Grown Up’s Hot Chocolate (for Two)

You can make a decadent hot drink with an actual chocolate bar instead of powdered cocoa. Indiana’s Endangered Species 72% Dark Chocolate1 (the one with the chimpanzee on the package) is used to make a delicious dessert-like hot chocolate that is more rich than sweet (and gluten-free). And it IS a dessert! This is inspired by the inimitable David Lebovitz. If you do like a sweeter drink, feel free to add some sugar; you can also use a chocolate with a lower cacao content (though that will remove some of the richness and sophistication of the drink).

What You’ll Need

  • cutting board
  • knife
  • measuring cup
  • measuring spoons
  • small saucepan (I used a 1-quart pan)
  • whisk
  • thermometer


  • 2.5 oz. (70 g) Endangered Species 72% Dark Chocolate, finely chopped (you can use another chocolate of the same strength, but it won’t be Flyover!)
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (45 ml) heavy or whipping cream
  • rum, brandy, Cointreau, Himbeergeist, or some other chocolate-compatible spirit (optional)
  • sugar, if desired
  • Ingredients

How to Make Grown Up’s Hot Chocolate

  1. Add the milk and cream to the saucepan. Over medium heat, bring the milk mixture to about 160°F (70°C or 345 K if you are of a scientific bent); it will be steaming and hot to the touch.
  2. Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. You don’t really need to take the pan off the heat, but it does lessen the possibility of the mixture coming to a boil, which you don’t want.
  3. Whisk the mixture until the chocolate is completely melted; you can do this on or off heat (it doesn’t take long).
  4. WhiskingChocolate

  5. Bring the mixture to a SLOW boil2 and turn the heat down to medium-low.
  6. Whisking constantly so that the mixture doesn’t burn, cook at a slow boil for two (2) minutes—this will thicken your hot chocolate.
  7. Remove from heat and divide between two heatproof cups. Sweeten to taste if you prefer a drink that’s a bit more sugary. Add about a tablespoon of liquor per cup, if desired, and stir.
  8. Enjoy!


Flying solo? Drink one cup and refrigerate the rest to be enjoyed the next day. Or drink both of them.

1According to the company’s website, this bar is gluten-free, certified vegan, Rainforest Alliance certified, and non-GMO to boot!

2By slow boil, I mean that you will see bubble breaking the surface, but at a gentle pace (i.e. not a rolling (roiling?) boil


Help for Endangered Animals—the Flyover Way!

A Chocolate Delight

I first discovered Endangered Species chocolate many years ago at Newark Natural Foods, a natural foods co-op in Newark, Delaware, where I lived for many years while working on masters and doctoral degrees at the University of Delaware. I was a life member of the co-op (and a volunteer as well), so I did a fair amount of my grocery shopping there. The little Bug Bites (0.35 oz. squares of milk or dark chocolate, with insect-themed cards to teach kids about bugs) were right by the register, so I HAD to buy one every time! The full bars featured delicious flavor combinations (dark chocolate and raspberry, anyone?) and showed a different endangered animal for each flavor. Once I arrived in Indiana, I discovered that the company (Endangered Species Chocolate) is based in Indianapolis!

About the Company

Endangered Species Chocolate makes ethically traded, non-GMO chocolate. Their Mission Statement (taken from their website) shows a company that really wants to make a positive impact on the world:

“To have a positive impact on Earth’s species, habitat and humanity by providing resources through the creation, manufacture and sale of delicious, premium, ethically traded, natural, organic, gluten free, vegan and kosher certified chocolate products.”

Now, not all products are all things. Many flavors are NOT organic or vegan, for example, but the information about each product is readily available.

Each chocolate bar flavor teaches the eater about a different threatened animal. Unlike your supermarket checkout chocolate, you will WANT to read packaging here!

Giving Back

Endangered Species Chocolate partners with non-profits working on wildlife conservation. Currently (December 2014), those partners are the African Wildlife Foundation and The Xerces Society (which works on insect conservation). These are called 10% GiveBack Partners (ESC donates 10% of net profits) and organizations can apply to be selected.


Yeah, But Does This Chocolate Taste Good?

In a word—YES!!! Personally, I am a dark chocolate fan (80% cocoa or greater is my preference) and Endangered Species Chocolate produces a dark chocolate bar with 88% cocoa (and features a beautiful black panther on the package). This is really dark—only a hint of sweetness to counteract the bitterness. And it really works. I allow myself a square every morning for breakfast “dessert”—suck it like a lozenge to get the full flavor. Love this bar!

But the company makes a more standard, 72% cocoa chocolate bar, as well as 48% milk chocolate bars. While I’ve not had the milk chocolate, I HAVE indulged in some of the 72% varieties—the dark chocolate with hazelnut toffee and dark chocolate with espresso beans are fabulous!

Filled Chocolate Bars and Seasonal Flavors

Endangered Species also produces crème-filled bars, such as sea salt and lime crème-filled dark chocolate and blueberry-vanilla crème-filled. Some of the flavor combinations are quite inventive. And, for the holidays, they create some seasonal flavors. This season, indulge in Vanilla Chai, Peppermint Crunch, and Pumpkin Spice with Almonds (all made with 72% chocolate). I’m putting these in Christmas stockings this year!


Party Idea—Chocolate Tasting!

Okay, winter in the Flyover States can be a pretty long, often cloudy, and depressing affair. That’s why you might want to consider hosting a chocolate tasting party. Invite your friends who might be suffering from cabin fever to taste different varieties of Endangered Species Chocolates. You (and they) might discover some new favorite!