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The Best Hot Chocolate Recipe

This recipe made from scratch is, hands-down, the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. It’s so rich, so packed with chocolate flavor, that it’s hard to put down once you pick up your mug.

Two mugs of hot chocolate

Why Make Hot Chocolate From Scratch?

First, do not confuse hot cocoa with hot chocolate. The former is made from a powder, while the latter is made from milk or cream combined with actual chocolate. Hot chocolate is also called drinking chocolate.

Over the years, I’ve made hot cocoa using all manner of gourmet hot cocoa mixes. I even own a hot cocoa-making machine (basically a kettle that heats and froths the milk). Cocoa mixes alone never created the chocolate nirvana that I craved.

I began to experiment with from-scratch hot chocolate recipes and techniques and I ended up with what you see here. I get to use my favorite dark chocolate and cocoa (the same ones I use in my chocolate cupcakes) to guarantee the right flavor profile for my drink.

Sugar Pie Hot Chocolate
Hot cocoa can be good, but hot chocolate can be divine.

Why This Recipe Works

This recipe for hot chocolate is without a doubt the best one that I have ever made. Here’s why:

  • It uses milk. Water simply can’t provide you with a true hot chocolate experience. I even use milk on the rare occasion that I make hot cocoa from a mix.
  • It’s made with a mix of dark chocolate pieces and unsweetened cocoa powder. The chocolate pieces give the drinking chocolate some thickness and an intense chocolate flavor, while the cocoa powder keeps it from turning into a ganache that’s too thick to drink.
  • It uses a sweetener other than white sugar. While I use a cassonade syrup (a caramelized brown sugar syrup that tastes like a cross between golden syrup and light molasses), this recipe benefits from any syrup. Using a syrup adds complexity. Try golden syrup, maple syrup, date syrup, or even sorghum molasses.

Cassonade Syrup

  • Butter makes it better. Butter is the secret to this super rich hot chocolate. The butter makes me feel like I’m drinking a liquid version of my addictive chocolate sugar pie.

How to Make This Hot Chocolate Recipe

  1. Heat milk in a small saucepan or in the microwave until hot but not boiling.
  2. Melt butter in another small saucepan on medium heat.
  3. Add your chocolate chunks to the melted butter and stir until completely melted.
  4. Stir in the cocoa powder.
  5. Whisk in hot milk a little bit at a time.
  6. Whisk in cassonade syrup (or other syrup of your choosing) and continue to heat until mixture is nearly boiling.
  7. Remove from heat and serve hot in a mug, topped with whipped cream, marshmallows, or both – and an extra drizzle of syrup.
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Sugar Pie Hot Chocolate
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5 from 2 votes

The Best Hot Chocolate Recipe

A rich, sweet, and decadent hot chocolate! This may be the best hot chocolate you've ever had.
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Keyword hot chocolate recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 mugs
Calories 417kcal
Author Stef

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk I prefer 2% milk in my hot chocolate, but any kind will do
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 ounce dark chocolate use your favorite dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder use your favorite unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup cassonade syrup substitute with golden syrup, maple syrup, date syrup, or even sorghum molasses, and have a little extra for drizzling

Instructions

  • Heat milk in a small saucepan or in the microwave until hot but not boiling.
  • Melt butter in a separate small saucepan on medium heat.
  • Add dark chocolate to melted butter and stir until completely melted.
  • Stir in unsweetened cocoa powder.
  • Whisk in hot milk a little bit at a time.
  • Whisk in cassonade syrup and continue to heat until mixture is nearly boiling.
  • Remove from heat and top with whipped cream, marshmallows, or both. Add an extra drizzle of syrup and serve immediately.

Notes

If you don't have cassonade syrup, you can make this recipe with light molasses, golden syrup, or another syrup of your choosing.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
The Best Hot Chocolate Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 417 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 12g60%
Cholesterol 40mg13%
Sodium 125mg5%
Potassium 1116mg32%
Carbohydrates 53g18%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 47g52%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 570IU11%
Calcium 379mg38%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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