Kitchn Love Letters

Jacques Torres’ “Legendary” Hot Chocolate Is the Best I’ve Had in Years

published Dec 26, 2023
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Angled shot of Jacques Torres' hot chocolate recipe in a dark blue mug, topped with whipped cream.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Debbie Wee

A good mug of hot cocoa is about balance. It should be sweet, but not headache-inducing. It should be thicker than a glass of milk, but not so thick that you feel like you should be eating it with a spoon. Its chocolate flavor should be deep and rich, not one-dimensional.

All of that is a pretty tall order, but Jacques Torres’ Legendary Hot Chocolate is well up to the task. The recipe incorporates cornstarch and milk powder for a smoother-than-silk texture and has a rich, creamy chocolate flavor that pushed it to victory in our hot chocolate showdown.

How to Make Jacques Torres’ Hot Cocoa

To make Jacques Torres’ Legendary Hot Chocolate, start by bringing milk to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When the milk is just boiling, lower the heat to medium and whisk in 60% dark chocolate. When the chocolate has melted, add cornstarch and milk powder to the mixture and continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth and thick.

That’s it! Divide the cocoa into mugs and garnish with whipped cream or marshmallows if you like.

My Honest Review Jacques Torres’ Hot Cocoa

This is the best hot cocoa I’ve had in years. It’s a simple recipe that uses unconventional ingredients to achieve an elevated take on a classic winter treat. Cornstarch thickens the mixture to achieve a silky smooth texture and milk powder adds extra creamy flavor without relying on half-and-half or heavy cream for either. 

I tested six hot cocoa recipes for our showdown and despite many different combinations of ingredients and flavor profiles, this un-fussy recipe came out on top.

If You’re Making Jacques Torres’ Hot Cocoa, a Few Tips 

  1. Don’t walk away. You do need to whisk constantly to ensure that the chocolate melts evenly and doesn’t settle to the bottom of the saucepan and that the cornstarch doesn’t clump in the mixture. Don’t be tempted to stir a few times and leave it to simmer.
  2. Chop your chocolate well. If your chocolate pieces are overly large or in uneven sizes, it will take longer for them to melt and incorporate with the milk. If you’re not fond of chopping chocolate, you could also opt for chocolate chips. Many brands (I used Ghirardelli) make chips in specific cacao percentages (this recipe calls for 60%).
  3. Make it your own. The recipe offers multiple variation suggestions to amp up the flavor of your cocoa. Add vanilla beans, peppermint candy, or even raspberries to your hot cocoa for an extra special treat.