My mom was a teacher and my dad owns a store, so as a kid I never really understood what corporate life was like. My impression of office jobs was formed by movies like Secret of My Success and peeking into back rooms during my visits to the bank. Then, in high school, our Key Club participated in the local PBS station’s live pledge drive. There, I sat in front of a large office phone next to rows of friends with the same setup, hoping mine would ring, the camera would focus on me, and I would get my two seconds of TV fame! Equally memorable was my time spent in the PBS lobby binging on free hot chocolate. As I drank paper cup after paper cup of hot chocolate made with coffee machine water, my vision of a future career with a window office, my name on a shiny door plaque, and a break room with free hot chocolate and coffee solidified. While I didn’t realize then that my brief corporate life would consist of small cubicles and lots of boredom, I knew even then that powdered hot chocolate sucked.
Over the years, I’ve made hot chocolate using all manner of gourmet hot cocoa mixes. I even own a hot chocolate-making machine (basically a kettle that heats and froths the milk). Cocoa mixes alone never created the hot chocolate nirvana that I craved. I began to experiment with from-scratch hot chocolate recipes and techniques.
This sugar pie hot chocolate is hands-down the best hot chocolate that I have ever made. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Use milk. Always. Even if you are using a pre-made mix, water simply can’t give a true hot chocolate experience.
- Use a mix of chocolate pieces (I prefer dark) and unsweetened cocoa powder. The chocolate pieces give the hot chocolate some thickness and an intense chocolate flavor, but using all melted chocolate leaves your hot chocolate with a ganache texture that’s too thick to drink a whole mug of.
- Think beyond white sugar for your sweetener.
I used T-Sugars’ Belgian Cassonade Syrup as the sweetener in this hot chocolate (I drizzled some on top, too!). T-Sugars sponsored this post as part of their #bakethedifference campaign and sent me some of their fabulous syrup. It’s a caramelized brown sugar syrup that tastes like a cross between golden syrup and light molasses. Sweetening hot chocolate with syrup is not only a simple choice, but it adds to the flavor profile of the hot chocolate to give it a more robust flavor. If you buy Cassonade Syrup for this hot chocolate recipe, you’ll find yourself using it on pancakes, waffles, ice cream, and all kinds of sweets! T-Sugars’ products are available at Rouses, Albertsons, Heb, Fred Meyer and Bi-Mart. (Psst… T-Sugars is giving away 5 packs of their sugar products on their Facebook page, so go enter to get your hands on some of this syrup.) If you don’t have any Cassonade Syrup on hand, you can use golden syrup, maple syrup, or even sorghum molasses.
- Butter makes it better. Butter is the secret to this super rich hot chocolate and it’s also the reason why I called this hot chocolate “sugar pie hot chocolate”. The butter makes me feel like I’m drinking a liquid version of my addictive chocolate sugar pie.
And now the full recipe…
Sugar Pie Hot Chocolate
- 2 cups milk I prefer 2% in my hot chocolate, but any kind will do
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 ounce dark chocolate I use TCHO baking discs
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup T-Sugars Belgian Cassonade Syrup or golden syrup, maple syrup, or even sorghum molasses, plus extra for drizzling
- Heat milk in a small saucepan or in the microwave until hot, but not boiling.
- In a separate small saucepan on medium heat, melt butter.
- Add chocolate to melted butter and stir until melted.
- Stir in cocoa powder.
- Whisk in hot milk a little bit at a time.
- Whisk in Cassonade Syrup and continue to heat until mixture is near a simmer.
- Serve hot, topped with whipped cream, marshmallows, or both and an extra drizzle of syrup.