No other beverage evokes the warm, cozy feeling of hot chocolate. Done right and enjoyed on a chilly day, it’s comfort in a cup, bringing back happy memories of childhood.
Thick, rich hot chocolate is a decadent drink—an endorphin inducing delight—silky and delicious. More than just the occasional sweet treat, we associate hot chocolate with family and friends and fireside chats, and taking the time to savor.
Chocolate has a long history, dating back to the 1400s when it was a spicy, bitter drink that was thought to have medicinal properties, and used to fight fatigue and enhance mood. Some studies have shown that the flavonoids and antioxidants in chocolate also have health benefits. Beginning in Europe in the 1800s, sugar made its way into hot chocolate, which eventually led to the fast food version that comes in packets.
Coming full circle, hot chocolate is returning to its roots as a special indulgence at upscale restaurants and cafes, using quality dark chocolate or cocoa powder, along with milk or cream, cinnamon, chili pepper, marshmallow, coffee, butterscotch and more.
This holiday season as you gather with family and friends, try one of these velvety hot chocolate recipes compiled by Thrillist.com.
Delicious Hot Chocolate
One large or two small portions
1 1/2 cups milk (any fat content)
3 heaping tablespoon bittersweet chocolate chips
2 heaping tablespoons white chocolate chips
In a small saucepan, gently heat milk over low heat. Whisk often so the milk doesn’t burn. While the milk is heating, bring a medium saucepan with two inches of water to a boil. Place a heatproof bowl with chocolate pieces over the simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the simmering water. You’re creating a double boiler. Stir the chocolate pieces until melted. Add the melted chocolate to the hot milk. Whisk together until completely blended and super delicious looking. Pour into mugs and top with marshmallows or slightly sweetened whipped cream.
Slow-Cooker Hot Cocoa
By Rachel Hollis, Thechicsite.com
Prep Time:15 Minutes, Cook Time: 2 Hours
8 cups milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Toppings of your choice
Combine all the ingredients (expect the toppings) in the bowl of a slow-cooker. Stir to dissolve the sweetened condensed milk and evenly distribute the chocolate chips. Cook on low for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally to ensure until well combined. Keep warm until ready to serve. Serve with various toppings like marshmallows, whipped cream, sprinkles, cookies, chocolate syrup, candy canes, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, and anything else you like!
2/3 cup chilled whipping cream
8 hard red-and-white-striped peppermint candies, coarsely crushed (or candy canes)
3 1/2 cups milk (low fat is fine)
8 ounces good quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Baker's), chopped
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
Additional coarsely crushed peppermint candies
Beat cream and 8 crushed candies in medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Cover and refrigerate whipped cream. Bring milk to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add white chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Bring to simmer, whisking constantly. Mix in peppermint extract. Ladle into 4 mugs. Top with a layer of whipped cream. Sprinkle with additional crushed candies and serve.
Melted Hot Chocolate With Sea Salt Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
3/4 tsp sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
Melted Hot Cocoa
8 squares (4 ounces) dark 100% cocoa baker's chocolate
2 squares (1 ounce) semi-sweet baker's chocolate
2-4 tsp honey
3/4 cups whole milk, at room temperature
Begin by preparing the sea salt whipped cream. Beat the cream and sugar in an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment at medium high speed until the cream holds a very soft peak. Gently whisk in the sea salt and cocoa powder until incorporated. Cover and set aside. To make the hot cocoa, melt down the chocolate pieces in the top of a double boiler, stirring constantly. Add the honey and milk and continue stirring until it's one fluid mixture and becomes very warm. Evenly distribute the cocoa between two serving glasses and top with the whipped cream and a pinch of sea salt for garnish. Serve immediately.