Begin by chopping your dark or bittersweet chocolate with a serrated bread knife on a cutting board. Set aside.
In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the milk on medium-high heat. Add the cinnamon sticks and vanilla extract to the milk. Once the milk reaches a gentle boil, reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes.
After the milk has simmered for 10 minutes, discard the cinnamon sticks. Turn the heat off, and gently whisk in the chopped chocolate. Continue to whisk until the chocolate is completely melted.
Turn the heat back on to medium-low, and bring the chocolate to a gentle simmer, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the brown sugar and salt. The longer you cook your hot chocolate, the thicker it will become. If you desire a thinner consistency, don't heat the chocolate for an extended period.
Serve the French hot chocolate immediately in individual cups. Top with a dollop of whipped cream or homemade marshmallows. Bon Appétit!
French hot chocolate commonly uses dark or bittersweet hot chocolate, about 70% cacao. To cut the bitterness of the chocolate, you can use brown sugar. We use one tablespoon of light brown sugar per cup of milk. Feel free to use more if preferred.
However, if the French hot chocolate still isn't sweet enough, then, by all means, this is your cup of hot chocolate, add some milk chocolate.
You could. But, typically, French hot chocolate does not call for heavy cream. Authentic French hot chocolate will have whole milk and high-quality dark or bittersweet chocolate, no cream.
If you'd like to experiment with a hot chocolate that includes heavy cream, check out our crockpot hot chocolate—which is perfect for the holidays!