Combine milk, the Redpath® Golden Yellow Sugar, vanilla seeds (pod included), and salt in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves and milk is steaming; do not boil (see Chef’s Tips).
Place chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl, and ladle in about a cup or so of the steaming milk into the bowl of chopped chocolate. Let sit for about a minute before gently stirring to melt completely. Stir another ladle of milk into the bowl to make it easier to combine the chocolate mixture with the remaining milk.
Reduce heat to low and gently whisk in the melted chocolate. Stir until chocolate is incorporated and the mixture is homogeneous. Remove and discard the vanilla bean pod.
Carefully ladle the vanilla hot chocolate into 4 mugs. Garnish with whipped cream, marshmallows, or dust the tops with cocoa powder, if desired. Serve immediately.
*For best results use whole milk or a creamier dairy alternative such as soy, oat, coconut, cashew, or almond milk.
*For a more decadent hot chocolate, replace ½ cup (125 ml) of the milk with cream (10% to 35%).
*To split a vanilla bean, place the pod onto a cutting board. Hold one of the ends of the vanilla bean on the board. With a sharp paring knife, cut the bean in half lengthwise. Run the back of the paring knife against both halves of the bean to scrape out the seeds.
*If a vanilla bean is not available, 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste can be substituted. Stir in the vanilla extract/paste after removing the hot chocolate from the heat.
*Keep an eye on the milk while heating. Boiling the mixture will result in a granular texture in the final product.
*Redpath Simply Raw™ Turbinado Sugar or Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar can be used instead of the Redpath® Golden Yellow Sugar. Note that using the Redpath Simply Raw™ Turbinado Sugar will result in a hot chocolate that has less noticeable caramel notes and may have a lighter colour. Using Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar will result in a hot chocolate that may have more of a noticeable caramel undertone and a darker-coloured beverage.