Not that I would approve of any such days, but occasionally the temperature does drop below 75 and it’s good to be prepared. My method of preparation usually includes some hot chocolate and a warm blanket.
Today I’m sitting with my feet up looking out the very cold window with hot chocolate and a little peppermint schnapps. Which is one of several spiced up hot chocolate options.
But let’s start at the beginning; because hot chocolate is never going to get any better than a traditional recipe. First things first; there is a difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa; because chocolate and cocoa are two different things. Typically if what you’re using to make your concoction is a powder it’s likely hot cocoa and if its more of a firm chocolate, often shredded, then it’s hot chocolate. Both are good, and I’m just going to call them all hot chocolate since I’ll be talking about them interchangeably. Anything I’m talking about would work with chocolate or cocoa.
Traditional Hot Chocolate
I do use mixes, I’m sure there are recipes from scratch, but I have found I’m happy with the high quality mixes. I enjoy Godiva’s Hot Cocoa mix, but any nice chocolate shop probably sells a pretty good option too. Then it’s simple – make as directed using milk! No water, hot chocolate is no time or place to be counting calories.
I heat the milk on the stove, because I think the anticipation adds to the enjoyment and also heating the milk on the stove will thicken it a little. While the milk is heating add the directed amount of chocolate or cocoa to your hot chocolate mugs. Then add hot milk and stir.
Yes, fun hot chocolate mugs makes it taste better too. (I hope everyone appreciates the high level of science I bring to these topics). Drinking hot chocolate from the same mug you drink your morning coffee in will result in the same level of enthusiasm you have while drinking your morning coffee. But if you have a fun, colorful, seasonal or just unique hot chocolate mug it will make the hot chocolate just as special. And special does not mean expensive; I have two ultra-cheesy Christmas mugs that I keep packed away with our Christmas decorations, which I picked up at Michael’s for a dollar. And now every year when we’re decorating for Christmas whenever we come across the mugs we take a break from decorating for some hot chocolate.
But there’s more still – there are all the things that you can add to make your hot chocolate that much more enjoyable. I know, who knew it could get even better. Let’s start with one of my favorites.
Peppermint Hot Chocolate
You can buy mixes that already have this flavoring or do it on your own. Start with traditional hot chocolate and then add as many of these options as you like to enrich the flavor:
Peppermint Schnapps, (not for the kiddos, they can use the extract)
Peppermint Extract, (like you would use for baking)
Peppermint Pieces, (use the candy canes that broke in the car on the way home from the store by crushing them up and adding them to your hot chocolate)
Whole Candy Cane, (as a garnish and stirrer)
For those of you just interested in a little kick behind your chocolate there are plenty of options available to use such as:
What’s your favorite way to have hot chocolate – with marshmallows, in your pajamas, with a good book?-