I find most hot chocolate drinks much too sweet for my taste. I never add sugar when I make this. Instead, I pass a sugar bowl so that guests can add their own. This hot chocolate is too rich to be served in mugs; instead, serve it in small cups or demitasses. Choose your favorite nibbling bittersweet or semisweet chocolate for this recipe, as it’s one that will highlight and not obscure the chocolate’s distinct flavor nuances.
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In a medium saucepan, combine the chocolate, salt, and about 1/3 cup of the boiling water. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Add the rest of the water and heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to simmer at the edges. Whisk in the milk and continue to cook until steaming hot, but keep the temperature well under a boil (ideally no more than 180°F) for the best taste and texture. Just before serving, whisk to a froth. Serve in small cups. Pass a sugar bowl and a small bowl of whipped cream for each person to serve himself.
Photo: Scott Phillips