Have you ever had a delicious European-style hot chocolate on your travels and thought: ‘I just have to find out how to make this’? Me too! Luckily, this thick Italian hot chocolate is super easy. Grab 4 store cupboard ingredients and in just 5 minutes you’ll have the best hot chocolate ever.
I have a little tradition here on the blog of posting naughty recipes in January when you’re all trying to diet after the holidays. There were these 5 minute chocolate pots (there’s a reason they’re one of the most popular recipes on the blog), and these strawberry and angel cake skewers with chocolate dipping sauce.
But hey, it’s Valentine’s Day soon, right, and that’s all about the chocolate. Better to be prepared well ahead of the day.
This thick Italian hot chocolate recipe is one of those recipes I’ve been wanting to master for YEARS, ever since I first dunked a churro in a cup of thick Spanish hot chocolate when I was studying in Spain.
Wait a minute – Spanish or Italian? [imagine big shoulder shrug]
You may find this going by several names: Italian hot chocolate (cioccolata calda), Spanish hot chocolate, or just simple thick hot chocolate, which is what I like to call it.
The truth is, you can find it in several European countries.
Most importantly, I understand that some Italians (and Spaniards no doubt) see cradling one of these thick hot chocolates in your hands with a group of friends or family an important ritual that’s good for your health [imagine big thumbs up].
Whatever you want to call it and however you want to see it, one thing is clear. This cioccolata calda is rich and decadent and yet quick and easy to make with just 4 simple store cupboard ingredients:
- corn starch / corn flour
You can use any kind of chocolate you like but I like to make it with a high cocoa content dark chocolate – around 70%. That makes it ‘healthy’ hot chocolate too right?
So it’s fine to make it in January after all.
This thick hot chocolate is a delicious treat as it is or of course you can put some cream and marshmallows on the top. I’m not a big cream and marshmallows fan (crazy, right?) so I like to have a donut or some churros handy for dipping instead. Mmmm.
Delicious as this Italian hot chocolate may be, I can never finish a whole regular cup of it. I need to remember that my eyes are bigger than my tummy when it comes to this recipe and serve it in an espresso cup.
So you can do this too, or you can pop the leftovers in the fridge. They thicken up even more when refrigerated and make the most delicious chocolate pudding you can imagine.
In fact let’s be honest here. This makes a delicious thick hot chocolate and chocolate pudding, but it could also make a fine chocolate sauce for cake or ice cream.
Entertaining and not much time to make dessert? I’m sure no one would complain if you served them a little cup of this thick hot chocolate with a pile of fresh donuts on the side.
And just to make it all super super easy, here’s a little 50-second video to show you just how simple this thick Italian hot chocolate is to make:
Thick Italian hot chocolate
- 7 ounces chocolate good quality (I like 70% dark), plus a little extra for sprinkling (optional)
- 1 tablespoon sugar optional
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon corn starch cornflour (UK), mixed with a little milk
Heat the milk and sugar together in a small saucepan and whisk, then break the chocolate into it.
- Continue to heat while you whisk until all the chocolate has melted into the milk.
- Add the constarch / cornflour and cook for 2 to 4 minutes until the mixture has thickened a little (it should coat the whisk).
- Pour into cups and sprinkle with a little grated chocolate (if you like).
I don’t like cream, but go ahead and top your thick hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows if you’re in the mood for a bigger treat than usual!
The hot chocolate might still seem quite thin when you pour it into your cups, but bear in mind it will thicken up more as it cools.
Pop the leftovers in the fridge to make a delicious thick chocolate pudding - just for you!
This would also make a delicious chocolate sauce for ice cream or cake.