By Becky Krystal • The Washington Post

Triple Hot Chocolate

I prefer Dutch-processed cocoa powder because it has been treated to reduce acidity for a richer chocolate flavor. Leftovers reheat well in the microwave or on the stove top. Makes 6 servings, or about 3 1/4 cups.

1 C water

1 TBS Dutch-processed cocoa powder

3 1/2 oz semisweet chocolate (55 to 60 percent cacao), chopped

2 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate (70 percent cacao), chopped

1 1/4 tsp teaspoons sugar

1 3/4 C milk

Pinch salt

1/4 C heavy cream

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1. Bring the water just to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.

2. Remove from heat and add the cocoa powder, stirring until smooth. Add the semisweet and bittersweet chocolates, sugar, milk and salt, stirring until most of the solid chocolates have melted. Return the saucepan to the stove top over low heat, stirring until the chocolates have completely melted.

3. Add the heavy cream; increase the heat to medium and whisk rapidly and constantly until the mixture is well incorporated, smooth and heated through, with small bubbles at the edges of the pan and steam wafting off the top. Do not allow it to boil or bubble rapidly. If you are monitoring the temperature with an instant-read thermometer, aim for 150 to 160 degrees.

4. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract. Serve right away.

Calories: 220; Total Fat: 15 g; Saturated Fat: 9 g; Cholesterol: 25 mg; Sodium: 85 mg; Carbohydrates: 22 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Sugars: 17 g; Protein: 4 g

In the kitchen, the most common types of happy accident are not what you’d expect. Those unplanned culinary genius moments? Few and far between. That is, until now.

While on the hunt for a decadent, thick, full-flavored hot chocolate, I plucked two recipes to test. One was from Alice Medrich’s “Chocolate Holidays,” the other from Lisa Yockelson’s “ChocolateChocolate.”

They were both good, and I liked different things about each recipe.

With a little of both batches left, more intending to just clean up than invent anything, I said, “I wonder what would happen if I combined these” and then unceremoniously dumped them into one bowl. After finishing the dishes, I decided to go in for one last taste, because why not.

Well, guys, it was darn good, if not world-ending.

I called in the rest of the Washington Post food team to try this Frankenstein hot chocolate, and the verdict was unanimous.

The hybrid was the winner.

While one recipe had been a bit thin on texture but great on flavor and the other was thick but not quite sweet enough, together they were beautiful.

Then it was a simple matter of combining the ingredients and tweaking the amounts for scale and measurements that didn’t involve odd fractions.

The trifecta of chocolate — powder, bittersweet, semisweet — helps strike a happy balance in this rich brew with fruity notes. It is thick but not sludgy and sweet without being cloying.

Try it cold for an almost-milkshake experience.

Depending on your taste, you can experiment with the proportions of the bittersweet and semisweet chocolates.

Another way to add a personal flourish for this cup: Top it with marshmallows and dollops of whipped cream.

You might as well go all out and make the effort.

I’m no longer leaving my best hot chocolate up to chance, and neither should you.

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