The autumn season is upon us with its crisp mornings and beautiful arrangement of colorful leaves. This time of year puts me in the mood for some homemade hot chocolate. The method of gently warming or microwaving milk or water, and pouring it into a cup with hot chocolate mix is okay, but not the best.
Homemade hot chocolate has a richer bolder taste, and can be tailored to ones liking. For instance, white chocolate can be used vs. dark chocolate, vanilla almond milk instead of 2% milk, and Splenda can be substituted for cane sugar. The key to a great hot chocolate is good chocolate. Choosing which chocolate is best is based upon what type of chocolate one likes to eat.
There’s bittersweet or dark chocolate, semisweet, milk chocolate, white chocolate, Dutch cocoa, and organic chocolate with different percentages of cacao.
Some brands are: Lindt, Dove, Ghirardelli, Baker’s, Hershey, Nestle Toll House, Guittard, Cadbury, Divine, and Green and Black’s Chocolate. Chocolate also comes in various forms like; chocolate sauce, spreads, chocolate liquor, drinking chocolate, bars, chips, melting chocolates, and powder.
Here is a hot chocolate recipe that’s simple to make, versatile, and easy on the budget.
- 2 ½ cups whole milk
- ¼ tsp of salt
- 1½ cup half and half or heavy crème,
- ¾ cups sugar
- ½ cup of unsweetened chocolate
- a pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp pure vanilla
- chocolate sauce
- caramel sauce
- whipped topping and/or marshmallows
- medium sauce pan
- 2 large mugs
- measuring spoons
- measuring cup
- butter knife(for leveling dry ingredients)
- First place the medium sauce pan over a medium low to low heat. Pour in the milk, half and half and/or crème, and sugar. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is slightly warm; tiny bubbles will form along the edge of the pan.
- Once warm, whisk in the chocolate, salt, and cayenne pepper until blended.
- Continue to stir during this process. The mixture will thicken slightly and should simmer slightly, not boil.
- Once the mixture is hot, turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Pour the hot chocolate into two large mugs, top with whipping cream and/or marshmallows, and drizzle with caramel and chocolate sauce. This hot chocolate is great with biscotti.
- Makes 4 2/3 cups of hot chocolate.
If you use sweetened chocolate; after the chocolate has melted or dissolved, and the salt and cayenne pepper is added, taste for sweetness. If sweet enough continue to step 3, if not add the sweetener of your choice and taste again until desired sweetness is achieved. Go to step 4 -6.
If you are lactose intolerant use soy, almond, or rice milk and whisk 2 tablespoons cornstarch into the cold milk prior to heating. Adding the cornstarch while the milk is cold will dissolve it and slightly thicken the mixture like you used cream or half and half. The cornstarch won’t leave flour like taste.
Just try homemade cocoa just once, and you won’t go back to store brought powered cocoa mix again.
Later I’ll share with you variations of this recipe so if pumpkins spice hot chocolate or white hot chocolate is your preference, it can be achieved.