Hot chocolate is a beverage that inspires fierce and unshakable allegiances. The thick-and-sludgy vs. thin-and-milky debate shows no signs of abating, just as the comparative merits of bittersweet vs. milk chocolate are one of the dessert world’s hoariest old chestnuts. And we can now add another couple of factions to the fracas: those who enjoy their hot chocolate with peanut butter vs. those who do not.
Having tasted the above concoction from Shake Shack’s Madison Square Park location, we place ourselves firmly in the former camp. Admittedly, we are peanut-butter-chocolate sluts, so were predisposed to liking what is basically a giant, melted buckeye. The addition of peanut butter here gives the hot chocolate a creamier, slightly thicker texture, and the flavor a salty, peanutty edge — it’s more of a pronounced embellishment than a major component, but still registers strongly enough that peanut butter nutters won’t feel shortchanged.
Hot chocolate purists, on the other hand, will likely be scandalized, which is fine, because that means all the more for the rest of us. Consuming the entirety of a $3.75 cup is a feat of Relaxed, Top-Unbuttoned Jeans proportions — to say nothing of a fun way to stave off seasonal affective disorder and any cravings for solid food.
Madison Square Park
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This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 17, 2010