The Best Hot Chocolate (Drinking Chocolate)
This recipe 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 your mug down.
I began to experiment with from-scratch hot chocolate recipes and techniques and I ended up with this gem. I get to use my favorite dark chocolate and cocoa powder (the same ones I use in my chocolate cupcakes) to guarantee the flavor profile I want in my drinking chocolate.
Here’s why this hot chocolate is without a doubt the best one that I have ever made:
- I use milk. Water simply can’t provide you with a true hot chocolate experience.
- I use a mix of dark chocolate pieces and unsweetened cocoa powder. The chocolate pieces give the drink some thickness and an intense chocolate flavor, while the cocoa powder keeps it from turning into a ganache that’s too thick to drink.
- I use a sweetener other than white sugar. While I love cassonade syrup (a caramelized sugar syrup that tastes like a cross between golden syrup and light molasses), this recipe also works well with treacle [paid link], golden syrup, maple syrup, date syrup, or even sorghum molasses. Using a syrup adds complexity.
- 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 It’s Made
Heat milk in a small saucepan or in the microwave until hot but not boiling.
Melt butter in another small saucepan on medium heat. Once it’s melted, add chocolate pieces to the melted butter and stir until completely melted.
Stir in the cocoa powder.
Whisk in hot milk a little bit at a time until completely combined, then whisk in your syrup. Continue to heat until mixture is nearly boiling.
Remove from heat and serve hot in a mug, topped with whipped cream, marshmallows, or both – and drizzle some extra syrup on top!
Expert Tips and FAQs
Hot cocoa is not 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.
Hot cocoa can be good, but hot chocolate can be divine.
I love using cassonade syrup, but it can be difficult to source. Treacle, unsulphured molasses, golden syrup, maple syrup, date syrup, and sorghum molasses are all excellent choices.
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The Best Hot Chocolate
- 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 treacle, golden syrup, maple syrup, date syrup, or even sorghum molasses, and have a little extra for drizzling
- 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.
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