When the heat is on, and you’re in the mood for a frosty, indulgent treat that’s made with real ingredients (and better than anything you can get from the local drive-through café), here’s a recipe for you. Inspired by the original Frozen Hot Chocolate from Serendipity in NYC, this milk-shake-on-steroids combines the warm spices of chai with milk chocolate and brown sugar in a drink that is surprisingly light and refreshing. The base makes enough for four drinks, but will hold in the refrigerator for up to a week so you can enjoy one when you want (read: must have) it.
Yield: 4 frozen drinks
Chai Frozen Hot Chocolate Base:
- 4 ounces (114 grams) high-quality milk chocolate, chopped
- 1 1/3 cups (322 grams) whole milk, plus a little more, if necessary
- 2/3 cup (154 grams) heavy cream
- 8 chai tea bags
- 1/2 cup (108 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup (28 grams) natural cocoa powder
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- Large pinch of ground cloves
- Large pinch of ground nutmeg
- Large pinch of ground cardamom
- 4 cups (520 grams) ice cubes, divided
- Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish
- Ground cinnamon, for sprinkling on top
Make the base:
- Place the chopped milk chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside.
- Place the milk and the cream in a saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is hot and bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat, add the tea bags to the pan, cover and allow to steep for 5 minutes.
- Remove the bags from the pan, squeezing them to release as much liquid from them as possible into the milk and cream. Measure the mixture – if necessary, add more milk so that you have 1 cup (240 grams).
- Combine the milk mixture, brown sugar, cocoa powder and spices in the saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour half of the mixture over the milk chocolate, then whisk until smooth. Add the remaining mixture and whisk well until smooth. Cool mixture over an ice bath until chilled. Use right away or store in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to blend the drinks.
- Pre-chill 4 serving glasses in the freezer. Put half of the base in a blender with 2 cups of the ice cubes and blend at high speed until smooth. Serve in chilled glasses topped with sweetened whipped cream and a sprinkling of ground cinnamon. Repeat with remaining base and ice cubes.