I can't decide whether I'm cheating or not by picking a gadget that isn't hidden at the back of an overflowing cupboard but I think that that makes this gadget even more ridiculous. Look at the counter space this thing's taking up?
Nick & I bought this in mid December last year and d'u know how many times we've used it? Twice. Yes, that's right, twice. My main problem is that I'm kinda scared of it. I don't fully understand how it works and when you're messing around with boiling water and hot steam that doesn't seem ideal. We bought this after getting irritated that most of the coffee shops around us close at 6pm* meaning no romantic late night winter coffee dates. Sadness.
We decided to try to make the perfect hot chocolate this evening and we set about our mission with a few bookmarked recipes & a collection of chocolatey looking things from around the house.
Firstly we decided to to a side by side taste test of our powdered hot chocolates. In the blue corner we have Green & Black's Hot Chocolate and in the red corner we have Zuma Fairtrade Dark Hot Chocolate. We bought the Green & Blacks last year and neither of us remembered being overly impressed, the Zuma is new.
Upon first inspection the Zuma is a fine powder whereas the Green & Black's is a little grainy.
One thing we learnt immediately is that we need to buy a larger milk jug! Ours holds approximately 660ml of non-foamed liquid. Even using only 300ml of soya milk it was overflowing all over the place before we reached optimum foam potential!
We started with the Zuma Fairtrade Hot Chocolate and following the directions on their website made the powder into a paste using a little hot water. After adding the frothed milk and stirring like crazy we had what looked like a very promising hot chocolate. I topped it with shaved chocolate for extra fanciness!
Wow! This was super awesome, we'd both go as far as saying that it's exactly like the hot chocolate we usually order in Cafe Nero. An early winner in the hot chocolate challenge perhaps?
Next up we have the Green & Black's Hot Chocolate. Now what's extra strange about this is that in looking for a link I can only find versions with milk in the ingredient list, I've triple checked mine now & I'm not going crazy, my jar's definitely vegan. Perhaps they knew their product was a bit crap and changed it?! I doubt a little milk powder will help though, this hot chocolate was terrible!
Yeah, I have nothing else to say other than I wish I'd made the Zuma hot chocolate in the big mug!
Finally we decided to see if we could make an equally good hot chocolate on the stovetop. The idea of the gadget challenge is not just to use the gadget in question but to see if it's really necessary by comparing what it can do to what our other gadgets or appliances can do.
I chose this recipe from the blog Maple Spice to test the stovetop method. Mainly because I had some coconut milk leftover from making Friday's pie and also because I liked the idea of chucking some booze in there! I changed her recipe a little and used 75ml of Full Fat Coconut Milk, 150ml of Soya Milk, 50g of Dark Chocolate and a shot of Khalua. You just pop all of the ingredients in a pan, whisk until the chocolate's melted and then let thicken for a couple of minutes. Stir in the Khalua at the end.
This made a wonderfully thick hot chocolate but one that isn't really comparable to the foamy frothy milky hot chocolate you make with a steamed milk and hot chocolate powder. If I was having a serious chocolate craving a small mug of this would hit the spot but it was far too sickly for me to imagine drinking regularly. I also hate to say it but next time I'd leave the booze out, I prefer my chocolate unadulterated and I liked Nick's alcohol free version much more.
This hot chocolate would be amazing if you were camping or staying in a log cabin in the woods (anyone have one of those I can borrow for a weekend?!) but at home the Zuma Frairtrade Hot Chocolate is the clear winner and the one we'll be making over and over again. I'm really looking forward to trying it with Tate & Lyle's Mint Chocolate Syrup and marshmallows, possibly even at the same time, and if you're looking for the perfect hot chocolate the 2kg tin is definitely worth the splurge.
Wow, I'm cutting it a bit fine today aren't I MoFo's?! Also if you've been paying attention during this post you'll have an idea of what one of tomorrows cookbook challenge books is!
* Apparently this has changed, the New York Coffee Club cafe by the clock tower is now open from 7am - 9:30pm Mon - Sat. I've also heard that they have vegan cake but I can't tell ya if they're any good until I investigate myself shortly! I'll keep you updated!