Enhance the flavor of this hot chocolate by adding a pinch of chili powder, cinnamon, sea salt, or splash of vanilla extract to the drink before serving.
Hazelnut Hot Chocolate
Prep time: 15 minutes plus 1 hour chilling time; bake time: 10–15 minutes. Makes 4 servings.
1/2 cup hazelnuts, whole, skin on
10 oz 60%+ cocoa butter semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 cups whole milk, cold
1 cup heavy cream, cold
1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder, European style
2 Tbsp powdered sugar, or as needed
1/4 cup hazelnut spread
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped into stiff peaks, for topping
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Toast the hazelnuts in the oven until lightly brown, about 10–15 minutes, being careful not to let them burn. Once toasted, place them on a towel and rub well to remove the skins.
Place hazelnuts into the Vitamix container and secure lid. Select Low speed. Use the On/Off switch to quickly pulse ingredients until just evenly ground but not floury; reserve.
Place coarsely chopped semi-sweet chocolate into the Vitamix container and secure lid. Select Low speed. Use the On/Off switch to quickly pulse until fine; reserve.
In a saucepan, stir together the cold milk, heavy cream, cocoa powder, and sugar, and bring to a simmer over low heat; make sure there aren't any lumps. Remove from the heat and pour into the bowl with the ground hazelnuts. Let steep for at least 1 hour, until cool. You may do this the day before and let the mixture rest in the refrigerator.
Strain the milk-hazelnut-cocoa mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a saucepan, making sure you press the hazelnuts well to release the flavor. Heat the milk until warm-but not boiling-over low heat. Remove from the heat, add the semi-sweet chocolate and hazelnut spread, and mix well until the chocolate is melted. When ready to serve, reheat the hot chocolate and serve immediately with a dollop of whipped cream.
Recipe provided by the Culinary Institute of America.
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