Happy Hour Hot Chocolate

Warm up with a one-two chocolate punch from Chicago’s queen of cocoa

When it’s cold and blustery outside, Chicagoans know the best place to retreat is to HotChocolate, the dessert bar of sugar maven and renowned pastry chef Mindy Segal. Her signature hot chocolate concoctions and decadent collection of sweets have wooed customers and critics alike, earning her perennial nods from Time Out Chicago, Chicago Magazine, and the James Beard Foundation. Variations range from the Mexican (infused with cinnamon and cayenne) to Pumpkin Spice (white and milk chocolate with pumpkin spices) to Half & Half (equal parts espresso and dark hot chocolate), and they’re all guaranteed to shake off the winter blues. Order them as-is, or give them an adult twist with a sidecar of Sambuca or Amaretto. Here, Mindy shares her recipe for Hot Chocolate Grog, a rich and creamy hot cocoa blended with brandy and orange liqueur that’s guaranteed to warm you all the way down to your toes. Pair it with her Dream Barshttps://www.bakefromscratch.com/dream-bars/, simple, buttery bars topped with shards of chocolate and meringue, for the perfect winter fix.

Hot Chocolate Grog
Mindy Segal always adds a toasted marshmallow when serving this cocktail at her restaurant. To make this recipe with her signature ingredients, visit hotchocolatechicago.com to order her hot chocolate mix and marshmallows.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Chai tea bag
  2. 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
  3. 1 1/2 cups Hot Chocolate (recipe follows)
  4. 1/4 cup Spanish brandy, such as Senor Lustau 1940 Solera
  5. 2 tablespoons orange liqueur, such as Mandarine Napoleon
  6. Prepared whipped topping
  7. Garnish: toasted marshmallows*
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, steep Chai tea bag in sweetened condensed milk over low heat. Let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. In another saucepan, heat Hot Chocolate over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is heated through.
  3. Divide brandy and orange liqueur between 2 serving mugs. Add half Hot Chocolate and half Chai milk mixture to each mug, stirring to combine. Top with whipped topping, and garnish with a toasted marshmallow, if desired
Notes
  1. *Place marshmallows on a long skewer. Carefully toast marshmallows using a pastry torch, or place under oven broiler for a few seconds until lightly toasted.
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Hot Chocolate
Yields 2
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Ingredients
  1. ½ cup whole milk
  2. ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  3. ¾ cup Mindy’s HotChocolate Blend
  4. Sweetened whipped cream
  5. Marshmallows
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, bring milk and cream to a boil over medium heat. Add Mindy’s HotChocolate Blend to milk mixture, and turn heat off. Let steep for 1 minute. Whisk until well blended. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, if desired.
  2. Serve hot, over ice, or with a shot of your favorite liquor. Top with whipped cream or a marshmallow, if desired.
Notes
  1. You can buy Mindy Segal’s proprietary blend of French and Belgian chocolate mix ($22) and her homemade marshmallows ($6 for 1 dozen) available September through April at hotchocolatechicago.com.
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Read the whole article in Bake From Scratch Winter 2016.

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