Brandied Hot Chocolate

Serving Size: 8
Prep Time:
Total Time:

The thickness and bitterness of your drink will depend on your chocolate’s level of cacao, which varies among brands. We got great results with Ghirardelli, which produced a full-bodied cocoa (our preference for dunking the ginger doughnuts). We also used Lindt to good effect, but needed to add more cornstarch for extra thickening. Chocolate with more than 60 percent cacao will be too bitter.


  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1.5 cup whole milk
  • 0.5 cup water
  • Ounce fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped
  • 0.5 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp 2 tablespoons brandy (optional), or to taste


  1. Whisk together cornstarch and 2 tablespoons milk.
  2. Bring water to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then reduce heat to moderately low and add chopped chocolate and a pinch of salt, whisking until smooth.
  3. Add cream and remaining milk (1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons) and increase heat to moderate, then cook, whisking occasionally, until mixture is smooth and heated through. Taste; for a deeper chocolate flavor, whisk in cocoa.
  4. Whisk cornstarch mixture, then add half to chocolate mixture and simmer, whisking, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add brandy (if using) and remaining cornstarch mixture to thicken if desired, then simmer, whisking, 1 minute.

Recipe by Melissa Roberts, Gourmet; photo by Mikkel Vang.