Best hot chocolate mix to sprinkle on everything
Sometimes you just need a hot chocolate, and sometimes it’s 2am when all you have is an expired Swiss Miss packet hidden in the back of your pantry. What a sad situation. Avoid this tragedy by always having hot chocolate mix from Katherine Anne Confections, proudly made in Logan Square. In flavors like Mexican, Semi-Sweet, Milk, and Super Dark, there are options for all kinds of cravings. Honorable mention goes to the salted caramel flavor, which is perfectly rich, sweet and a tad bitter, with that lovely dark brown hue you expect from a nice cup of hot chocolate. The wow factor comes with the nutty, butterscotch taste, which is the real thing, as owner and master chocolatier Katherine Duncan, 37, explains (just extract) in a shelf-stable chocolate blend. We mixed pieces of our homemade caramel and like this. It takes a little longer to melt together, but the flavor is second to none. We use a mix of bittersweet, semi-sweet and milk chocolates; sea salt; and our homemade caramel (made with sugar, butter, salt and organic vanilla).” The salted caramel and Mexican flavors have both received gold sofi awards from the Specialty Food Association, the Oscars of the specialty food industry.
The mix is quite versatile and can be used to top ice cream, yogurt, oatmeal, s’mores, coffee, etc., or simply be eaten straight out of the jar. To make hot chocolate, Duncan suggests heating and whisking equal parts chocolate and liquid, like cream, milk, or oat milk. Then add another one to two parts hot liquid. “Less instant, more delicious,” she says of her infusion, which she likes to make with cream in the first phase and coconut milk in the next. Personally, I make this hot chocolate pretty instantly by heating some almond milk, then pouring in just enough to cover half a cup of chocolate. I stir until the chocolate melts, then add a little more hot almond milk. Some of the caramel stays in the spoon and I love that. It takes less than three minutes and three dishes.
But if even that sounds pricey, just head over to Katherine Anne Confections and choose from 15 different drinkable chocolates made in the shop, including several vegan choices and a slew of seasonal flavors (right now they have caramel vegan butter and brown butter rum, among others). Prices are $6 for the medium and $9 for the large, and all are topped with homemade marshmallows. The mix costs $26 for the 15-ounce jar and can make six to 15 servings. Mixes can be purchased at Katherine Anne’s Boutique, online via their website ($15 shipping), local delivery via Cut Cats courier service ($5-$20), or at L&M Fine Foods in Lincoln Square.