The Golden Ratio For Hot Chocolate Ingredients, According To An Expert

Sometimes hot chocolate is too watery. Other times it's so overpowering that a few sips is already too rich. Sure, personal preference should always be taken into account, but the golden ratio of hot chocolate exists, according to expert Grayson Claes. He's the head pastry chef at One White Street, a Tribeca restaurant with a Michelin star, and Rigor Hill Market, where customers can find fresh produce, baked goods, and casual bites. Rigor Hill Market even sells a hot chocolate, served in a mini soup bowl with scorched marshmallows, which went viral on TikTok for being so delicious.

It's safe to say that Claes knows what he's talking about when it comes to the golden ratio of hot chocolate ingredients. Claes recommends using the simple equation of three parts milk (or cream) to one part chocolate to equal one delicious cup.

In this case, Claes is referring to solid chocolate, not cocoa powder. The often undistinguished difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa is that hot chocolate uses solid chocolate while hot cocoa uses cocoa powder. Semantics aside, 25% of what you're drinking should be melted chocolate, according to Claes' hot chocolate golden ratio.

You can customize hot chocolate ingredients

Although Grayson Claes' golden ratio of three parts milk to one part chocolate should be closely adhered to, there is wiggle room regarding the ingredients. For instance, the type of chocolate you use is up to personal preference. Milk, dark, or any chocolate in between is fair game for a cup of hot chocolate. Utilizing "a combination of milk and dark chocolates" is what Claes recommends for a balanced cup. Going heavier on the milk chocolate will result in a sweeter, creamier cup while more dark chocolate will give your cup a bittersweet taste.

As for the dairy, Claes offers a similar method of combining milk and cream. "You can use half cream and half milk depending on how thick and rich you want the hot chocolate to be," he explains. Including a good portion of heavy cream can up the thickness and richness in a hot chocolate recipe, while whole milk or any milk of lesser fat can give the hot chocolate a lighter mouthfeel.

Some more of Claes' expert-approved ingredients to elevate hot chocolate include a pinch of sea salt or freshly-scraped vanilla bean to add significant depth of flavor to your cup. Play around with the ingredients while sticking to the golden ratio of three parts milk to one part chocolate and find what makes your perfect cup of hot chocolate.