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Hot Cocoa tip

In the December 2013 issue of Texas Highways, Lori Moffatt visits with Houston chefs Hugo and Ruben Ortega about the renowned hot chocolate served at Hugo’s Restaurant. The Ortegas make 6-75 pounds of chocolate weekly for the restaurant’s desserts and mole sauces. They sell their 10-ounce chocolate tablets (made of cacao, vanilla, sugar, and cinnamon) so that home cooks can replicate the Hugo’s hot chocolate experience at home.

“The directions on the back of the tablet say to bring 2 ½ cups of milk to a boil and then add half of the chocolate tablet and stir, and then to serve when the chocolate is completely dissolved,” says Lori. “But I found that the chocolate still felt ‘toothy’ after being heated, and I think I discovered a trick, thanks to Diana Kennedy’s terrific cookbook The Essential Cuisines of Mexico. In it, Kennedy’s recipe for hot chocolate calls for using water instead of milk to dissolve the chocolate, but then notes that if you are making it with milk, dissolve the chocolate in ½ cup of water first, then add the milk. I’ll try that next time. I didn’t mind the gritty bits of chocolate at the bottom of my cup when I made it according to the Hugo’s tablet, but I think I’d prefer a creamy version.

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