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THICK & DREAMY SPIKED ITALIAN HOT CHOCOLATE – But I call it Italiana Cacao d’ Amore!

italiana cocao d' amore

VALENTINE’S ITALIANA CACAO D’ AMORE (2 servings)

It’s no wonder I’m drawn to this Italiana Cacao d’ Amore! I’ve been enjoying steaming mugs of hot chocolate since my childhood, being spoiled by a mom who didn’t think water belonged in the recipe.  No little packets of chocolate powder ever crossed our doorway.  

Just tins of lush cocoa and pure whole milk, lovingly stirred over medium heat until hot, just aching for a few marshmallows to be thrown into our mugs.  And that’s exactly how my husband and boys enjoyed it too.  We’re so much our mothers sometimes, aren’t we?  

italiana cacao d' amoreSo when I decided to make a big mug of spiked hot chocolate part of our romantic Valentine’s Day dinner’s dessert, I knew it would need to be very special indeed.  My hubby has been spoiled too!

I decided to see how other countries make their versions of hot chocolate, and stopped as soon as I read how the Italians do theirs.  OMG!

Thick, creamy, and oh so dreamy with the addition of a thickener and a bit of butter.  

It’s so rich, it really was the perfect version of the recipe to use as a dessert, especially with a shot of white chocolate liqueur added to up the ante!

Of course, that’s not exactly a dessert without a lovely homemade Valentine’s Two-Tone Brownie that’s laced with white chocolate too.  

Now that’s what my husband calls dessert!

Okay, let’s take a few moments to talk about a different style of hot chocolate than you’re probably used to making.  It’s truly a revelation!

 

ITALIANA CACAO D’ AMORE PRINTABLE RECIPE CARD

Valentine's Italiana Cacao D' amore recipe card

My recipe for Italiana Cacao d’ Amore isn’t terribly difficult, but it does need your full attention for about 10 minutes. 

The Italians know how to make drinking hot chocolate a real sensory experience.

When you’re having an Italiana Cacao d’ Amore, it’s so thick and rich, you tend to savor it, taking tiny sips to enjoy the creamy texture sliding across your tongue.  

I’ve created this festive recipe card for you to make it simple to gather your ingredients and plan your Valentine’s dessert.  

 

CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY

  • You can choose any type of chocolate that you favor, as long as it’s of high quality.  I like to use a combination of semi-sweet and dark chocolate for an intensely chocolate flavor.

To give a rich dairy base, I use a combination of half-and-half along with whole milk. But you can change things up with all milk if you’d rather.  You probably won’t notice the difference.

 

MAKE IT EXTRA-SPECIAL WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE LIQUEUR

While you can certainly enjoy your Cacao d’ Amore plain,  for Valentine’s evening, I really wanted to kick it up a notch.   And how could I do it while keeping in the “theme” of the dessert, white chocolate?  

godiva white chocolate liqueurBy adding a healthy shot of WHITE CHOCOLATE LIQUEUR stirred into our mugs right before serving! 

If you’ve never tried a white chocolate liqueur, it’s really quite lovely.  While it’s not really a “stand-alone” aperitif, it does make a great ingredient in cocktails.

I used a Trader Joe’s version for these cocktails because my favorite, Godiva was out of stock.  Around the holidays, it pays to pick these specialty items up before Thanksgiving!  

Don’t think that it’s not worth getting a bottle for the holiday, it really takes my Italiana Cacao d’Amore to the next level of YUM!

CLICK HERE TO BUY A BOTTLE:  GODIVA WHITE CHOCOLATE LIQUEUR

 

HOW TO MAKE ITALIANA CACAO D’ AMORE 

italiana cacao d amore ingredients

 

  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat.
  • Whisk in cornstarch until combined and melty. If you want the hot chocolate thicker, use the maximum amount of cornstarch.
  • Add in milk and sugar. Increase the heat gradually to medium-high. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. 
  • Once the mixture begins to thicken, turn the heat down to low and add in the chocolate chips. Stir constantly until well melted.
  • Serve hot. Keep the leftovers tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. 
  • If using, add the white chocolate liqueur and stir it in just before serving.

 

Yes, it takes a bit more effort than stirring a packet into some boiling water, but I promise you, the few minutes in front of the stove is SOOOO worth it!  Now it’s time to figure out how you’ll serve your Italiana Cacao d’Amore, and I’ve got a few ideas to share with you.

But first, you and your sweetie will be smiling from ear to ear as you sip this delightful mixture while nibbling on some Two Tone White Chocolate Brownies.  Let me tell you a little about them before we talk Chocolate Rims!

 

VALENTINE’S TWO-TONE WHITE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

valentine two tone chocolate brownies

These festive bars are a fabulously romantic way to end your Valentine’s celebration, especially when paired with my Cacao d’ Amore.

They’re a snap to make since the recipe uses two cake mixes, doctored a bit to give them a denser, brownie-like texture. 

Plus, I took the opportunity to add a bit more white chocolate to this dessert combo with melted white chocolate mixed into the white brownie batter. Then they’re completely slathered in a White Chocolate Frosting that’s simply divine. Don’t forget to embellish them for your sweetheart, it’s fun to let your creativity show!

CLICK LINK TO READ POST:  TWO TONE WHITE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

 

NOW IT’S TIME TO SERVE YOUR VALENTINE’S ITALIANA CACOA D’ AMORE

You’ve got all the moving pieces ready to go… Your brownies are decorated to the hilt and look fabulous.  The Italiana Cacao d’ Amore is steaming hot and ready to be poured.  But how best to serve this “over-the-top” Valentine’s treat to your sweetheart?

 

italiana cacao d' amore chocolate rimmed mugs

TRY SWEETENING THE RIMS OF YOUR ITALIANA CACAO D’ AMORE CUPS

It’s so simple to sweeten up the rims of your mugs or cups with melted chocolate and even by adding some Valentine’s colored sprinkles. 

  • Just melt a bit of white or dark chocolate in a wide low bowl and dip the rims into the melted mixture.
  • If you want to add some sprinkles, pour a layer onto a flat plate and dip the wet chocolate rims into the decorations.
  • Above I’ve shown you what a double-dipped chocolate rim looks like too.  Just chill the first layer of chocolate in the refrigerator for 10 minutes before dipping into the second color (make sure the melted chocolate is not still too warm)
  • Let the chocolate set completely before using to serve your Valentine’s Italiana Cacao D’ Amore.

 

LASTLY, ADD A FESTIVE VALENTINE’S DAY STRAW

decorative valentine's straws

 

  • Download your copy of the Valentine’s Themed Straw Decorations PDF from the IFAFL Subscriber’s Resource Library
  • Print the PDF in color on Glossy or Matte Heavy Cardstock 
  • Cut out the designs from the sheet (they make fabulous dessert signage too)
  • Glue graphic cut-outs onto straws, about 1 1/2 inches from the top
  • Use your festive Valentine’s Day themed straws to enjoy your Italiana Cacao d’Amore! 

 

MORE VALENTINE’S DAY RECIPES FOR ROMANCE:

Romantic Tapas for Two

Valentine’s Breakfast in Bed

Romantic Al Fresco Dinner for Two

 

VISIT THE LIFESTYLE DIVA SHOPPE AT ETSY FOR MORE VALENTINE’S DAY PRINTABES

 

VALENTINE’S DAY THEMED STRAW DECORATIONS

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