Located internationally and in Boston, New York, Las Vegas, and Philadelphia, Max Brenner knows how to serve up a great cup of hot chocolate. Whipping together thick, homemade vanilla cream, chopped chocolate chunks, and boiled milk, this hot cocoa requires a drinker who can endure extreme richness. But if you’re up to it, this decadent cup of cocoa is more than worth the risk of a stomachache. Their special touch? Dishing up the drink in a hug mug, their trademark cup that perfectly complements the drinking experience.
Sprinkle the cornstarch over 1/2 cup of the milk in a small bowl and whisk to dissolve. Add the sugar and egg yolks and whisk well.
Bring the remaining 2 cups of the milk and the vanilla bean just to a simmer in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over low heat. Remove the bean, scrape the vanilla seeds into the milk, and discard the bean. Gradually whisk the egg yolk mixture into the milk.
Cook, whisking often, until the sauce comes to a full boil, about 3 minutes. If using vanilla extract, stir it in now. Strain through a wire sieve into a bowl. Serve warm.
Add to the vanilla cream the chopped chocolate chunks and 1 boiled cup of milk. Mix until smooth. Any flavor can be added: raspberry, cinnamon, holiday ginger spice, or marshmallows. The chocolate can be substituted to milk or white.