Chop or grate the semi-sweet chocolate. You will need 6 to 7 tablespoons of chopped chocolate.
Take the chopped chocolate in a small mixing bowl. Set the bowl aside.
In a saucepan add milk and sugar.
Begin to heat the milk until it comes to a simmer and begins to gently boil. When you keep the milk on the stove-top, stir so that the sugar dissolves.
Switch off the heat and place saucepan on the countertop.
Then take 2 to 3 tablespoons milk from the hot milk in the saucepan and add to the bowl containing chopped chocolate.
With a whisk mix the hot milk with the chocolate to a smooth consistency.
Now pour this melted chocolate and vanilla extract in the hot milk in the saucepan which is placed on the kitchen countertop. Mix very well.
Pour hot chocolate in cups.
If you like top the hot chocolate with some whipped cream (or whipping cream) or heavy cream. If you have whipped cream, use it or simply add either heavy or whipping cream. You can also sprinkle some cocoa powder or chocolate shavings or gratings on top.
Serve homemade Hot Chocolate straightaway.
Milk: Use whole milk or full-fat milk. Skimmed milk or toned milk can curdle.
Chocolate: For best results use couverture chocolate. Make sure that the chocolate is at room temperature.
Melting Chocolate: Remember not to add overly boiling milk to the chopped chocolate as this can make the melted chocolate grainy or release fat from it.
Whipped cream: Adding cream is optional and can be skipped. Do note that the whipped cream should be not cold or chilled but at room temperature. If the whipping cream is chilled, the drink will become lukewarm. You can also add whipping cream or heavy cream.
Melting chocolate: The chopped chocolate can also be melted in a microwave or using the double boiler method.
Vegan options: You can substitute with almond milk. Simply heat the almond milk and do not boil it.
Sweeteners: You can add more or less of the sweeteners depending on the type of chocolate. Unrefined raw sugar, maple syrup or white sugar can be added.
Scaling: You can easily halve or double the recipe.