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  • LE FRENCH OVEN Do-it-yourself hot chocolate bar

LE FRENCH OVEN Do-it-yourself hot chocolate bar


3 (3.5-ounce / 100 g) bars
bittersweet chocolate
1 small organic orange
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3⁄4 cup (140 g) dark brown sugar,
firmly packed
3 tablespoons (40 g) sugar
3 heaping tablespoons (20 g)
instant espresso powder
13 cups (3 l) whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1⁄2 teaspoons almond extract
4 heaping tablespoons (40 g)
Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
1 cup (240 ml) Grand Marnier
whipped cream
large chunk of white chocolate
bottle of Grand Marnier
cinnamon sticks


Coarsely break up chocolate. Zest and juice orange.

Toss broken chocolate, orange zest, cinnamon, brown sugar, sugar, and espresso powder into the food processor and pulse until chocolate is broken down. Then process until everything is finely chopped.
In the French oven, pour in the milk, vanilla extract, almond extract, and orange juice and cook over medium heat until it just begins to simmer. Scrape in the contents from the food processor, add the cocoa powder, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and whisk for about 3–5 minutes, until melted and thoroughly combined.
Whisk in the Grand Marnier. Taste, and add sugar or more Grand Marnier, if desired. Keep warm on the back burner on very low heat. Set up the hot chocolate bar: Place a ladle to the side of the French oven. Have heatproof mugs arranged on the countertop. Next, place a bowl of whipped cream, a microplane with the chunk of white chocolate so guests can grate some on top of the whipped cream, an opened bottle of Grand Marnier for those who might like an extra splash in the bottom of their mug, a jar or bowl of marshmallows, and cinnamon sticks for stirring the drinks.

Omit the Grand Marnier for an equally delicious alcohol-free version. For the holidays, serve with a bowl of candy canes for stirrers. Substitute peppermint schnapps and fresh mint leaves; spiced rum; Frangelico; or Kahlúa for the Grand Marnier.

Recipe by Hillary Davis, Le French Oven

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