When it comes to internet searches for hot chocolate, December 2020 saw a significant increase over prior years.
Why? After a grueling year, perhaps we all needed a little more comfiness. For me, there is nothing like a steaming mug of hot chocolate on a frigid winter’s night. Homemade hot cocoa is easy to prepare.
It can be made in one mug at a time or in large batches, and I’ve got a lot of interesting ideas for add-ins so you can create a unique flavor every time :). Chocolate lovers, you’re in for a real treat.
HOW DOES THIS CHOCOLATE DIFFER FROM THE ORDINARY?
With this cup of hot chocolate, I went all the way. To make it extra creamy and chocolatey I use a 50/50 milk-and-half-and-half mixture, semi-sweet chocolate, and unsweetened cocoa powder which were the secret ingredients.
Just enough sugar to keep it delicious, but not so much that it’s difficult to finish your mug of hot cocoa (you can always add more to taste).
The end result is a rich, sweet, and chocolatey mug that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside during the cold winter months ahead of you. Perfect.
WHAT CHOCOLATE SHOULD I USE?
For this hot chocolate, you may use any semi-sweet chocolate chips if you like. Use either milk chocolate or dark chocolate, depending on your personal preference for sweetness and/or bitterness in your hot cocoa.
When it comes to flavor preferences, I favor semi-sweet, which falls just in the middle of the spectrum.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO USE A DIFFERENT KIND OF MILK?
When making hot chocolate, you can technically use any sort of milk or alternative, but you should keep in mind that the creaminess and sweetness of your drink will be affected by what you use instead.
The recipe below uses a combination of whole milk and a half and half. This recipe is rich and creamy without being too heavy.
If you don’t have half and half, you can use 3 cups of whole milk and 1 cup of heavy cream in the ingredients below to have the same effect.
WHAT ELSE CAN I PUT IN MY HOT CHOCOLATE?
This is the fun part about making your own hot cocoa at home. You can experiment with a plethora of other components to create completely unique tastes. Add a handful of these ingredients to your hot chocolate to enhance the taste:
- Instant coffee or espresso powder
- Almond extract
- Peppermint extract
- Crushed candy canes or peppermint candies
- Cayenne pepper
- Caramel sauce
- Malted milk powder
- Maple syrup
- Almond butter
- White chocolate
- Bailey’s Irish cream 😉
THE ULTIMATE HOMEMADE HOT CHOCOLATE
This rich and decadent homemade hot chocolate features two kinds of chocolate and may be customized with additional flavorings.
|Prep Time: 5 mins
Servings: 4; 1 cup each
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder ($0.14)
- 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate ($1.75)
- 1/4 cup sugar ($0.04)
- 1/8 tsp salt ($0.01)
- 2 cups whole milk ($0.84)
- 2 cups half and a half ($0.90)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract ($0.28)
- In a medium saucepot, combine the cocoa powder, semi-sweet chocolate, sugar, and salt. Pour the milk and half and half on top.
- Over medium-high heat, place the saucepot. Whisk the ingredients together until the chocolate has melted into the milk and the milk is beginning to steam over medium heat (but not simmering).
- The milk should be steaming when the chocolate has totally melted and incorporated into it, so take it from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract. Adjust the amount of sugar or chocolate to suit your taste buds.
- Serve with your preferred toppings while still hot.
Scaling this recipe up or down is simple. It’s as simple as changing the number in the “servings” box to reflect how many people you intend to feed.
- Serving: 1 cup
- Calories: 377 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 34 g
- Protein: 9 g
- Fat: 24 g
- Sodium: 178 mg
- Fiber: 3 g
MAKE YOUR OWN HOT CHOCOLATE AT HOME: A GUIDE
- In a saucepot, combine 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir until smooth. 2 mugs of whole milk and 2 mugs of half and half should be added on top of it.
- While whisking, bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. When the milk is cold, the cocoa powder will sit on top, but as it warms up, it will begin to mix in with the milk. When you heat the milk, the semi-sweet chocolate will begin to melt, but it won’t be completely dissolved until the milk is steaming hot. Put a stop to the steaming process and add the vanilla extract.
- Before serving, taste the hot chocolate and adjust the sweetness or other components! Make some homemade whipped cream to put on top for an additional special touch!