11/04/2011 02:19 pm ET Updated Aug 31, 2012

How To Make Hot Chocolate

To make thick, rich hot chocolate, maitre d' instructor Doug Miller begins by adding 8 ounces of heavy cream to a small saucepan. You can use skim, whole, or even soy milk, but heavy cream will give you a wonderfully silky texture and mouthfeel. Next, he adds 10 ounces of milk and a tablespoon of vanilla extract and brings the mixture to the point right below a boil. (You don't want to boil the milk -- it could scald and bring out off flavors in the milk.) Next up, he adds 8 ounces of chocolate and allows it to sit in the hot milk for about 20 seconds, or until it's soft and melted. Using a handheld blender, he blends the mixture until it's smooth and slightly frothy, then ladles it into a coffee mug.

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Maitre D' Instructor Doug Miller from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to make hot chocolate.

Hot chocolate is a classic winter beverage. I'm going to start by turning on my burner, and add into my pot about eight ounces of heavy cream. If you like, you can use skim milk, whole milk - perhaps even soy milk. Then I'm going to add ten ounces of milk, and about a tablespoon of vanilla extract. I'm going to let that sit on my burner and allow it to come to the point right below a boil. You don't want to boil your milk, because you'll scald it, and bring out some off flavors in the milk.

Now that my milk mixture has reached the proper temperature, just below the point of boiling, I'm going to add about eight ounces of chocolate into the mixture. I'm going to let the chocolate sit in there for about twenty seconds, to the point where the chocolate softens up and melts. Now that the chocolate's softened, I'm going to take my handheld mixer and just incorporate the chocolate into the milk. I'm going to do that for about fifteen to twenty seconds. The other advantage to doing this is that I incorporate a little bit of air into the hot chocolate so it'll not only be rich, it'll have a little airiness or lightness to it.

I'll turn my burner off and ladle this lovely mixture into my coffee mug. This hot chocolate is a little on the thicker side; it's very, very rich. If you like, you could decrease the amount of chocolate or increase the amount of milk. You can add whipped cream to this, you can add marshmallows: it's the perfect beverage on a cold winter day.