Hot chocolate in Italy has nothing to do with the watery, drinkable kind that most of us are familiar with. In Italy and many parts of Europe, hot chocolate is thick, almost the consistency of pudding. It is made with milk, sugar, a thickening agent like flour or cornstarch, and, of course, chocolate. The chocolate is often in the form of cocoa powder but may also have added chopped chocolate. The way to enjoy it is with a small spoon, one delicious mouthful at a time. This recipe makes a really quick and easy dessert, too.
If you want to be decadent as in Florence, serve your hot chocolate with lots of whipped cream. If you would like a little liqueur flavor, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of your favorite liqueur to the hot chcolate right before pouring. Bailey's Irish Cream, Amaretto, or Kahlua are nice addtions. (Serves 1 to 2)
In a small saucepan, combine the cocoa powder, sugar, cornstarch, and 2 tablespoons of milk. Whisk together to remove any lumps and place over medium heat. When the mixture is hot, add the remaining milk and whisk to blend. Add the chopped chocolate to the hot milk, stir, and let sit for 1 minute. Take off the heat and stir until all the chocolate has melted. Pour into 1 or 2 small cups and serve with small spoons.