people, or the equivalent of Six 1/2 cup servings.

View more French Recipes Here. Browse Chocolate Recipes Here.

 

Featured Image - French Chocolat Chaud

French Chocolat Chaud

Imagine decadent dark chocolate, melted down and mixed with milk, then heated low until it gradually thickens. If you love chocolate, I encourage you to give this one a try. Intense, rich, and quite heavenly.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Serving Size 6

(As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional, but lovely)
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate (or dark chocolate)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream (for topping)
  • 1 teaspoon Fleur de Sel - sea salt

Instructions

  • Gather the ingredients for this recipes. You'll also need a small heavy pot and wooden spoon for stirring.

Prepare the Chocolate

  • If using bars of chocolate, chop them into small pieces. (It is not necessary to chop chocolate wafers. I can attest that Ghirardelli and Guittard chips melt very well.)

Heat the Milk

  • Pour whole milk and heavy whipping cream in a heavy medium saucepan.
  • Add the brown sugar, and espresso powder. Whisk to combine.
  • Heat over medium heat until the milk is nicely warm, just to the boiling point. Stick your finger in the milk to test if it's warm. Small bubbles will also appear at the side of the pan just before boiling. This does not take very long so don't stray from the stove very far.

Melt the Chocolate

  • Remove the pot from heat and add the chocolate pieces. Allow it to set for a few minutes and then stir until it has melted.
  • To thicken the chocolate, return the saucepan to low heat and continue stirring until the chocolate has thickened to a desired consistency, about 3-4 minutes. However, as before, do not allow the mixture to boil.
  • If desired, transfer the hot chocolate to a chocolate pot, or serve warm in demitasse cups. Top with whipped cream and/or sprinkle with sea salt or Fleur de Sel.
  • Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container such as a pint jar. You may store in refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat in microwave or a saucepan over low heat until thoroughly warmed.
  • This recipe will serve approximately 4-6 people, or the equivalent of Six 1/2 cup servings.

Nutrition

Calories: 478kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 26g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 436mg | Potassium: 333mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 1279IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 147mg | Iron: 2mg

 

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