Reader Amanda writes:
I received a gift of some good quality, too-dark-for-me-to-want-to-eat chocolate and I decided to turn it into hot chocolate instead of eating it straight. I followed some recipes from the internet and the advice was to heat up a bit of milk, melt chocolate into it and then add more milk and heat the whole thing up. The taste was actually great but there were lots of tiny flecks of chocolate that wouldn’t melt into the milk with the rest of the chocolate and I was wondering what was up with that. I was hoping you might, as the only guy who answers questions about the science of ingredients that I’m familiar with, be able to answer my question.
Thanks Amanda! I’ll try. I can think of two possibilities. One is that they were simply little bits of chocolate that didn’t entirely melt when you added the chocolate to the warm milk. If the second addition of milk was cold, right from the refrigerator, then you may not have built up enough heat in the pan to thoroughly melt everything.
The second possibility is that those were pieces of cocoa nibs. If it was really some brand of ultra-dark chocolate, it’s possible that it was somewhat coarsely ground. These days “rustic” lightly-processed chocolate is in vogue. I’ve seen brands of bar chocolate with chunks of cocoa nibs (dried fermented cocoa beans) right in them. If that was the case, no amount of heat would have melted them.
I bet the hot chocolate was delicious either way, Amanda! Thanks for the question.