Homemade Hot Chocolate with Pastel Whipped Cream
Hi guys! I've been working on a rather delightful cake to share with you, but I thought it would be fun to share this quick and simple treat in the meantime--a treat we indulge in often over here! Between my cakelets, their friends and my sprinkle squad in the shop, we all enjoy these Homemade Hot Chocolates with Pastel Whipped Cream on a possibly too-frequent basis. I think one of the best parts of running a sprinkle business, is that I'm always looking for fun and easy ways to spread sprinkle joy without always having to bake for days. We don't always have time to bake and bake, as much as we love to. Sometimes we just need sweet little treats for rainy days, Sunday mornings and the like. As you know, I love premium cocoa powder with a deep, dark richness (since that's all we use in our chocolatey cakes, right?), and because I always have some on hand (possibly more than one girl needs!), keeping a big jar of homemade hot chocolate mix is just another great way to appreciate and share such chocolately goodness. I typically use Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder because your hot chocolate is only as good as your cocoa powder! You can use any cocoa powder you have discovered and love, though. Add a huge dollop (oxymoron?) of homemade pastel vanilla bean whipped cream and a healthy dose of sprinkles and you have a glorious (yet simple) treat in about 5 short minutes. With Easter just around the corner, and just the overall springy pastel vibe in the air right now, I opted to add a few of my favourite malted Robin's Egg candies--I live for these. You can even "malt" your hot chocolate by using equal parts Ovaltine and hot chocolate mix. Easter in a mug, truly. But even just the pastel cream with glorious flecks of vanilla bean (très robin's egg, non?) is super springy, and then with a handful of chocolatey and pastel Easter-inspired sprinkles, the result is magical. Of course you can really theme up a lovely hot chocolate any way you wish--once you have that mix made, you can add any kind of flavouring you love to either the hot drink, the whipped cream or the toppings. Heck, even just the classic homemade version done right is supreme compared to anything store-bought. Either way, we have a warm cup rich, creamy and decadent happiness! So simple, but look at this bowl of ethereal vanilla bean creaminess! Imagine a dollop on pretty much anything for instant texture and richness (think ice cream; pie; cake or, well, any baked good; pancakes and more). It's whipped up (literally) in seconds, and yet sometimes we don't even think to do this ourselves for the ultimate version, as grabbing a can of "topper" might seem a more convenient way to go. And while I have definitely used the canned, pre-whipped "Real Whipped Cream" at times, there's honestly nothing like the real thing whipped at home. I use the standard carton of "whipping cream," as it's most often called here in Canada, from the dairy case in the grocery store (usually Nielson brand, or the like), which is 35% milk fat, or M.F. as it reads on the carton. In the USA, it seems "heavy cream" is more readily available, which is a slightly thicker cream, with about 36-38% milk fat content. Both work well, but of course the higher the milk fat content, the thicker and richer the final whipped cream will be. In Canada, I suspect most people would say that their most vivid hot chocolate memories are rooted in cold, hockey arenas with their hands wrapped around unthinkably-hot hot "chocolate" out of a Styrofoam cup (gasp!). And while I have a few of those memories myself, my hot-chocolate memories are, well, a little more Viennese . . . . You might remember my saying that I worked at Viennese café in my teens (Café Mozart in Kitchener, Ontario, which is sadly no longer there)--quite possibly the reason I bake today. So anyway, at the café, we had this huge stainless steel commercial cream machine--you pour gallons of liquid cream in, and with one easy push of a lever, mounds of fluffy whipped cream would adorn anything you eagerly held underneath it. There were certain pastries on the menu that were to include a generous swirl (Apple Cake, Strudel and Sachertorte come to mind), but also some decadent hot drinks--I remember making countless Viennese Coffees, which I now realize weren't even authentic--whaa? Our Austrian boss taught us to use regular coffee from the pot, in a clear mug topped with a mountain of whipped cream and chocolate shavings on top (those were my pre-coffee-drinking-days, but today that sounds nothing short of magical). Turns out a traditional Viennese Coffee includes espresso, chocolate, cinnamon and whipped cream. Also magical. Our most popular whipped creamy drink, however, was the richest, Belgian chocolate hot chocolate you have ever tasted, which we also dispensed from a magic machine. Just simple but premium, hot, chocoalety goodness topped with what I remember as a mountain of fresh whipped cream. I can still hear the distinct "kwwwoooouuuuu" sound that cream machine, that seemed to go nonstop (usually for customers during café hours, but after work, well, let's just say my co-workers and I used to indulge often in our own 3:1 cream to chocolate mugs and in times of urgency just a spoon and few shots of whipped cream in a styrofoam cup did the trick). At 16 years old, this was one of the most decadent things I had ever tasted. Hence, my passion for homemade hot chocolate and whipped cream. It's not fancy, but I think it's something everyone should experience. Did I just write 7 paragraphs on whipped cream? Pretty sure I did. Where's my editor? Hehe. For the sprinkles-on-top, I went for this happy, happy sprinkle mix, Ice Cream Parlour Sprinkle Medley--I love the contrast of chocolate and pastels! (I added a few little pink bunny heads as well because, I think it's safe to say, you can never have too many tiny pink bunny heads.) Okay, guys, here's the quick and easy recipe!Sweetapolita's Notes:
Homemade Hot Cocoa with Pastel Whipped Cream
Rich, chocolatey homemade hot chocolate mix topped with freshly whipped vanilla bean cream and sprinkles!
For the Hot Chocolate Mix:
- 3 cups 360g premium dark cocoa powder (I use Cacao Barry Extra Brute)
- 1 cup 200g superfine sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
For the Whipped Cream (enough for about 6 generously dolloped hot chocolates):
- 1 cup 240ml whipping/heavy cream (35-40%), cold
- 2 tablespoons sugar (or confectioners' sugar)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
- Few drops of food colouring (I used AmeriColor Turquoise)
For the Hot Chocolate Mix:
- Sift together the cocoa powder and sugar into a medium bowl or piece of parchment paper. Whisk together until combined, and store in an airtight jar at room temperature.
- Will keep for 8-12 months (hooray!).
For the Whipped Cream:
- Chill a stainless bowl (for stand-up mixer if using, or just any stainless bowl if using a hand mixer) and the whisk attachment or beaters in the freezer for a few minutes.
- Pour the cold 35% heavy cream (in Canada known as "whipping cream"), sugar, vanilla bean paste (or vanilla) and a drop of the colour (if using) into the chilled bowl and beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 1 minute (when you lift the whisk or beater over the bowl, the cream should form a droopy point, like an eagle's beak.) This happens very quickly!
- If you like a slightly thicker whipped cream, or if you would to pipe the cream, beat slightly longer until stiff peaks form (you will see visible swirls in the cream when whipping). *Ensure you don't over-beat, or the cream will end up coarse and grainy.
- Best used right away, but will keep covered in fridge for one day.
Make the Hot Chocolate:
- In a large mug, stir together 2 tablespoons of the hot chocolate mix with a splash of milk until well combined. Add boiling water and stir until blended. Spoon on a generous dollop of whipped cream and top with sprinkles!
- For the hot chocolate mix, I used Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder, which is deep and dark.
- I always use superfine sugar for hot chocolate mix, as it dissolves nicely and doesn't impart the off-taste that confectioner'/powdered sugar can. To make your own superfine sugar, simply put granulated sugar into a food processor and pulse until fine, about 1 minute.
- Always use a very cold bowl and beater/whisk attachment and cold cream when making whipped cream.
- For the pastel turquoise whipped cream, I used Turquoise by Americolor but you can use any colour you like.
- I used a handful of Ice Cream Parlour Sprinkle Medley on top, as well as malted "Robins' Eggs" candy (again--my weakness!).