10 Yummy Twists on Hot Chocolate

10 Yummy Twists on Hot Chocolate

Put the Swiss Miss Away for a Day

Doesn’t a cold night and a fire in the fireplace just call for hot chocolate, whether it’s just dressed up with some marshmallows or kicked up a notch with a shot of the perfect alcohol?

So, I’m devoting this post to 10 twists on hot chocolate. And no, I don’t recommend using an instant mix. You need something closer to drinking chocolate, and I’ve got a simple family recipe to get the ball rolling.

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A Simple No-Recipe Hot Chocolate Recipe

This easy technique is courtesy of my Mom, Mary Lou, who never uses cookbooks or recipe cards. I don’t know how she does it, but she just knows how to put ingredients together. And she makes it look super easy. So don’t be intimidated – you can’t mess this up. Pinky swear!

It’s super simple and way better than an instant mix. Once you’ve got your hot chocolate, it’s time to heat things up!

hot cocoa, hot chocolate

Gather up three ingredients:

  • Baking cocoa – unsweetened cocoa (not hot cocoa mix)
  • Sugar
  • Milk (or half & half, part cream, soy, almond, oat, or anything you fancy!). I like using half and half oat milk with a splash of cream at the end

Make a cup:

  1. Put 3 tablespoons of sugar in a small saucepan
  2. Add 3 heaping tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. Add a spoon or two of water, turn the heat to medium-low, and whisk
  4. Once you get a smooth chocolate liquid, pour your choice of milk into your mug to measure it (a little over halfway up), and then add the milk to the saucepan
  5. Turn the heat up to about medium and whisk the liquid until it’s just about to boil

Optional – add a dash of vanilla extract and/or a dash of heavy cream. Marshmallows and whipped cream are also must-haves. Because… why not?

drinking chocolate

10 Twists on Hot Chocolate

1. Add a Shot

While pretty much anything goes, Bailey’s, Kahlua, Vanilla Vodka, and Crème de Cocoa are excellent choices.

2. Flavor It Like Coffee for a Non-Alcoholic “Shot” Option

Use a flavored syrup like vanilla, hazelnut, or raspberry for a non-alcoholic hot chocolate variation.

hot chocolate, hot chocolate with marshmallow

3. “Fluffy” Hot Chocolate

Courtesy of Add a Pinch

Use marshmallow fluff instead of individual marshmallows. You can stir some in, place a dollop on top, and torch it like Crème Brulee. You’ll get a s’mores vibe if you garnish it with some graham cracker crumbs.

4. Mint Hot Chocolate

Make homemade hot chocolate, replacing the vanilla extract (that you add at the end) with a drop of peppermint oil (it can be potent, so use a light hand).

5. White Hot Chocolate

This variation is even easier than starting with homemade hot chocolate. All you need to do is combine a cup of milk (any kind) with ¼ cup of white chocolate chips in the saucepan and heat until just nearly boiling. Then, add a dash of vanilla extract.

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6. Mexican Hot Chocolate

Start with the basic recipe for hot chocolate but add a dash of cinnamon and about half as much chili powder to the sugar and chocolate dry mix. After you add the milk and heat to almost boiling, it’s even yummier if you add a square of bittersweet chocolate and a dash of vanilla.

Tip: This is a great time to use that big bottle of vanilla you purchased in Mexico, as it has cinnamon notes.

Mexican hot chocolate, hot chocolate variations

7. Morph It Into Drinking Chocolate

Hot chocolate is yummy. But drinking chocolate is a whole new level of yummy! You can put together a pretty easy version by adding some chocolate chips with the milk. But hold back a few tablespoons of milk and mix it with a teaspoon of cornstarch. After the chocolate mixture is nearly heated to a boil, stir in the cornstarch mixture and whisk until thick.

8. Mocha Mix

Combine a half cup of coffee with a half cup of homemade hot chocolate, a dash of cream, and plenty of whipped cream on top.


Did You Know?

A milk frother can make a single serving of homemade whipped cream in no time. Put about a quarter cup of cream, a pinch of sugar, and a touch of vanilla in a mug and use the frother to thicken it up.

milk frother, milk frother for whipped cream

9. Make It Float

When you substitute hot chocolate for seltzer, you get an exciting twist on the ice cream float. Pour your homemade hot chocolate over a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and add a bit of hot fudge or chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and a cherry. It’s still warm enough to call a winter treat!

10. Freeze It Up

If you’re OK with a cold twist, replace plain milk in a homemade milkshake with hot chocolate. Add ice cream and ice, and blend to perfection.

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