Our group of miserable, sweaty people straggled up King Street last week, wondering how in Hades we ALWAYS end up in Charleston on the hottest day of the year.
After a great week playing at the beach, we decided to head to the city for some sightseeing. We lasted four hours and spent most of that time lingering over lunch in a cool restaurant, standing shin-deep in the pineapple fountain at Waterfront Park or dodging into air-conditioned shops for respite.
We threw in the (sweat-soaked) towel around 4 pm and began the trudge up King Street to the parking deck. But the sight of a chocolate shop brought me up short. Before the heat-deranged gang could shove me forward, I pointed at the chalkboard sign – “Iced drinking chocolate.”
We took an immediate left turn into the tiny shop. Perfect truffles, French macarons and chocolate shaped into fun, small-scale sculptures of shoes, cell phones and the Eiffel Tower greeted us.
But we only had eyes for the drinking chocolate. The owner makes ganache, then pours steamed milk over it, chills it and serves it over ice. It’s basically iced hot chocolate. But better. So much better. Kind of like drinking a dark, bittersweet truffle. The result was so refreshing that we didn’t even need our usually required 4 pm iced coffee caffeine hit. The rest of the walk flew by and we knew we were going to have to make this inspired drink when we got home.
Making iced drinking chocolate is easy, but you have to prepare it at least 2 hours before serving so it chills properly. There’s nothing low-fat or low-calorie about this drink, but I’ll take it over a sugary soda any day. And it makes a perfect dessert on a hot summer night. You can add a splash of your favorite liqueur to it while making the ganache, if desired. You don’t need any special equipment, just two pans and a whisk.
Iced Drinking Chocolate
3.5 oz. bar of dark chocolate (we used 55% cacao)
1/3 cup half and half
2 cups 2% milk
Break or chop the chocolate into small pieces. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the half and half to a simmer, stirring frequently. Add the chocolate
and stir until almost all the chocolate has melted.
Remove the pan from the heat and let cool while preparing the milk.
In another saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a simmer. Once the milk is hot, use a whisk to form a nice head of foam.
Stir the ganache with a spoon briefly, until it looks glossy.
Whisk the hot milk into the ganache until thoroughly blended.
Pour the chocolate into a glass pitcher or container, cover and let cool about 20 minutes before refrigerating.
Serve over ice