9 cups milk
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 (3.5-oz each) bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsp instant espresso powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup coffee liqueur, optional
Spray can whipped cream for garnish
WholeVanilla Bean Pods for stir sticks, optional
In a Dutch oven combine the milk, brown sugar, bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat, do not boil, for about 10 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the chocolate is melted. Stir often during cooking.
Remove chocolate mixture from the heat and whisk vigorously until you have a frothy hot chocolate. Pour immediately into mugs and stir in a splash of the coffee liqueur, if using. Top with whipped cream. Add a vanilla bean stick to each mug as a stirrer, if desired. It will release a vanilla taste into the hot chocolate.
For a decorative touch sprinkle some cinnamon or shaved chocolate over the whipped cream, if desired.