When you think of hot chocolate, probably what comes to mind are snowy winter days spent huddled around the fireplace after an afternoon of sledding.

But Shereen Pavlides’ Best Belgian hot chocolate puts an elegant, grown-up spin on the beloved beverage with bittersweet Belgian chocolate and chocolate liqueur and makes it into a perfect dessert for any time of year.

Best Belgian hot chocolate

Prep: 8 minutes

Cook: 6 minutes

Makes: 4 (about 7 ounce) hot chocolates

For the chocolate whipped cream

½ cup cold heavy cream

3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

1 tablespoon 100 percent unsweetened cocoa

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the hot chocolate

3 cups whole milk

1/3 cup sugar

¼ cup 100 percent unsweetened cocoa

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup chopped bittersweet Belgian chocolate (Callebaut preferred) — reserve chocolate shavings from chopping

2 ounces crème de cacao dark (chocolate liqueur)

How to make the chocolate whipped cream:

Add cold heavy cream, confectione’sr sugar, cocoa and vanilla into a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Stir well to incorporate the cocoa.

Mix on medium-high speed until stiff peaks begin to form, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides and the bottom of the bowl’s divot periodically, with a rubber spatula.

How to make the hot chocolate:

Add the milk, sugar, cocoa and salt into a 2½-quart saucepot over medium heat, whisking periodically until combined, sugar is melted and cocoa mixture is very hot, 5 to 6 minutes.

Do not boil or the milk will scorch.

Remove the hot chocolate from the heat. Add 1/3 cup chocolate and liqueur and whisk until the chocolate is melted.

Ladle hot chocolate among 4 mugs. Divide and dollop chocolate whipped cream on top. Garnish with the chocolate shavings left over on the cutting board from chopping the chocolate.

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