Steamed Hot Chocolate – The best hot chocolate imaginable. Sometimes simple really is best. Steamed frothed milk and a square of high-quality chocolate make the best hot chocolate you could ever imagine.All over Instagram and Facebook, I see posts about the 70° winter weather. Well, it’s not spring-like here in Germany. We are still very much feeling the winter cold. And truthfully, I’m happy about that. It’s supposed to be cold in winter, and I’m not quite ready to put my hat collection away until next year. (I grew my hair out just so that it would look better in a hat. I’m not sure if that is a problem or if I’m just really committed to my hat collection.)
We like to go to the Ritter Sport Chocolate Factory for lunch or coffee and to stock up on chocolate. We live close to the factory and have been many times since we moved here. (I love getting a behind the scenes look at where my food comes from.) My kids love to order steamed hot chocolate there. They serve it with a buttered pretzel. It’s their favorite, sweet and salty makes sense to me.
You get to select the kind of chocolate you want and they put a block in the bottom of a mug and pour hot steamed milk over. That’s it. Nothing else. It’s like a hot chocolate cappuccino. The heat from the steamed milk melts the chocolate and even when you stir it, it stays foamy. Sometimes the most simple things are the best. I am taking this German way of making a hot chocolate home with me.
I bought this milk frother a few years ago and I have most certainly gotten my money’s worth. (Here is a less expensive option that gets great reviews.) We use it all the time. I froth coconut or almond milk for my lattes and my kids have made a million steamed hot chocolates using it. If you don’t want to use a frother, you could just heat the milk and go to town whisking it to get some froth.
The most popular kind of hot chocolate at my house is made using Peppermint Chocolate. I can sometimes get the mini 4-block pieces at the factory, but more often than not, I buy the big bars and break them up. The milk chocolate and Goldschatz (I don’t think that they sell this kind in the states, but it is a less sweet milk chocolate) are sold in minis and that is what they use at the Ritter Cafe.
All you have to do is break up a few pieces and put in the bottom of your cup.
Use your steamer to froth whole milk. You can use low fat, but I only have whole milk in my house. You can also use a non-dairy milk like almond or coconut.
Pour the hot milk over the chocolate and spoon some of the froth on top. Let it sit for a minute or two and stir.
During the holidays, I kept a permanent steamed hot chocolate station set up on my kitchen counter. Different kinds of chocolate, crushed peppermint, chocolate shavings, marshmallows, and I had whipped cream in the fridge at all times. (I am pretty sure the Germans would not approve of putting whipped cream and toppings on a hot chocolate, but I’m okay with breaking the rules.) I also kept the milk well-stocked. We went through a lot of milk.
I did this for two reasons. One, it was festive and fun and I like to make things special during the holidays for my family. And two, I want my house to be the house that the kid’s friends come to. I have learned more about them and what they are into listening to them talk to their friends in my kitchen making hot chocolate than anywhere else (also driving back and forth to practices and games and dances). I remember being a very young mom and a veteran mom told me to always have a freezer stuffed with popsicles, have good snacks, and be The House. Kids gravitate towards food. She was 1000% right.
She also told me to go to everything. Every open house, every parent-teacher conference, every event. She said that our showing up shows our kids that we care about them and that we are involved in every aspect of their lives. And that they will know that they can’t hide anything because we will always be involved. Also very good advice. She said it better than I did, but you get the idea.