Easy French Hot Chocolate

If you’re one of the millions of lovebirds who embrace Valentine’s Day, you are no doubt in the throes of trying to decide just what to do this year that will be fun and unusual and romantic.

May I put in a vote? Don’t go out.

It’s Restaurant Goer 101 that Valentine’s Day is among the worst days of the year to eat out, and I have a much, much better idea for you: stay cooped up at home, and cook something simple but delicious.

My menu suggestion would be:

  • Start with beet hummus: it’s super easy, it’s pink, and you can spread it on little toasts or cucumber slices for one another;
  • Move on to spatchcocked chicken: it’s a fun performance-style recipe to make together, the resulting chicken is finger-licking good, plus there’s something ever-so-slightly suggestive about the name, and the way the chicken is splayed out in the pan (made you click!). Serve with a green salad to keep things easy and light — just be sure to check your teeth afterward;
  • Finish the meal with my three-ingredient French hot chocolate.

Three-Ingredient Hot Chocolate

I probably don’t have to sell you hard on the idea, but if you need more details, let me offer this: it is a three-ingredient recipe that takes all of ten minutes to make, and yields the most luxurious French-style drinking chocolate, intensely flavored and velvety smooth.

The secret to a really, really good cup of French hot chocolate is to use actual chocolate, rather than cocoa powder, for a super creamy consistency. Some recipes call for cream, too, but that can feel like a brick in your stomach (not the intended purpose on V-Day or any other day) so I like to bolster both texture and flavor with almond butter instead, which makes it fully vegan. Such a simple formula, you’ll be amazed by how well it turns out. I’m sorry. This?

Pouring hot chocolate

So. After this lovely dinner that you did not slave over, and once you have that cup of hot chocolate in hand, it’s time for the gift, right? How would your special someone feel about a massage, one in which you actually know what you’re doing?

Maxence and I are total fans of massages, and we used to go out and get professional ones on a regular basis. But then, you know: kids. So now, we chiefly rely on each other when we have tension and aches from (pick one) sitting at the computer all day, bending over the stove or tripod, wearing babies in carriers, hauling groceries home, or schlepping bikes for pre-schoolers who have changed their mind about riding their bike.

And this is where Melt: Massage for Couples comes in: it’s a series of videos that teaches you professional techniques and routines for a fabulous massage as instructed by Denis Merkas, an experienced massage therapist from Australia. No special equipment necessary; hot chocolate optional.

Mini Cookbook of French Tarts

Melt: Massage for Couples

The video training is broken down into short clips that show Denis demonstrating the different tips and tricks on his wife Emma, but before you scrunch up your face and think “Eww!” let me reassure you: the tone is 100% professional and it’s all filmed tastefully, with zero awkward moments, focusing strictly on the massaging technique. (If you want to get a sense of the style, watch this free intro course.)

So when Denis got in touch to ask if I would help him promote these training videos in preparation for Valentine’s Day, I was instantly on board. I love the idea of giving experience gifts rather than stuff, and this is the gift that keeps on giving: you could teach yourself the beginner routine secretly in preparation for Valentine’s Day, then watch it again and the remaining modules as a couple (fun idea for a date night in!), and finally benefit from that shared learning for the years and years I hope you get to spend together.

Purchasing the course gives you lifetime access to the entire series of 17 techniques and 3 full routines, which you can preview here. So consider treating yourself and your special someone to that amazingly easy French hot chocolate, plus an unforgettable massage session. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Three-Ingredient French Hot Chocolate

Join the conversation!

Do you make your own hot chocolate? What’s your favorite recipe? And do you enjoy massages — the giving, the receiving, or both?

This post is sponsored by Melt: Massage for Couples. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the companies who support Chocolate & Zucchini.

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Super Easy French Hot Chocolate (and a Massage!)

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 12 minutes

Serves 4.

Super Easy French Hot Chocolate (and a Massage!)


  • 200 grams (7 ounces) good-quality dark chocolate, 60-75% cacao content, such as Manjari 64% couverture chocolate
  • 480 ml (2 cups) non-dairy milk, such as rice mill, almond milk, or oat milk
  • 60 grams (1/4 cup) all-natural unsweetened almond butter


  1. Chop the chocolate finely with a chef's knife (or in a food processor or blender) and place in a mixing bowl. (The chocolate I use comes in coin-like pieces, you win! No chopping necessary.)
  2. French Hot Chocolate
  3. Bring the milk to a simmer over medium heat. Pour one third the milk into the chocolate.
  4. French Hot Chocolate: Milk poured in
  5. Whisk well until you get a smooth and shiny consistency.
  6. French Hot Chocolate: Whisking
  7. Whisk in the remaining almond milk in two additions, then the almond butter.
  8. Divide among four cups (see note) and serve.


  • If it's just the two of you (as it probably should on Valentine's Day), reserve the extra two servings in the refrigerator. They will make fabulous chocolate creams the next day, served cold and optionally sprinkled with crushed butter cookies or some granola.
  • You can use the nut butter of your choice here; hazelnut butter works beautifully for a Nutella-style hot chocolate!
  • If you like liqueur in your hot chocolate, jazz this up further by adding 1 to 2 tablespoons amaretto (almond-flavored) or Grand Marnier (orange-flavored) to taste, as you add the almond butter.


Three-Ingredient French Hot Chocolate

  • gabriela

    Wow, this absolutely HAS to be made with these healthy ingredients (non-dairy milk and butter). Otherwise you will likely be drinking a cup of fat *_*

    • It is definitely an indulgent dessert, but it is so intensely flavorful that a small serving size is enough to satisfy. ^^

  • Emily @ Life on Food

    This looks delicious. The hot chocolate was one of the things I enjoyed most when I was living in Paris.

  • Oh my this looks amazing! I have a bottle of just made homemade coconut milk in the fridge and now I know exactly what to do with it! Yum.

    • Oh wow, that sounds so good! Would you share your process for homemade coconut milk?

      • Hi Clotilde, homemade coconut milk is super easy and delicious, I actually just started making it this week and I’m in love.

        Directions: 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, soak in 3 cups just boiled and slightly cooled water, 2 pitted dates, a pinch of pink salt or sea salt. Leave to soak 30 minutes or more, than blend really well. Strain as you would any nut milk, I use my super fine gold coffee filter held over a bowl, pour the coconut liquid through the strainer, press through with a spatula and done! Save the coconut pulp, dry in the oven at low temp and use as coconut flour.

        I made hot cocoa with my coconut milk, using about 3/4 cup coconut milk, heated on the stove with 2 teaspoons organic cacao and 2 teaspoons grated white chocolate, not nearly as decadent as yours, but truly delicious and something you could drink every day. Enjoy!
        BTW, I love everything about Chocolate & Zucchini, this is the first blog I ever followed, thanks for all your beautiful posts and fantastic information and recipes!

        • That sounds so good, thank you for sharing your tips! Definitely going to try the coconut milk. And thank you also for your kind words, they mean a lot to me, truly.

  • Annabel Smyth

    I have to admit I don’t actually like hot chocolate! Never have liked milky drinks much, and have yet to be convinced by milk substitutes. I have made similar chocolate drinks for my grandson, though – gave him (and my husband) a jar of luxury hot chocolate one Christmas, which turned out to be little chocolate drops that you melt with hot milk.

    I’m glad the UK is not the only country that goes overboard on Valentine’s Day. It is not a good moment to eat out, or buy flowers…. I do sometimes buy a tiny chocolate for my husband, but that’s all. This year we will be away, so probably won’t observe it at all.

    • I hope they have chocolate where you’re going! ^^

      • Annabel Smyth

        Bound to have – and we tend to shop every day when we’re in the motor home as food storage space is limited, so I can get something, I dare say!

  • Kim W

    I’m actually flying solo on Valentine’s Day (save for, hopefully, a flirtatious Skype conversation with a gent I met in Paris last month – LONG story), and the hotel I’m staying in has a huge bathtub so I’m already planning a full-blown DIY spa weekend for myself, with indulgent food and bubble baths and such. And one day will be all about chocolate as it is (I have, like, five recipes for chocolate face masks), and the hot chocolate is also on deck for the beverage of choice for sipping in the tub.

    What I’m trying to say is that this is all very well-timed and thank you. :-)

  • suismoi

    Seems like the almond butter would make the chocolate grainy…is that not the case? Merci!

    • I don’t find it is the case, though almond butters are “milled” more or less finely, so perhaps your mileage will vary.

  • coleen

    Clotilde, I just want to say merci for a beautiful recipes and blog. I especially love the roasted broccoli with avocado salad and the roasted cauliflower a la Mary Celeste. This hot chocolate recipe is now added to that list. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • Alice Parkar

    Umm… My mouth felt watered. Chocolate yummy in taste and best to eat! bit.ly/1VSM8mP

  • Judi Paul

    Just have to say, Jen at sweetgreenkitchen has it right. You are my first and only blogger that I have followed. It is partly your very personalized style and partly a very readable, direct and relavant content that make it so charming. You make it feel as though I was communicating with a friend who has taken the time to research all of my interests. Keep up the good work and don’t let it run you over!

  • mehdi aghdaee


    do you have a non-vegan recipe as well? as a carnivore, I dont have non-dairy milk or nut butter on hand :)

    • I’m developing one for my upcoming cookbook, Tasting Paris! You can definitely use dairy milk here though, and I recommend you get yourself a jar of almond butter — so, so good! And I’m an omnivore myself. :)

      • mehdi aghdaee

        The problem with peanut, pistachio or almond butter (or nutella) is that I’ll finish them spoonful on day one!
        I dont keep ingredients for vegan cooking on hand, but once in a while I like the challenge of making a delicious dish without animal protein or dairy :)

        btw, I should tell you this: every other week a buy a new vegetable/root that I’ve never used before; The first place I look to what to do with it is the recipe by alphabet page of your site!

        • Oh, that means so much to me, Mehdi, thank you! You must let me know when there’s one I don’t have suggestions for, then I can add it to my list.

          • mehdi aghdaee

            1. Frisée
            2. Poblano peppers
            3. Rutabega

            Though the last tastes similar to turnip, only cooking time differs :)

  • Looks delicious! I will make it this weekend :)

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