There is just one quintessential winter drink and it’s the classic hot chocolate. Anyone who says otherwise hasn’t had the pleasure of sipping the right one. A warm hug in a mug, it’s the perfect antidote to a cold, foggy winter night.
The trick is to invest in decent ingredients. It has such few, and you don’t drink it every day, so splurge as much as you can. I promise the result will be wickedly decadent.
The cocoa butter content in good quality dark chocolate gives a luxurious mouthfeel. Blended with cocoa powder, and the hot chocolate gains so much flavor and body. Last but most definitely not least, a dash of vanilla brings beautiful caramel notes into play. And our favorite spice, cinnamon brings it all alive!
How to make hot chocolate from scratch?
The recipe is so simple that it doesn’t even feel like one. It’s the ingredients that you have to pay attention to. Get hold of the best quality you can, and the rest would be smooth sailing.
- Start by heating milk, chocolate, and cocoa powder in a saucepan and bring it to a simmer. On low heat, please.
You want the ingredients well combined. Since chocolate tends to stick to the pan and burn, you will have to keep stirring. This is essential – whisk, whisk and whisk away to dissolve the cocoa and chocolate.
- Next, take it off the heat and add the sugar. Do it gradually with taste tests in between because sweetness is a profoundly personal preference.
I’ve been using raw sugar for everything lately – even teas and coffee. But regular, white sugar will be fine here. Just keep in mind that the chocolate you use will have some sugar unless you are using unsweetened chocolate. So, you don’t want to go overboard.
- Add the end, sprinkle some cinnamon powder, and a dash of vanilla extract.
And that’s it; your hot chocolate is ready to be served.
Tips for making hot chocolate
It’s in the name – the chocolate. That’s how you make the drink intensely creamy and rich. I prefer to use 70% dark chocolate because then the flavor truly shines through. But 50 to 55% dark chocolate will do in a pinch.
Some of the couverture chocolate I recommend are:
How do I make hot chocolate better?
For a truly indulgent, over the top hot chocolate with a lush, thick consistency, use half cream and half milk.
But in my opinion, milk is the ideal base. Regular, full-fat milk is an excellent option. I used toned milk, and the drink still was luscious.
Can I make vegan hot chocolate?
Yes, if you use dairy-free chocolate and milk, both are readily available online and taste just as good.
How can you spice hot chocolate?
We are big fans of cinnamon and use it liberally for flavoring. But if that’s not your cup of Oolong, try:
- A pinch of nutmeg.
- A touch of star anise to lift the drink.
- A bit of ginger powder for that sharp zing. Chocolate and ginger go together surprisingly well.
Spicing hot chocolate is optional. But they do bring a natural counterpoint to the sweetness, something you’ll enjoy.
And yes, 'coz its the season, feel free to add a splash of rum, cognac or bourbon to your cuppa!
Serving the hot chocolate
The drink is decadent enough on its own. It doesn’t need dressing up. But as the kids say, when you have hot chocolate, marshmallows are a must.
Since I had them at hand, I topped the drink with a few marshmallows and a dusting of cinnamon and cocoa powder. And as a special Christmas treat served it with some gingerbread men.
We stick to the classic way of having hot chocolate. But you can try a dollop of whipped cream or even caramel syrup. However, you choose to serve it, make sure it’s piping hot!
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Classic Hot Chocolate
- 2 cups Milk
- 1/3 cup 70 % Dark chocolate chips By all means, add more if you want!
- 2 tbsp Cocoa powder
- 3 tsp Raw sugar
- 3/4 tsp Cinnamon powder
- 1.5 tsp Vanilla extract
- In a small saucepan, combine milk, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips.
- Bring it to a gentle simmer on low heat, stirring all the while.
- Turn it off the heat, add the sugar, cinnamon powder, and vanilla extract. Taste and adjust for sweetness.
- Pour into mugs and serve as is or topped with marshmallows and sprinkled with cocoa powder and cinnamon powder. Enjoy!