This recipe was originally created by an artisanal chocolatier in Kansas City named Christopher Elbow – who was introduced to Parisian hot chocolate when he traveled to Paris as a young man. He creates chocolate candies and confections in his shop, and offers this hot beverage, incorporating a pungent, aromatic mixture of Asian spices. An already blended Chinese five-spice powder can be readily purchased in most markets in the Asian foods section, as an alternative – but in the recipe below, the spices are added individually. [The individual spices are also not hard to find in most markets.]


1 whole star anise
1/2 teaspoon, fennel seed
1 stick, cinnamon
6 whole cloves
10 whole Szechuan peppercorns
4 cups, whole milk
16 ounces, semisweet chocolate – chopped

for garnish:
sweetened whipped cream
ground cinnamon
In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine the anise, fennel, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns and milk. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, remove the saucepan from the heat, and allow the mixture to stand and steep for 5 minutes.

Strain the infused milk through a fine-mesh sieve (strainer) to remove the spices, then return the milk to the saucepan, and place over medium-low heat. Stir in the chopped chocolate until melted completely.

Bring the chocolate mixture to a very slow simmer, and whisk for 30 seconds. Pour into warm mugs, garnish each serving with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of ground cinnamon. Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from: Hot Chocolate by Michael Turback (Ten Speed Press)