Thick Italian Hot Chocolate

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There are few drinks as comforting as hot cocoa, especially on a cold evening. While we relish sipping the bev from our favorite mug every chance we get, did you know there’s a version that’s so rich that you need a utensil to eat it? Behold: the thick Italian hot chocolate from Laura Vitale’s new cookbook, At My Italian Table.

“When I got to the States, I didn’t know that you could drink hot chocolate, because in Italy it’s eaten with a spoon,” writes Vitale. “It pays homage to my mom’s mom and her neighbor Signora Maria, who every year on Santo Antonio, her son’s name day, would make this for all the kids in the neighborhood. It would be perfectly bitter and sweet and there’d be homemade cookies for dipping.”

There are a few ways to riff on the original. You can substitute semisweet or milk chocolate for bittersweet if you want the dessert to be sweeter and more kid-friendly. You can also omit the cornstarch to forego the silverware and make it drinkable, or double the servings by doling it out in espresso cups. (It’s so decadent that your guests won’t mind.)

Reprinted with permission from At My Italian Table by Laura Vitale, copyright © 2024. Photographs by Lauren Volo. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.

Fagioli a Zuppa over Bread

314 calories

17g fat

37g carbs

7g protein

26g sugars

2 cups whole milk

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

4 teaspoons cornstarch

4 ounces dark chocolate, broken into pieces

Pinch kosher salt

Shortbread cookies, for serving

1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the milk, sugar, cocoa powder and cornstarch. Over low heat, cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it comes to a light boil and thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add the chocolate and salt. Whisk it until the chocolate has melted, about 2 minutes more.

2. Divide the hot chocolate among cups of your choice and serve it with shortbread cookies for dunking.