So Cool It’s Hot: A Cocoa Float from the Chef at Momofuku Milk Bar

11/19/2013 at 11:43 AM ET

Momofuku Christina Tosi Chocolate Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Courtesy Christina Tosi

When it comes to hot chocolate, Swiss Miss packets won’t do if you’re Christina Tosi, founder of Momofuku Milk Bar, the cultishly popular bakery in New York and Toronto.

The creator of wacky-yet-delicious treats like the salty-sweet crack pie and compost cookies (made with ground coffee and pretzels!) recently shared her cocoa recipe with PEOPLE and said that she takes the stuff seriously. “As a pastry chef, it’s practically required to have a killer hot chocolate recipe at the ready when the cold months come knocking, and mine blends my European ganache-like roots with my American instant hot chocolate memories,” she says.

Tosi, who pioneered the trend of ice cream sweetened with cereal-soaked milk, has never been one to shy away from extremes when sweets are involved. For her cocoa, she adds a scoop of Häagen-Dazs Peppermint Bark ice cream (“It screams out ‘dunk me in hot chocolate!’) because she enjoys playing with contrasting temperatures in desserts. “I love that ice cream floats are usually only served in the summer months with fizzy soda, but with a warm, thick hot chocolate it’s every bit as perfect,” she says.

Momofuku Christina Tosi Chocolate Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Courtesy Christina Tosi

Ever get the hankering for hot chocolate when you’re sprawled on the couch but can’t deal with getting up to make it? Tosi suggests making a large batch on the weekend so you can reheat some when a craving hits. She also urges home cooks to splurge on high-quality cocoa and chocolate if possible. “It really will make a world of difference in taste and texture,” she says.

Peppermint Bark Ice Cream Float
Serves 4 to 6

½ cup cocoa powder
½ cup sugar
4 oz. dark chocolate
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 cups whole milk
1 pint peppermint or peppermint bark ice cream

1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine cocoa powder, sugar, chocolate and salt.

2. In a medium-sized saucepan on medium heat, bring milk to a near scalding boil. Pour milk immediately over the bowl of cocoa, sugar, chocolate and salt. Allow it to sit for 1 minute. Whisk slowly to combine. Continue whisking until mixture is evenly combined and silky smooth. (If you are worried about lumps, pass it through a fine mesh strainer.)

3. Pour hot chocolate evenly into mugs, scoop ice cream on top and garnish with a candy cane or peppermint stick.

—Lexi Dwyer

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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