Saturday, February 9, 2019

How To Make Hot Chocolate

Learn how to make homemade hot chocolate on your stovetop in minutes without cocoa powder. All you need is a chocolate bar & chips, your favorite sweetener, and milk (dairy or dairy-free). To make it even more decadent, add some vanilla extract & a creamy topping. Skip the store mixes and pricey cafe drinks and fix this easy recipe instead! (gluten-free with dairy-free options)

How To Make Hot Chocolate (Easy Stovetop Recipe Without Cocoa Powder)

Last fall when I was craving a hot & sweet drink, I reached into my pantry for cacao powder or baking cocoa to make my usual hot cocoa recipe; however, I found a bar of hazelnut dark chocolate stashed inside and decided to use that instead.

This was simultaneously the best and worst decision ever. Before this, I was satisfied with simple hot cocoa made with dry ingredients. Now I'm spoiled and purposefully keep 1-2 bars of fair-trade chocolate on hand for emergency hot chocolate cravings.

This leaves me wondering WHY I waited so long to use good-quality chocolate (you know the stuff with cocoa butter) in my hot chocolate.

Don't get me wrong, cacao powder makes an intensely satisfying & healthy hot cocoa, but bar chocolate has a slight edge with the extra fat and sweetener, which makes it rich and creamy.

My best guess? I grew up with store-bought mixes, so hot cocoa or chocolate for me was always synonymous with dry ingredients + hot water or milk.

And any bar of chocolate lying around went straight into my mouth. Can you relate?

These days my weakness is salty, crunchy snacks (like popcorn mix) so I don't have to worry about vanishing chocolate.

If that's not the case with you, try hiding your chocolate stash in a container for some kind of food no one likes but you. Sneaky, but I hear it works well.

Unless you're the chocolate thief, in which case...good luck with that! :P

How to Make Homemade Hot Chocolate With Chocolate Bars or Chips

How to Make Hot Chocolate At Home

Homemade hot chocolate requires only three basic ingredients: chocolate, milk & sweetener. Of course, you can add plenty of other things to change the flavor or jazz it up but those are the core ingredients for a simple, delicious hot chocolate.

The best part? You can fix it on the stovetop in 15 minutes. No need to put on pants, drive to Starbucks & pay $$$ for one of their fancy drinks (like a pumpkin spice latte or gingerbread latte).

That is unless you're visiting one connected to a Barnes & Noble and plan on browsing their selection. I'm a huge book lover and think we need to support brick-and-mortar bookstores!

When you make it at home, you can also make it boozy for extra fun! I'm a fan of Irish cream & whiskey, but if you want something with a holiday vibe, try this Spiced Rum Hot Chocolate.

Before I jump into the "how" of hot chocolate, let me go over the ingredients so you can see all your options and decide whether you want to make swaps or throw in add-ins to change the flavor.

How to Make Homemade Hot Chocolate on the Stovetop

Ingredients For Homemade Hot Chocolate

  • Bar Chocolate & Chocolate Chips: This is the main ingredient so it's important to use high-quality chocolate that you would eat by itself. Look for a short & simple ingredients list with things like sugar, cocoa, cocoa butter & vanilla. White, milk, semi-sweet, or bittersweet (dark) chocolate all work. It doesn't have to be expensive (you can find stuff on sale) but don't go for dirt cheap. I like to use a bar of this fair-trade certified dark chocolate, plus a combo of semi-sweet & white chocolate chips (usually Ghiradelli, but I want to try Guittard soon).
  • Milk (Dairy or Dairy-Free): This is the other main ingredient and what type you use affects how rich the hot chocolate turns out. I prefer unsweetened cashew milk or almond milk (or homemade almond milk) since it's lighter and makes my belly happy in drink form; however, this would also be delicious with whole milk. To make it even more decadent, you could substitute a portion of the milk with half & half, heavy whipping cream, or sweetened condensed milk + water.
  • Salt: I like to add a pinch of sea salt (gray Celtic sea salt usually) to bring out the chocolate flavor & make the drink slightly more complex. It really does make the flavors pop!
  • Sweetener: I typically add 2-3 tablespoons of real maple syrup to my hot chocolate (I prefer it less sweet) but it's easy to taste the milk mixture and add more. If you don't have maple syrup on hand, try it with brown sugar, coconut sugar, turbinado, or cane sugar. Or, if you plan ahead, vanilla-infused sugar is delicious! How much you need depends on your personal taste & what type of chocolate you use (I find that milk chocolate is the sweetest). 
  • Vanilla Extract: A little goes a long way, but vanilla extract makes the hot chocolate taste so much better. You can use store-bought vanilla extract or homemade vanilla extract (it tastes best after at least 6 months of infusing).
  • Toppings (Optional): For hot chocolate, whipped cream is a MUST! When I'm in a hurry, I use a can of whipped cream or a container of coconut milk whipped cream from the store (look for the latter in the freezer section). If I have extra time, I buy a pint of heavy whipping cream to make homemade whipped cream (it's super easy). You can also make homemade coconut milk whipped cream.

Easy Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe

Steps For Making Hot Chocolate on the Stove:

  1. Pour the milk into a small saucepan and heat it until steaming, but not boiling.
  2. Meanwhile, finely chop the chocolate so it melts quickly. Save some of the chocolate dustings for topping the hot chocolate. 
  3. Reduce the heat, add the chopped chocolate into the steaming milk and stir constantly until the chocolate is melted. 
  4. Taste the hot chocolate mixture and add a pinch of salt + your desired amount of sweetener (sweeter chocolate & milk may require none, bittersweet might need more than called for in the recipe). 
  5. Remove from heat and add in vanilla extract.
  6. Immediately pour into mugs, add your favorite toppings, and enjoy hot!

Tips For Making Homemade Hot Chocolate

  • Storebought whipped cream & marshmallows are pretty sweet, so keep that in mind when adding the sweetener to your hot chocolate in the saucepan. You could probably get away with adding a bit less sugar since the topping will melt into the drink fairly quickly.
  • Did you know whipped cream is freezable? If you're making hot chocolate for kids or a party, you can freeze the whipped cream in shapes. Do this by spreading the whipped cream in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet, flash freeze it until firm, use a cookie cutter to make different shapes, and then store these (covered) in the freezer until you're ready to top the finished hot chocolate. Super fun, eh?
  • An easy way to switch up or enhance the flavor of homemade hot chocolate is by using flavored bar chocolate! Many of the good brands add yummy mix-ins like ginger, peppermint, hazelnut, almond, dried cherry, orange peel, and more! Note: If there are large chunks in the chocolate, you'll need to strain the milk mixture before serving. 
How To Make Easy Homemade Hot Chocolate Without Cocoa Powder

What to Serve with Hot Chocolate

A dram of whiskey, brandy, or Irish cream? Oh, you meant food... ;)

Here are some of my favorites:

Click Here to Save This to Your Drink Recipes Board on Pinterest!

Learn how to make homemade hot chocolate on your stovetop in minutes without cocoa powder. All you need is a chocolate bar or chips, your favorite sweetener, and milk (dairy or dairy-free). To make it even more decadent, add some vanilla extract, dry spices & a creamy topping. Skip the store mixes and pricey cafe drinks and fix this easy recipe instead!

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. However, I ONLY recommend helpful products that I myself would

MEDICAL DISCLOSURE: The information included on this website is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions expressed here are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for your own situation or if you have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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