I woke up today, to yet another cold January morning, with hot chocolate on my mind and having checked in my cupboards, I thought I’d have a go at bringing a sense of summer to my day. This is a more unusual hot chocolate recipe, as the flavour is distinctly lavenderesque, which isn’t for everyone!
We produce a lot of lavender chocolate in the summer for some of the lavender farms in the UK, and the aroma in the building when it is being produced is really something else, and could send you into a state of blissful relaxation! So, I felt it necessary to try to whip up that same sense of peace in a mug of hot chocolate, and the result is a really unusual, but nice comforting hot chocolate drink.
Lavender is an instantly recognisable plant, and one of the most versatile herbs you can grow, due to it being both used for medicinal and culinary purposes. Due to the name, which associates the plant with a colour, you may not be aware that lavender comes in several colours, including pink and white plants. For today’s hot chocolate, we’re going to stick with the more traditional lavender, and the one which is suited to cooking with, so do make sure you have the culinary version to use. You can source it from various lavender farms in the UK as well as other online retailers.
I’ve used our milk chocolate flakes for this recipe, as its softer flavour really holds the fragrance of the lavender well, although dark and oat m!lk chocolate will also work, so do experiment with your preference, because this all comes down to what you like best. I have to say I do like a very chocolatey hot drink, so my measures are on the heavy side of the chocolate, so you can adjust to taste – my go to recipe at home is 200ml of milk to 35/40g of chocolate, I did the following:
Lavender Hot Chocolate
200ml Milk or Non Dairy Alternative
35/40g Milk Chocolate Flakes
Pinch of Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
Combine the milk with the lavender in a pan, and bring it to a gentle simmer, then remove from the heat, and cover it with a lid. Leave it to stand for about 30 minutes, so the lavender is infused into the milk, to give you the light, floral flavour we are looking for. The smell in my kitchen was blissful, and really inviting this morning, and I did enjoy making this hot chocolate.
Pour the lavender milk through a sieve/strainer into a bowl to remove the lavender and return the infused milk to the pan, and reheat.
Add the chocolate flakes, a pinch of salt and half a teaspoon of vanilla to really bring out the flavours. and whisk everything to a nice froth, until you have a smooth, perfectly combined chocolate milk and pour into your mug. Top with cream, sit back and enjoy.
You can of course either reduce the chocolate to 30g, or increase the milk to 250ml, or for some extra luxury, add 35ml of single cream to the pan to give it a thicker creaminess – the beauty of a real hot chocolate made at home is that it offers the opportunity to experiment to find your own sweet spot.