1cupand 1/2 chocolate chips - we like Ghirardelli or Guittard or any other high-quality brand that you likedark, milk, or semi-sweet, or even a combo, i.e. Amano, Scharffen Berger
1grade A vanilla beanoptional
Dash of table salt
2/3cupdutch-processed cocoa or 1/2 cup cocoa powderI love Valrhona, for non-alkalized, Scharffen Berger is one of our favorites
In a food processor or blender, grind chocolate chips until they resemble a powder, or small pebbles.
Slice vanilla bean in half lengthwise, use knife to scrape seeds. Put seeds and bean into sugar. Massage for about one minute.
Mix vanilla sugar, chocolate, and cocoa. Place in a plastic bag and store in dark cupboard or inside paper bag to reserve cocoa flavor. You may also store in a glass canning jar or tin for you or for gifting. (Just a quick note: darker containers are better for storing chocolate. Flavor will suffer and diminish over time if chocolate is left in light. However, in a plastic bag or glass jar, the mixture will still be very good for about a month.)
Add 2 tablespoons hot chocolate mix to 8 ounces scalding milk for a rich hot cocoa.
Sit for 1 minute to let chocolate bits dissolve. Stir.(You can also substitute a couple tablespoons of heavy cream to get an extra-super rich hot cocoa!)
Add whipped cream, caramel sauce, peppermint, or anything else you'd like for mix-ins.
Dress it Up: Add in 1-2 crushed candy canes or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon into the mix for a little different finish.