This creation is for Sophie and Tyler. They loved going to Hatch Family Chocolates for Frozen Hot Chocolate when they were living in the Avenues. We decided this is a very close version of the real thing in case you can't get to Hatches!
5 1/2 cups 2% or whole milk, divided
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 envelope gelatin (2 teaspoons)
Begin heating 5 cups of milk in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently with a flat whisk. Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in a small mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup milk and vanilla and stir to make a slurry. Pour slurry into hot milk, stirring continuously. Using the same bowl, sprinkle gelatin over final 1/4 cup milk, mix it in and allow to sit for 5 minutes while cocoa mixture is continuing to heat. Whisk in softened gelatin and bring mixture to a boil while stirring. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Chill in refrigerator for several hours. Mix well before freezing in an ice cream freezer according to manufacturers directions. Cure in refrigerator freezer.
Hints: Using gelatin helps the final texture from being too grainy like a regular ice milk would be, but you can certainly make this without the gelatin. Great homemade hot cocoa is as easy as the first few steps. Using cream or half and half (raising the fat content) is a way to make the final produce richer and the texture very smooth, but it ends up tasting like chocolate ice cream and less like frozen hot chocolate. I used my counter top size ice cream maker and this recipe could be doubled for a larger machine. Sophie and Tyler had some great ideas--adding some orange extract and peel for orange hot chocolate; adding almond extract; or mint flavoring. Topping it with marshmallow creme may be the ultimate touch to remind one of hot chocolate.
It was fun to surprise them with one of their favorite treats. They really appreciated the thought and the results. That is one of the most fun aspects of cooking. The rest of the family enjoyed it as well. I am pretty sure I will be making this again soon, weekly if I honor Sophie's request!