There is nothing better than a warm cup of hot chocolate in a cold day. This is a rich, smooth, and creamy hot chocolate made with bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder, milk, and a splash of vanilla extract. Top is off with marshmallows, whipped cream, or a dash of cinnamon for the perfect cup.
After testing many different ways of making hot chocolate, I am confident that this is the best recipe to share. If you want to try some other flavors, give my Peppermint White Hot Chocolate a try or make some Caramel Hot Chocolate.
I’ve tested numerous ways of making hot chocolate to narrow it down to the best one. I wanted to test which milk was better to use, or even cream. Was actual chocolate better than cocoa powder, or maybe a combination of both? And of course, I had to test the ratio of milk to chocolate. My family and friend happily enlisted to help me taste test all the hot chocolate recipes.
After the first few rounds, we immediately discarded ones made with just cocoa powder and ones made with higher ratio of chocolate to milk. Using just cocoa powder just did not give hot chocolate any body or richness. It also took a long time to cook to lessen the grainy taste.
It might also seem like a great thing to have a thick and rich hot chocolate but after the first couple of sips, it’s just too much. The recipe that used 2 cups of milk and 4 oz chocolate was way too thick and rich. It was like drinking chocolate sludge so you can’t have more than a couple of sips. Not an ideal cup of hot cocoa.
So after testing out all the recipe, the best results came from a combination of chopped chocolate and cocoa powder. Both provide a little something to make the drink pleasant and just the right thickness. Bittersweet chocolate was the best tasting chocolate to use.
After trying a few different milks and a combination of milk and cream, 2% milk and whole milk without any cream yielded the best flavor and texture. The result is a little lighter with 2% milk and chocolate comes through strong and smooth. Whole milk makes a little creamier and fuller hot chocolate.
WHAT IS IN HOMEMADE HOT CHOCOLATE
There are only 5 simple ingredients that go into this recipe:
Chocolate – use bittersweet baking chocolate bar.
Cocoa powder – use unsweetened 100% cocoa powder.
Milk – 2% milk is best but whole milk can also be used.
Sugar – amount of sugar will depend on personal taste, so add a little more or a little less.
Vanilla extra – use pure vanilla extract to elevate all the flavors of this wonderful drink.
HOW TO MAKE HOT CHOCOLATE
Set the stove heat to medium and heat up milk in a sauce pot until hot but not simmering. Meanwhile, chop the chocolate bar into small pieces.
Use a fine strainer or a mesh sugar shaker to sift in the cocoa powder to ensure that there are no clumps. Whisk in the cocoa powder and add chocolate, sugar, and vanilla extract. Slowly continue whisking as chocolate is melts and incorporates into milk.
When milk starts to simmer, lower the heat to medium-low and continue to cook for a few minutes. Remember to slowly stir from time to time.
STORING AND REHEATING HOT CHOCOLATE
You can store leftover hot chocolate in a glass jar with a lid or any air-tight food storage container. Make sure to keep it refrigerated.
To reheat hot chocolate, transfer it into a small sauce pot and heat through just until hot. Make sure to reheat it slowly over medium heat.
MORE RECIPES TO TRY
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The Best Homemade Hot Chocolate
- 3 cups 2% milk (may also use whole milk)
- 4 oz bittersweet baking chocolate bar chopped
- 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Chop the chocolate bar into small pieces.
- Heat up milk in a sauce pot, over medium heat, until hot but not simmering.
- Use a fine strainer or a mesh sugar shaker to sift in the cocoa powder to ensure that there are no clumps.
- Whisk in the cocoa powder and add chocolate, sugar, and vanilla extract. Slowly continue whisking as chocolate is melts and incorporates into milk.
- When milk starts to simmer, lower the heat to medium-low and continue to cook for a few minutes. Make sure to slowly stir from time to time.
- Take off heat and serve.