Liquid Decadence Hot Chocolate

Posted on Dec 5, 2015


I [/dropcap have a confession. I don’t bake at Christmas.

“WHAT?!” you say. “How in God’s green earth is that possible?”

I blame Carol. Carol (my Mom) has always baked a dizzying variety of Christmas cookies: pizzelles, date pinwheels, pecan tassies, these chocolate macaroon things I just love, and the moistest, softest tastiest sugar cookie EVER are just a few of her arsenal. For my entire adult life, she has carefully packed about twenty pounds of them and shipped them to my sister and me. People who’ve seen what delights that fat package contains still ask years later if the cookies have arrived (no doubt hoping for a sample!)

And so, having been crippled by my reliance on that package from Ohio, I don’t bake for Christmas. What I do is “Prepare For The Cookies!” My weapon of choice is this hot chocolate, warmed with the spices of the season and a tinge of chili.

I just got word from my Mom that the annual Christmas cookie extravaganza will be on its way this week! So I’ll be making a big batch of Liquid Decadence to have handy for whenever the cookie urge strikes––and with these amazing cookies in the house, that could be for breakfast!

I call it Liquid Decadence because it’s a pretty decadent take on hot chocolate. Thick and rich, it’s Mexican hot chocolate meets European sipping chocolate. Basically, it’s a molten truffle and it’s absolutely addictive. As a convert said last Thanksgiving, “That packet stuff is bullsh@t!” She’s right, and when you have this in your fridge ready to go, you’ll never be tempted by powdered milk and artificial “chocolate flavor” again. You can just heat up a cup of this nectar in the microwave or on the stovetop anytime. If you have an espresso machine, use the steaming wand for a frothy treat!

The spice mix is a an incredibly versatile one–I sprinkle it on top of my espresso macchiato, and  I even use a pinch in my chocolate protein shakes to give them some zing. I know, why would I bother with shakes when I can actually cook actual healthy food? But the fact is, they can be handy when I’m super busy and on the run, so IMHO, even my chocolate Muscle Milk has a place in the culinary world.

The heat of the spice mix can be adjusted for your family. You can easily make an adult batch (full spice) and one for the kids with less spice mix, or without the chilies, or with just the chocolate, salt and vanilla for a yummy plain version.

Now excuse me, but I think I hear the mailman knocking!!

Download the recipe!




Liquid Decadence Hot Chocolate

Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 15 mins | Servings: 8 servings | Difficulty: Easy


The Spice Mix: [makes more than you need for one recipe!]
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground New Mexican chilies

The Hot Chocolate: 
1 quart whole milk
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
5 ounces semi sweet chocolate, chopped
2 pinches kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon Starbucks Via instant coffee
2 teaspoons spice mixture


In a small jar with a lid, mix the spices of the Spice Mix thoroughly.

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat the milk and salt to between 150-160 degrees. Don’t let it scald, which it will do at about 165 degrees, so watch it and turn off the heat when it’s hot enough.

Off the heat, add the chopped chocolate and whisk for a minute. Use a spatula to make sure no chocolate gets stuck in the corners. Whisk in the vanilla and the spice mix. Let this sit for about five minutes, then whisk again. The texture should start to become velvety at this point. If you need to heat it back up a bit at this point, use a low heat and stir often. Do not let it scald or scorch.

Taste for spice and balance. I like a little more cardamom for that lovely floral essence, and if I’m feeling naughty, I add an extra dash of the New Mexican chilies!

Serve in demitasse cups with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream. Trust me when I tell you that’s plenty~this stuff is like a molten truffle!

Store leftovers in the fridge back in the quart milk container and heat it up a cup at a time, or add some to your coffee or espresso in the morning. The spice mix should make about two batches, so store the rest of the spice mix for next time. Once you have this liquid decadence, it won’t be long before you’re ready for more!


I like Callebaut chocolates for this because it’s a good quality chocolate that you can find in bulk in many stores. In New York City, Fairway carries Callebaut in big chunks of the huge bulk bars and also in a handy calet (chip) form, which means NO CHOPPING! I’ve also seen Callebaut at Whole Foods, as well as some larger grocery stores and baking supply stores around the country. There are also great online resources for bulk goods, including spices. When I’m in Ohio, we go to the Ashery Store, an Amish bulk foods store, but online, is a great source.