My baby seester and I will be getting in the car soon to go to Chicago.
I know, I know, after the ordeal I went through to get to Wisconsin, why on Earth would I be going back to Chicago?
Well, for one, it’s one of the greatest cities ever. Of all time. So there’s that.
For two, it’s Squirt’s (little seester's) birthday week so she gets to pick activities.
For three, a day in Chicago means dinner at Hot Chocolate. As requested by the birthday girl and as provided by me. Trust me, I am more than happy to oblige.
No, not the hot chocolate pictured here, we’ll get to that in a moment.
I’m talking about Mindy’s Hot Chocolate, the award winning, local sourcing, and artfully executed eatery in Wicker Park. I’ve been haunting this place for years, going there when I wanted to splurge in college and returning now, every time I’m home. I’ve done brunch, lunch, dinner, just dessert.
Obviously, with a name like Hot Chocolate, they’re going to have some pretty magnificent selections of…you guessed it…hot chocolate! From light to dark to Mexican to pumpkin spice (bless them), they have a drink that will suit anyone’s tastes. All seasonally inspired and deliciously crafted.
There is something so warm and so comforting about a big cup of rich, velvety hot chocolate that they execute with such precision – it’s so satisfying and indulgent. Paired with their homemade marshmallows alongside one of their fabulous dessert options? I’m in heaven.
But it’s a cold slap back to reality (did I just quote Eminem?) when I’m torn away from that cup of pure joy. So, I’ve had to come up with my own method of enjoying hot chocolate when I can’t go to Hot Chocolate.
I threw some beer in for good measure. Because I’ve got nothing to lose.
But you’ve got everything to gain from making this Beer Chocolate Syrup. Make hot chocolate like I did, pour some over ice cream, use it as a filling in between layers in a cake (which I also did, highly recommend). Make enough to fill the void left by Hot Chocolate. With extra marshmallows.
Beer Chocolate Syrup
(adapted from Alton Brown)
¾ cup of good dark beer, such as a stour or porter, I used Rogue’s Chocolate Stout
1 ½ cups sugar
¾ cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon corn syrup
Pinch of salt
Bring beer and sugar to a roiling boil in a large saucepan. Add cocoa powder, vanilla, corn syrup and salt. Simmer for 5 – 10 minutes, or until sauce has thickened.
Pour into a mason jar or plastic container to store.
Beer Hot Chocolate
¼ cup beer chocolate syrup
½ cup ½ & ½
½ cup whole milk
Whipped cream or marshmallows, if desired.
In a small saucepan, combine the syrup, ½ & ½, and milk. Heat until steaming. Pour into mug and garnish with whipped cream or marshmallows, if desired.