The traditional Filipino drink for Christmas and New Year is not eggnog. In this country, we drink tsokolateng tablea — tablets of cacao with all the natural butterfat content which makes the drink richer and more flavorful. It’s a drink I enjoyed as a child but the logic of the ritualistic preparation with the batirol escapes me. I live in the present, I like my microwave oven and that’s how I dissolve the tablea. Sounds more practical especially when preparing a single cup of hot chocolate drink.
Kablon Farms sent me an early Christmas gift that included three varieties of the tablea — 100% pure and unsweetened; 50% cacao and 50% coco sugar; and 70% cacao and 30% coco nectar. That’s a lot of chocolate to play with in the kitchen. I’m reserving the pack of 100% pure and unsweetened tablea for making tablea brownies. I did open the pack with 70% cacao and 30% coco nectar to make a drink the formula for which had been going around in my head for days. Remember the hot chocolate with salted caramel? I wanted to find out if salted caramel would taste good with tablea. I did an experiment and, yes, salted caramel and tsokolateng tablea go very, very well together.
I didn’t stop there though. Traditionally, tablea is cooked in milk. So, why not top the hot chocolate-mixture with scoops of vanilla ice cream before drizzling in the salted caramel syrup? Oh, boy. The result was so indescribably good. Rich, comforting, textures and flavors intermingling perfectly inside my mouth.
Whether this recipe will work with other formulations of tablea, I do not know. The ones I used had 70% cacao content so the additional sweetness from the ice cream and the caramel set of the chocolate-y richness perfectly. I’m thinking though that a sweeter tablea formulation might result in a too cloyingly sweet drink. So, if you want to make your version of this drink and your tablea has a higher sugar content, you might want to use less ice cream or less caramel or less of both.
Chop the tablea and scoop into a cup. Pour in the milk. Heat on HIGH in the microwave for about a minute. Stir until the tablea are dissolved.
Drop in the ice cream.
Drizzle the salted caramel over the ice cream and hot chocolate.
Stir lightly (or not!) before sipping.