Makes 4 servings
10 minutes prep, 5 minutes cooking, 15 minutes total
Mary Sonnier's eccentric hot chocolate is an evocation worthy of New Orleans's legendary voodoo priestess, Marie Laveau. But the potion has more to do with the restaurant Gabrielle's Contemporary Creole Cuisine, characterized by enchanting complexity, bold tastes, and unusual combinations, than with the casting of spells or keeping the bayou's spirits at bay.

Chicory, the roasted ground root of Belgian endive, is often served in a duet with coffee in New Orleans. This assertive chicory-laced coffee blended with chocolate and spiced rum is calculated to warm the body and soul. Sprinkle cayenne on top, and think of it as voodoo dust.

  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup spiced rum, such as Captain Morgan's
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups strong brewed coffee with chicory, or espresso
  • Basic Whipped Cream for serving (see below)
  • Ground cayenne pepper for serving

Basic Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a 3-quart saucepan with tall sides over medium-low heat, warm the half-and-half until steaming hot but not boiling. Reduce the heat to low and add the chocolate, rum, sugar, and coffee. Using an immersion blender, blend the ingredients in the saucepan over very low heat until well blended and frothy. Pour into warm mugs, top with softly whipped cream, and sprinkle a pinch of cayenne over each cup. Serve immediately.

Basic Whipped Cream

In a mixing bowl, whip the cream until it is slightly thickened. Add the remaining ingredients and continue whipping until cream holds its shape. Spoon on top of hot chocolate.

Excerpted from Hot Chocolate by Michael Turback (Ten Speed Press, 2005). Copyright 2005 Michael Turback. Used with permission.