I adore Hot Chocolate, as distinct from Hot Cocoa or Drinking Chocolate. Definitions abound, but here are my working guidelines:
- Hot Cocoa: Made with unsweetened cocoa powder and milk. Usually low in fat.
- Hot Chocolate: Made with a combination of bar chocolate and unsweetened cocoa and milk, or milk and cream. Higher in fat.
- Drinking Chocolate: Made with bar chocolate and milk, or milk and cream. Highest in fat.
Which is best? Well, if you had asked me that a couple of years ago, when Drinking Chocolate was new to me, I would have said Drinking Chocolate.
But I have experimented with different combinations since then, and my current favorite is Hot Chocolate with a mixture of unsweetened cocoa and bittersweet bar chocolate. The unsweetened cocoa brings a deeper chocolate flavor to the drink, while keeping it a bit leaner as well.
Each batch of Heavenly Hot Chocolate Mix makes a perfect holiday gift. Just pack into decorative cellophane bags and tie with a ribbon. Don’t forget to print out the directions for the finished drink below. And if you want your gift to be even more memorable, include your own Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows.
Heavenly Hot Chocolate Mix
This mix is infinitely variable. Make it as described here the first time (perhaps with one of the flavoring options below) and then adjust sweetness and chocolate levels to your preference. Note those preferences for your next batch of mix.
two 3-3.5 ounce (6-7 ounces total), 70% cocoa, chocolate bars, finely chopped (such as Lindt Excellence Intense Dark)
¼ cup premium unsweetened cocoa
4-6 tablespoons dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
one of the below flavoring options
- In a processor fitted with the knife blade, process the bar chocolate, cocoa, brown sugar, salt, and optional flavorings until mixture is finely ground, about 30 seconds. Be careful not to over process.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Makes about 1½ cups mix, enough for 6-12 drinks.
Heavenly Hot Chocolate Mix Variations
Choose one of the following variations and add ingredients in Step 1 of the Heavenly Hot Chocolate Mix master recipe.
1-2 packets of Starbucks Via Italian Roast Instant Coffee
Mexican Hot Chocolate
one 4-inch length vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoons ground clove
Peppermint Hot Chocolate
2 candy canes
Garam Masala Hot Chocolate
2 teaspoons LunaCafe Garam Masala
Baharat Hot Chocolate
2 teaspoons LunaCafe Baharat
Warm Winter Spice Hot Chocolate
2 teaspoons LunaCafe Warm Winter Spice
Chinese Five Spice Hot Chocolate
2 teaspoons LunaCafe Chinese Five Spice
Heavenly Hot Chocolate
I love having this mix on hand. It means Heavenly Hot Chocolate is only minutes away–as quick as I can heat the milk. As far as how much mix to use, my preference is for 3 tablespoons of mix per cup of milk. The drink is full flavored with some body but not overly rich or overpowering. However, if you prefer a drink that is closer in texture and flavor to melted chocolate, simply increase the amount of mix.
1 cup milk
2-4 tablespoons Heavenly Hot Chocolate Mix
lightly sweetened whipped cream
marshmallows, preferably Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows
- To make hot chocolate, in a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of milk and 2-4 tablespoons of the mix. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until chocolate is incorporated and melted.
- If optional flavorings are used, let sit off the heat for at least 15 minutes to steep the flavors. Reheat and then pour through a fine strainer into a 2-cup glass measuring cup with a pouring spout.
- Pour immediately into an 8-ounce mug and if desired, top with whipped cream or marshmallows. For added drama with the marshmallows, toast lightly with a kitchen torch.
Makes 1 drink.
Cookin’ with Gas (inspiration from around the web)
- Confessions of a Foodie Bride: Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix
- Giver’slog: Hot Chocolate on a Stick
- Handle the Heat: Hot Chocolate Mix
- Hot Cocoa Versus Hot Chocolate
Love Hearing from You!
Please leave a comment. Include your blog URL and CommentLuv will automatically link back to your most recent blog post. Happy Holidays! …Susan
Copyright 2012 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.