This piquant hot chocolate is bursting with bold flavors to keep you warm on chilly nights.
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped or grated
3/4 cup raw sugar
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly grated cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp peppercorns
1/2 tbsp cardamom pods
1 tsp grated ginger
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
1 egg, beaten
Splash vanilla vodka, spiced rum, coffee liqueur or bourbon (optional)
Heat the chocolate, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, chili powder and cayenne in a double boiler. Whisk together until the chocolate has melted, then set aside.
In a separate pan, heat the milk, cream and remaining spices over low heat. Stir until the milk begins to bubble but not boil. Remove from heat and strain out the spices. Whisk the milk mixture into the chocolate.
In a small bowl, whisk a tablespoon of the chocolate-milk mixture into the beaten egg, then slowly stir it into the chocolate (this helps avoid cooking the egg).
Use the double boiler again to heat the combined mixture, whisking briskly, for afew minutes before serving. Stir a little bit of your booze of choice into the whipped cream and a little into the cocoa. Then top each cup of cocoa with the whipped cream, and serve immediately.