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There’s nothing better than enjoying a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day. It’s sweet, creamy, and perfectly chocolatey. Luckily, a great cup of hot chocolate isn’t difficult to make. In fact, all you need are a few simple ingredients, some high-quality dark chocolate, and just five minutes for a mouth-watering and delicious cup of hot chocolate right from your own kitchen.
What’s the Difference Between Hot Chocolate and Hot Cocoa?
Technically speaking, hot chocolate is made with melted whole chocolate (such as baking chips, bar chocolate, or chocolate chips), while hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder. This makes hot chocolate a bit thicker and creamier than hot cocoa. Whenever you make a cup of the hot chocolate packets sold at stores, you’re actually making hot cocoa. If you want a cup of the real thing, you’ll need to melt some high-quality chocolate in milk or cream. And trust us, it isn’t much more complicated than the packets, but a whole lot more delicious.
How to Choose the Right Ingredients for Hot Chocolate
In order to make a delectable cup of hot chocolate, you need to start with the right ingredients. First, start need top-quality chocolate. Since you’re using such a large amount of chocolate in each drink, it makes sense that the higher quality your chocolate, the better the end result will taste. Look for high-quality dark chocolate or baking chips. These will be easier to melt and result in fewer lumps when heating the hot chocolate.
Next, you need to consider the dairy used in your hot chocolate recipe. You want something thick and creamy to give your hot chocolate its luscious, velvety texture. That’s why the recipe below calls for whole milk. It provides the perfect amount of froth without going overboard. It’s thickened with the addition of dark chocolate and cocoa. If you’re avoiding dairy, you can use canned coconut milk as an alternative. Other plant-based milks just don’t froth up enough and are too thin for a great cup of hot chocolate.
The right tools on hand to make your hot chocolate. You’ll need a saucepan, whisk, cutting board, knife, and the perfect mug for serving. Our personal favorite? The Great Outdoors Mug With Apple Truffles. Not only are the apple truffles topped with hazelnut crunch delicious, you can use the stainless mug time and time again for a delicious cup of hot chocolate that pairs perfectly with a few of our tasty apple truffles.
DIY Hot Chocolate Recipe
Here’s a simple recipe for hot chocolate. Feel free to adjust any of the ingredients to your taste, especially the sugar. If you like your hot chocolate sweet, you might be fine with the two tablespoons. If you’d rather have less sugar, try one tablespoon. You can add more if needed.
For this recipe, you’ll need about five ounces dark chocolate, two tablespoons cocoa powder, two tablespoons sugar, four cups of whole milk, and one teaspoon vanilla extract. First, whisk together the chocolate, cocoa powder, and sugar in a small saucepan. This helps to avoid any lumps forming when heat is applied. Next, add the milk and place the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk continuously as you bring the mixture to a simmer. Keep simmering until hot and smooth. Be careful not to scald or boil the milk while heating. Once it’s hot and all of the chocolate is melted, remove from heat and add the vanilla. Serve in a festive cup and enjoy.
Topping Ides for Hot Chocolate
Though hot chocolate is delicious on its own, toppings can add to the thrill. Of course, marshmallows and whipped cream are always a great idea, but there are so many more toppings to explore. Try crushing candy canes and add on top of the whipped cream. Or, top the drink with chocolate chips, like dark, milk, or white chocolate chips. Cocoa puff cereal is another great addition. You can also try spices, such as grated cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. Another fun option is just regular, run of the mill sprinkles on top of the whipped cream. Or, drizzle some caramel sauce atop the whipped cream.
Hot chocolate is such delicious treat. It pairs so well with some cookies or our Chocolate Dipped Strawberries Box, so be sure to grab a box to enjoy alongside your cup of hot cocoa.