'The true cook is the perfect blend, the only perfect blend, of artist and philosopher. He knows his worth: he holds in his palm the happiness of mankind, the welfare of generations yet unborn.'

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Homemade chocolate milk

En blanc et noir

If you grew up in Hong Kong as a kid in the 80's you must have seen this advert:

Like many Asian children, I was forced to drink milk every morning when I was little. I actually didn't mind it, although I knew many friends who absolutely hated it. That said, given the choice, I would have chocolate milk rather than 'plain' milk any day - and I'm sure I'm not alone here! Milk was tolerable, but chocolate milk was just yum.

I still remember how amazed I was when I had my first taste of English milk at 16 - only then did I realise that good milk could actually taste sweet, even grassy. The kind of white watery drink loaded with dry milk powder in Hong Kong obviously gave me the wrong impression of the drink. I became a convert, and chocolate milk gradually faded out from my life.

Since I'm subscribing to a herdshare programme with Highland Haven Farm, I receive 3 litres of milk each week. As much as I love my dairy, I usually have a hard time finishing the stuff unless I use most of it for dessert making. What I tend to do is turning the milk into different beverages:  usually milk tea and matcha latte. This week I have a whopping 6 litres of milk to finish, and I didn't want to repeat milk tea and matcha latte again, so I decided to give chocolate milk a shot. It turned out much better than I could have hoped for, and I think I'll be drinking the stuff every other day for the rest of my life. Incidentally, research shows that downing chocolate milk after a tough workout can help replenish exhausted muscles and significantly aid exercise recovery. Plenty of reasons to consume gallons of chocolate milk every day!

Homemade chocolate milk


Obviously the stuff I'm trying to recreate here is chocolate-flavoured milk, not the upscale kind of hot chocolate that you'd want to drink in small doses. To that end, I'm only using cocoa powder - save your artisanal chocolate for your decadent cup of chocolat chaud. Nonetheless, it's packed with a punch of chocolate flavour without the sickening sweetness of commercial chocolate milk.

What's really important here is the proportion of ingredients since you're likely to have a different amount of milk to start with each time. I found the ideal ratio of sugar : cocoa powder : milk to be 1:1:20. If you have 1000ml of milk, you'll need 50g each of cocoa powder and sugar - although personally I would use even less sugar than that. This obviously only works if you have an electric scale - and I can't urge you to get one enough!

1 litre (4 cups) whole milk
50g (1/2 cup) cocoa powder, perferably non-alkalised
50g (1/4 cup) sugar (or less)

Bring the milk almost to a boil in a large saucepan. Be careful not to let it boil over! Remove from heat.

Put the cocoa powder and sugar in a large bowl. There's no need to sift the cocoa powder.

Add a little of the hot milk to the cocoa mixture, and whisk to form a thick cocoa paste.

Add more milk so that the mixture is more liquid than a paste.

Now pour in the rest of the warm milk, whisking all the while.


That's it! Wait to cool to room temperature, then store in the fridge.

Alternatively, you could skip all this, and whiz everything together in a blender - no need to warm the milk even. The cocoa flavour wouldn't be as pronounced, but it's much less work. The choice is yours.

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