My husband has a habit of volunteering to do things for me when I’m not feeling so hot. Wonderful, isn’t he? But he always makes the mistake of doing a great job. Well, I know that doesn’t sound like a mistake, but it is…for him anyway. You see, once he does a great job, I think, “Wow! This is great! I can have him do this a lot more!” He made this mistake the first time he offered to make me some hot cocoa.
I’m a big homemade cocoa girl. One night, about two years ago, I wanted some hot cocoa in a bad way, but didn’t feel up to it, so my wonderful husband volunteered. I gave him my recipe and he set to work. The result? Utterly delicious. How can this be? This was MY recipe, remember? How did he make it better? I’m not exactly sure. Maybe it’s that “anything you don’t have to make yourself tastes better” thing. But whatever it was, I haven’t made my own hot cocoa since. And since it’s another cold, snowy day here in the Northeast, I’ve decided it’s the perfect kind of day to share the recipe with you! This is also an excellent drink to serve with tomorrow’s post, so come back and check it out!!
You won’t need everything pictured here, but there are some optional flavorings that you can add that are so yummy! The necessary ingredients are milk, vanilla, unsweetened cocoa powder, semisweet chocolate chips, and sugar. If you want a peppermint hot cocoa, you’ll substitute it for the vanilla. With hazelnut (or another syrup), you’ll keep the vanilla, but you will cut the sugar a bit. Flavored syrups are sweetened on their own, so they will add sugar to the recipe. Additionally, for a richer drink, you can use half milk and half heavy cream or half and half.
This recipe is for a single serving because I’m usually the only one in the realm drinking it, but it doubles, triples, quadruples very easily!
To speed the process up slightly, you can begin by warming the milk in a small bowl in the microwave for about a minute. Cocoa powder doesn’t mix into cold liquids, so warming the milk prior to putting it on the stove allows you to whisk the cocoa powder in as soon as you get it in the pan.
Constantly whisk the milk, cocoa, chocolate chips, sugar, and vanilla (or peppermint) over medium heat for about 10 minutes. As soon as you see the very first ripple of a boil on the surface, remove the mixture from the heat. Cooking it slow over a lower heat seems to help the flavors grow richer. Once you remove it from the heat, just stir the hazelnut flavoring in, if using, top with marshmallows, whipped cream, or marshmallow fluff, and serve!
Best Hot Cocoa
Serves 4 (but can very easily be divided in half for 2, or even by 4 to serve 1)
4 cups milk (or 3 cups milk and 1 cup half and half or heavy cream) (soy or almond for vegan/dairy free)
4 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 heaping tablespoons sugar (2 heaping tablespoons if using a flavored syrup)
4 scant tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips (vegan is available)
1 teaspoon vanilla (or other extract of your choice)
1/4 cup hazelnut (or other flavor) syrup (optional)
Pour milk, and half and half or cream, if using, in a bowl and warm in the microwave for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes (optional).
Transfer milk to small saucepan over medium heat and whisk in cocoa, chocolate chips, sugar, and vanilla. Continue cooking over medium heat, whisking almost constantly, until it just barely begins to lightly boil, about 10 minutes; remove from heat. Whisk in flavored syrup, if using.
Transfer to a fun mug, top with marshmallows or whipped cream and any other yummy treats you want.
Recipe by the Hubster