In this article:
A while back, I wrote about falling in love with a kitchen gadget I purchased online. The £25 Hot Chocolate Shaker device has revolutionised my world of hot chocolate and the way I view it.
Before, I was a slave to the hob, whisking powder or beads into hot milk. Now, I do a hot chocolate dance and in 10 seconds or so, I've got a sumptuous mug of hot chocolate.
Keen to put The Chocolate Society's Hot Chocolate Shaker through its paces, I have a long list of recipe ideas I want to play around with. To keep track of my experiments, I've put together this diary that I'll periodically update.
I want to see if I can find the best milk, dark, and white hot chocolate, the best novelty hot chocolate made with a chocolate bar, and the best flavoured hot chocolate, spiked with fruits, herbs, or spices.
I took this research so seriously I bought myself 7.5kg of assorted CasaLuker Columbian chocolate° couverture to get me started, testing a diverse range of flavourings and inclusions in a slightly more wallet-friendly manner.
Why Columbian chocolate? I was very impressed with The Chocolate Society's 41% Columbian Milk Chocolate drops. The resulting hot chocolate was rounded, fruity, and creamy, so I opted to source more chocolate from the region.
I settled on CasaLuker 40% Noche milk chocolate, CasaLuker Chocopanela 39% Dorado white chocolate, and CasaLuker 1906 Origin San Martin 72% dark chocolate. I was tempted by the CasaLuker 35% Glaciar° white chocolate but opted for the 39% instead, swayed by the higher percentage of cocoa butter and the inclusion of panela (unrefined whole cane sugar) in the recipe that lends a natural caramel colour to the chocolate.
Below, you will find a diary of my experiments. I'll be adding to this list over the foreseeable future as I put more hot chocolate recipes through their paces. If you've tried any of these, or your own, hot chocolate experimentations, please share your results in the comments below.
Chocolate Slabs, Flakes, Buttons, Beads & Pearls
|Water||The Chocolate Society 41% Columbian Milk Chocolate||Delicious - very rich, creamy, and wonderfully rounded. Will make again.|
|Water||Hasslacher’s 100% Hot Drinking Chocolate||I sweetened 30g of chocolate with 10g sugar, but it was still very dry and bitter - almost like a hot chocolate espresso. Definitely needs a dairy component.|
|Dairy Milk||Hasslacher’s 100% Hot Drinking Chocolate||Equal quantity of chocolate and honey, with hot milk. The dairy helps soften the flavour, while the honey adds a curious floral note. Sugar is better than honey in this one, although honey may work well in other recipes.|
|Water||Casa Luker 40% Noche milk chocolate||Delicious - very rich, creamy, and wonderfully rounded. Will make again.|
|Water||Casa Luker Chocopanela 39% Dorado white chocolate||Incredible flavour especially as a hot chocolate. Rich, creamy, satisfying. Definitely my best white chocolate yet.|
|Water||Casa Luker 1906 Origin San Martin 72% dark chocolate||Too bitter when made with water. Definitely needs a dairy component.|
|Water||The Chocolate Society Espresso Dark Chocolate||Bitter and too watery. Needed a dairy base to add robustness. Shall remember for future reference. Gritty texture due to the coffee bean flecks, which didn't like the hot water.|
|Water||Cadbury Dairy Milk||Delicious (for a Dairy Milk fan). Far superior - and more authentic tasting - to Cadbury Drinking Chocolate powder.|
|Water||Aldi Everyday Essentials White Chocolate||Surprisingly tasty when made with 40g of white chocolate to around 200ml of water. Unpleasant aftertaste right at the end.|
|Water||Casa Luker 1906 Origin San Martin 72% dark chocolate and Casa Luker 40% Noche milk chocolate||Blended a third dark chocolate to two thirds milk chocolate. The milk chocolate added creaminess and depth of flavour while the dark chocolate enhanced that and added a slight bitterness. Needed slightly less dark to milk chocolate.|
|Water||Hotel Chocolat Rare & Vintage 60% Supermilk Vietnam Review||Intense and flavourful, though the nuances of the cocoa were dulled through heating. Creamy, but needed a hit of sugar to balance nicely.|
Chocolate Bars & Confectionery
|Milk||Aldi Dairyfine Mint Creme dark chocolate||Very sweet, with a recognisable minty aroma and flavour. Unpleasant aftertaste with each sip though.|
|Water||Aldi Dairyfine Turkish Delight milk chocolate||Overly sweet, with a recognisable rose aroma and flavour. Unpleasant aftertaste with each sip though.|
|Water||Casa Luker 40% Noche milk chocolate with crushed Swizzels Matlow Parma Violets (7g)||Sweet, but not overly so. Pleasant delicate violet flavour that may work better in a greater quantity with a dark chocolate base.|
|Water||Treatsize bag of Maltesers, crushed by hand||I was really worried by this one, but the malt centres dissolved fine. A malty hot chocolate not a million miles away from the instant Maltesers hot chocolate powder (a testament to the makers of that product I think)|
|Water||Cadbury Fudge bar||Don't do it, kids. The fudge didn't melt properly and it tasted awful. There wasn't enough chocolate on the bar to make a palatable cup of hot chocolate.|
|Water||Cadbury Caramel Freddo||Better than the Cadbury Fudge experiment, but still not good. Overly sweet and not chocolatey enough, although the flavour of caramel came through.|
|Water||Cadbury Creme Egg||Sweet, but not overly so. Familiar Cadbury chocolate flavour with a mild Creme Egg flavour (I had expected a stronger taste). A great way to use up leftover Creme Eggs.|
|Milk||Terry's Chocolate Orange||I miked around 30g of Chocolate Orange with milk. It's definitely a winner but needs more chocolate to make it more flavourful. Try 40g-50g instead.|
|Water||Cadbury Drinking Chocolate powder||Completely different taste than when made with milk. Gritty. Not as tasty as using a bar of Dairy Milk.|
Hot Chocolate Inclusions
|Water||Casa Luker Chocopanela 39% Dorado white chocolate||Fresh, ripe muddled strawberries||Far too sweet. Not pleasant at all. Sieved to remove lumps which affected the emulsion.|
|Water||Casa Luker 40% Noche milk chocolate||Dried mint (jar from Asda)||Weird - like toothpaste blended into hot chocolate. need to seek out dried peppermint next time.|
|Water||Casa Luker 40% Noche milk chocolate||Dried powdered cinnamon and ginger||Added four shakes of both jars into the mix. Added too gentle a flavour - needs more powder next time.|
|Water||Casa Luker Chocopanela 39% Dorado white chocolate||½ teaspoon of ground mixed spice||A warming, festive flavour although next time, I'd leave the spices steep in the water to infuse it for a minute beforehand.|
|Water||Casa Luker Chocopanela 39% Dorado white chocolate||Dried powdered cinnamon and turmeric||I tried making a DIY version of Whittard's Indian Spice hot chocolate with good results. The spices added a warmth while the chocolate added depth of flavour. I'll be making this one again.|
Conclusions & Tips
The Hot Chocolate Shaker certainly handles a lot of what is thrown at it, with mixed results based on the quality of the ingredients. You definitely get out what you put in, so the higher quality ingredients often produce the tastiest outcome.
- I didn't expected hot chocolate made with hot water to taste good, but indeed it does. Water works best with milk or white chocolate as you're working with an ingredient that has dairy and sugar in it. Dairy works best with dark and bitter chocolate to help tame the intensity (and you might need to add a small quantity of sugar too).
- Single-origin and high cocoa percentage chocolates tend to give the best overall flavour. It depends on the quality of the cocoa though - cheaper chocolate didn't have the same vibrancy of flavour for me as the more expensive varieties did.
- It's good fun watching a mass produced chocolate bar vanish into a base of milk or water, but avoid ones with wafers, nuts, or toffees if you like your hot chocolate smooth. Fondant centres work well with hot water but brace yourself for very sweet results thanks to all that sugar. Cadbury Dairy Milk is a must for Cadbury fans, and is a great way to demolish a big slab of chocolate°. Also try a Creme Egg for its sheer novelty factor, and a Caramel bar for an interesting flavour. Get a dose of Christmas by making a Terry's Chocolate Orange hot chocolate.
- I experimented with bases and quantities to find the sweet spot. Every chocolate is different, so you may well need to adjust recipes to suit your tastes. However, I found adding around 30g to 40g of chocolate to around 150ml to 200ml of hot liquid (the number 6 to 7 mark on the Shaker) gave the most consistent results. I used a greater quantity of chocolate and less liquid when dealing with bars containing low percentage cocoa solids to intensify the chocolatey flavour.
- Most of my recipes took 10 seconds of shaking to produce, but thicker bars took up to 20 seconds of shaking to dissolve properly.
Do you have a hot chocolate recipe idea I haven't tried? Let me know in the comments below.