Photograph: Martin Poole
- 500 ml whipping cream
- 1.6 litres semi-skimmed milk
- 300 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into squares
- 150 g light muscovado sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon, for sprinkling
Whip 300ml of the cream; chill. Pour 1 litre of the milk into a pan, add the chocolate and the sugar, then heat gently, stirring with a wooden spoon. Pour in the rest of the milk and simmer for 5 minutes, whisking now and again with a balloon whisk to make sure the chocolate has completely melted.
Add the remaining cream to the pan and whisk for a couple of minutes. Whisking the hot chocolate and adding the milk in staged, followed by the cream, gives a frothy finish. Pour the hot chocolate into small heatproof glasses or mugs. Top with the chilled whipped cream and sprinkle with ground cinnamon.
Additions and variations:
• A pinch of chilli powder
• A split vanilla pod
• A cinnamon stick
• Crushed seeds from split cardamom pods
• A little instant espresso powder for a hot mocha
• Use half milk and half water for a lower-fat drink
• A spoonful of hazelnut chocolate spread
• Use Maya gold chocolate, sprinkle with orange zest
• Use half mint chocolate and half dark chocolate, finish with an After Eight mint
• A dash of Frangelico, top with toasted chopped nuts
• Top with a little grated chocolate or a couple of marshmallows.
Kitchen secret: whisking the hot chocolate and adding the milk in stages, followed by the cream, gives a frothy finish. The combination of chilled whipped cream on top and steamy hot chocolate below is a winner.