Thanis Lim

All Rounder Chef and Food Journalist

Italian Hot Chocolate

When I was in Australia, in winter, we love the feel of a warm mug of hot chocolate. When I was at a particular Italian cafe in Aus, they have this thing on the menu: Italian Hot Chocolate. Being a typical foodie, I ordered that item on the menu. What came was a cup of thick syrupy dark chocolate drink. The smell of cocoa was heavenly. The texture resembled creamy mushroom soup. I took my spoon, dipped it into this thick sinful drink and took a scoop. I was hooked! Simply a chocolate lovers dream!

After that, I found the recipe and this has been a regular drink during my stay in Australia. Easy to make and simply delicious. I love to have a cup while snuggling up to watch TV on a cold winter.

Italian Hot Chocolate.

Mix in a high sauce pan -

1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Add about 1/4 cup water to this mixture and mix well.

After that, put the saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly.

Once this mixture comes to a boil, add 2 cups of liquid (water, brewed coffee, full cream milk or skim milk) and stir over heat until heated through and mixed. I usually add 2 cups of skim milk.

This will produce a rich chocolaty Italian Hot Chocolate.

Scoop onto your coffee cups and if you like alcohol, add a splash of Kahlua, Tia Maria or Baileys to every cup.

Remember to provide your guests with spoons! They'll be scooping that thick delicious goodness!


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Dulce de Leche

When I first saw the recipe in one of the cooking magazines. It looked death simple and the pictures of this rich caramel like milk syrup got my attention. Some people use it as a topping for cakes, some use it like jam to spread on bread, some use it to drizzle over ice cream, some smother it over waffles and pancakes, some even just take a spoon and eat it out of the jar.

Here's how to do it. Really simple and easy.

Preheat the oven to 425° F (220° C).

Pour two cans of sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk) into a shallow baking dish. Add a pinch of salt and stir.

Set the pie plate within a larger pan, such as a roasting pan, and add hot water until it reaches halfway up the side of the pie plate.

Cover the pie plate snugly with aluminum foil and bake for 75 to 90 minutes. I usually just leave it for 90 minutes. (Check a few times during baking and add more water to the roasting pan as necessary).

Once the Dulce de Leche is nicely browned and caramelized, remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool, whisk until smooth.

Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Warm gently in a warm water bath or microwave oven before using.


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