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6 More Ways to Make Better Hot Chocolate

6 More Ways to Make Better Hot Chocolate


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How to make your hot chocolate even more delicious

Shutterstock/ Gregory Gerber

More ways to update your hot chocolate.

Last month we shared how to make a winter tradition — hot chocolate — into a new and exciting drink. And in honor of National Cocoa Day, we share even more ways to update your chocolate goodness.

Throw a hot chocolate party: A lazy Sunday afternoon with friends is instantly turned around with a hot chocolate party. With a few standby recipes, like Mexican hot chocolate or Belgian hot chocolate, you'll have enough to feed a hungry crowd.

Freeze it: Nothing will shake up a hot chocolate routine more than a frozen hot chocolate. Take notes from the pros at Serendipity 3 to learn how to do it, and get a peek at The Daily Meal's recipe for Frozen Hot Chocolate, or a Salty Hot Chocolate Float.

Make a hot chocolate bar: Take notes from Boston's Rowes Wharf Sea Grille on their pop-up hot chocolate bar. Set up a hot chocolate bar with a classic hot chocolate, then place essential ingredients for chocolate lovers to add to their hot chocolate. Some ideas: orange extract and orange slices for an orange hot chocolate, maple syrup for a Canadian hot chocolate, pumpkin pie spice for a fall harvest hot chocolate, and almond extract and cinnamon for an almond hot chocolate. And make sure to include plenty of marshmallows in the mix.

Speaking of, make your own marshmallows: Good thing we have the recipe to do it.

Add some booze to it: As if you needed more reason to spike your drinks, we share from the Four Seasons recipes for a Millionaire's Mochaccino (made with Baileys, Frangelico, and Kahlúa), and the Sleigh Ride hot chocolate (made with Disaronno and brandy).

Throw some green chiles in it: Yes, really: the Four Seasons in Jackson Hole, Wyo. show us how in a Green Chile Hot Chocolate. This hot cocoa is for the brave.


How to Make Hot Chocolate from Scratch That's Way Better Than a Mix

It's a cinch to make hot chocolate at home. In fact, our simple hot chocolate recipe takes 15 minutes (or less!), and the creamy-rich flavor is worth the wait. Here, we&rsquoll show you how to make hot chocolate with cocoa powder or with chocolate chips. You&rsquoll also find many decadent hot chocolate recipe variations so you can turn your kitchen into a homemade hot cocoa bar.

Whenever the weather starts cooling down, a steamy cup of hot chocolate is just the ticket for a warm and cozy night in. And while dumping a packet of hot cocoa mix (though we do have an excellent homemade mix recipe) into hot water might be the easier route, knowing how to make hot chocolate from scratch is a real treat. Here you can learn our Test Kitchen&aposs best way to make hot chocolate using cocoa powder, on the stove, and even in a slow cooker. Oh, and we&aposll also fill you in on hot chocolate vs. hot cocoa (yes, there&aposs a difference!). Then you&aposll find some fun ways to change up the flavor of your homemade hot chocolate.


How to Improve Your Hot Chocolate (Even the Powdered Stuff)

Winter snowstorms—whether in your area or halfway across the country—are opportunities for excuses. An excuse not to work. An excuse to stay in sweatpants all day. And an excuse to drink hot chocolate.

The flip-side of that excuse: If you're stuck at home all day with not much else to do but watch the snow fall, there's no reason not to make your hot chocolate the best it can be. Here are a few ways to give your drinking chocolate an upgrade.

This just may be the best part about being an adult because, really, what isn't better with a bit of booze? Just stir in a shot of brandy, rum, or whiskey right before sipping. You're welcome.

Brandied Hot Chocolate

Sure, you can infuse hot chocolate with cinnamon and it will undoubtly be delicious. But go beyond the warming spices and try the more fiery ones. Here, ancho chili powder and a red chile are added to the mix.

Mexican Hot Cocoa

Because what isn't better with a scoop of ice cream? Typically made by pouring hot espresso over vanilla gelato, this take on the classic Italian dessert swaps out espresso for creamy hot cocoa. Don't limit this decadent combination to just peppermint ice cream--vanilla, coffee, or chocolate are also pretty perfect.

Hot-Cocoa Affogato with Peppermint Ice Cream

Fact: Canned whipped cream and mini marshmallows are so passé. Go a heavy-handed dollop of freshly whipped cream, instead. (A drizzle of caramel sauce doesn't hurt, either.)


Five Ways to Make Better Hot Cocoa

Another winter is here, bringing with it endless snow and wind, making us long for Rio, for Sydney, for Florida--anywhere even remotely sunny, really. For those stuck in colder climes, there is a solution to alleviate the winter doldrums, a childhood classic that never gets old: hot chocolate. Sure, there's good old-fashioned Swiss Miss, but you're an adult now--you can handle a slightly more grown-up version. Here are five ways to upgrade the standard cup, perfect for your next snow day.

Rethink your base: In general, we endorse using high-quality whole milk, local if possible, mixed with unsweetened cocoa powder and/ or melted bittersweet chocolate. There are, however, some acceptable alternatives: coconut milk, which is naturally rich and creamy, and almond milk, with its pleasant nutty notes, both pair nicely with chocolate for the dairy-averse. Or try mixing one can of sweetened condensed milk with six cups of hot water for a smooth, sweet base with hint of retro flavor.

Spice it up: One of the simplest ways to change up your cocoa routine is to raid your spice cabinet. The possibilities here go on for miles--this chai-spiced hot chocolate boasts flavors of cardamom, allspice, cinnamon and black pepper while this heat-packing ancho chili-laced version is basically a cold-killer in a cup. Other worthwhile additions include Chinese five-powder spice (laced with star anise), Sichuan peppercorn and cloves, or even a tiny pinch of lavender--yes, it's technically an herb, but it adds a floral zing that will make you forget all about shoveling your driveway.

Get sweet: When using unsweetened cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate, chances are you'll need a little something to sweeten the pot. Instead of white sugar, try stirring in maple syrup or a spoonful of Southern-style sorghum syrup , or even one of the artisanal small-batch syrups we see popping up, like Royal Rose (above) or Morris Kitchen .

Booze it up: Yes, Grand Marnier is a classic addition, but try Clement Creole Shrubb , an orange-zest and spice-infused rum liqueur, for a slightly more complex cocktail. And while standbys like Baileys and Kahlua will never be bad, for those with less of a sweet tooth, try adding a jigger of bourbon instead, which will mellow out in the hot liquid and become almost buttery. Or nix the milk altogether and simmer your chocolate with a bottle of fruity red wine, throw in some cinnamon and cloves, and enjoy the most decadent mulled wine on the planet.

Gussy up your toppings: Take a pass on stale bags of store-bought Jet-Puffs and make your own marshmallows or (even easier) DIY marshmallow fluff instead, which you can flavor with cardamom or orange zest. -- Jamie Feldmar


Building a Better Hot Chocolate

If you live in the Upper Midwest—or, God forbid, Canada—Swiss Miss is a cultural birthright. You’ve gotta drink something to stay warm, and sometimes coffee and tea just don’t cut it. Hot chocolate warms the soul.

But the shortcoming of nearly all commercial cocoa mixes is that they don’t taste very good. They produce vaguely chocolaty boiling water. In a pinch, or zero-degree weather, they’ll certainly do. But they’re not substantial.

High-end cocoa is better, yet rarely good enough to justify the effort and/or expense. But just in time for—or well in advance of—the really cold weather, Cook’s Country presents its recipe for homemade hot chocolate powder (not available online, but stay tuned).

It isn’t just good. It’s crazy good—so smooth, rich, calming, and chocolaty that it’s challenging not to just slam it. The secret is a 6:4:3:3 ratio of nonfat dry milk to confectioners’ sugar to Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I like Droste) to white chocolate chips, with a tiny pinch of salt.

After the mix is pulsed in a food processor (to powderize the chips), it can be stored for months in an airtight container and mixed at a 1:3 powder-to-milk ratio.

White chocolate, that despicable nonchocolate (and nonsubstitute for chocolate, for that matter), actually proves its worth in this recipe, providing an incredibly creamy texture.


Building a Better Hot Chocolate

If you live in the Upper Midwest—or, God forbid, Canada—Swiss Miss is a cultural birthright. You’ve gotta drink something to stay warm, and sometimes coffee and tea just don’t cut it. Hot chocolate warms the soul.

But the shortcoming of nearly all commercial cocoa mixes is that they don’t taste very good. They produce vaguely chocolaty boiling water. In a pinch, or zero-degree weather, they’ll certainly do. But they’re not substantial.

High-end cocoa is better, yet rarely good enough to justify the effort and/or expense. But just in time for—or well in advance of—the really cold weather, Cook’s Country presents its recipe for homemade hot chocolate powder (not available online, but stay tuned).

It isn’t just good. It’s crazy good—so smooth, rich, calming, and chocolaty that it’s challenging not to just slam it. The secret is a 6:4:3:3 ratio of nonfat dry milk to confectioners’ sugar to Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I like Droste) to white chocolate chips, with a tiny pinch of salt.

After the mix is pulsed in a food processor (to powderize the chips), it can be stored for months in an airtight container and mixed at a 1:3 powder-to-milk ratio.

White chocolate, that despicable nonchocolate (and nonsubstitute for chocolate, for that matter), actually proves its worth in this recipe, providing an incredibly creamy texture.


What&rsquos in this Decadent Hot Chocolate?

Let&rsquos start with the star of the show: chocolate. I like to use both milk chocolate and dark chocolate in my hot chocolate recipes. The dark chocolate gives a deeper and richer flavour while the milk chocolate adds some sweetness.

I like using chopped bar chocolate instead of chocolate chips because the chocolate chips don&rsquot melt as smoothly, at least not with my experience. I always end up with grains of chocolate in my hot chocolate which I don&rsquot like. When using chopped chocolate the hot chocolate will be completely smooth and rich all throughout.

Next up is the liquid. I like to use whole milk because it&rsquos the only dairy milk I can keep down, but you can substitute for soy, 2%, almond or any other type of dairy or non-dairy milk you prefer.

A lot of recipes use cornstarch to thicken up their hot chocolate, but I prefer to use heavy cream to achieve a nice thick hot chocolate. Not only does the heavy cream thicken up the hot chocolate, it also makes it extra creamy! So please don&rsquot substitute or leave it out, trust me you&rsquoll love it.


Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate…

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve tasted better hot chocolate. In my opinion, this is the best I’ve ever had.

Of course, if you have a favorite hot chocolate recipe, I’d love to hear all about it. I love hearing from you.

This recipe is made with condensed milk, so it’s extra rich and creamy. It’s all put together in a snap, too. Just pour everything into the crockpot, stir once in a while and enjoy.

If you are planning a hot chocolate bar for the holidays, this is a great recipe to try.


Enjoy Your Hot Chocolate But Drink It Healthy

Who doesn’t love to sit next to the fire with a mug of hot chocolate on a chilly night? Well, what we would consider a tempting treat, may be better for your health than you think!

The health benefits of cocoa include relief from high blood pressure, cholesterol, constipation, chronic fatigue syndrome and various other illnesses.

Cocoa can quicken wound healing, and help to improve cardiovascular function and brain health.

It also possesses mood-enhancing properties and is rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and potassium.

Cocoa has also been shown to improve insulin resistance and help the body metabolize glucose. The antioxidant component of cocoa has been found to battle free radicals, reducing cell and tissue damage.

Research has suggested that cocoa’s flavanols (phytonutrients with antioxidant properties) may contribute to maintaining a healthy brain. These protective benefits could also positively affect learning and memory functions.

Findings have also found that cocoa-based products enhance the flow of blood to the brain and have been shown to help improve the effects of cardiovascular disorders.

With all of these benefits, could chocolate soon be considered a health supplement?

A study by Harvard Medical School said the benefits of the compound, Epicatechin, a compound which occurs naturally in cocoa beans, could prove “as important to medicine as penicillin or anesthesia.”

Professor Hollenberg, director of the study, said the health benefits of the chemical, which is also found in tea, wine, some fruit and vegetables, could be enormous.

He added: “If these observations predict the future, then we can say without blushing that they are among the most important observations in the history of medicine.”

Are you ready to drink your hot chocolate now? With so many options, which one should you choose?

Eat This Not That surveyed consumers and compiled this listing of hot chocolates in an attempt to find the best.

The top 5 winners were: Silly Cow Farms Hot Chocolate, Ghirardelli Drinking Chocolate Drops, Swiss Miss Simply Cocoa, Starbucks Hot Cocoa Double Chocolate, and Dagoba Organic Chocolate.

Taste and texture were two important points according to survey participants. Reviews of the above popular varieties were filled with phrases like “chocolate heaven” and “smooth, velvety consistency.”

Now before you run off to the store to stock up on the above brands, let’s take a look at how these choices may impact your blood sugar.

Silly Cow Farms – 80 calories, 1 g fiber, 14 g sugar

Ghirardelli – 70 calories, 1 g fiber, 6 g sugar

Swiss Miss- 100 calories, 1 g fiber, 13 g sugar

Starbucks – 120 calories, 3 g fiber, 17 g sugar

Dagoba – 90 calories, 4 g fiber, 13 g sugar

While these 5 varieties got good reviews, they certainly aren’t going to do your blood sugar any favors. With high sugar contents, low fiber, and high calories, these are not the healthiest ways to drink your chocolate.

However, there is a new player in the game that does fit the bill. Forget having your cake and eating it, too now you can have your chocolate and drink it, too!

Diabetic Kitchen Gourmet Drinking Chocolate is made with Bensdorp Royal Dutch Cocoa which has earned the title of “The World’s Finest Cocoa.”

With 35 calories, 8 g fiber, and 0 sugar it combines amazing taste and texture without raising blood sugar .

It is free of Sugar Alcohols, Aspartame, Sucralose, Chemicals, Fillers, Binders or Artificial Ingredients of Any Kind. It features 100% natural ingredients, is Gluten-Free and Soy-Free.

While chocolate is still considered a treat, we are continuing to learn more about its positive effects. By choosing the right drinking chocolate, you can enjoy great taste and promote good health!


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