A perfect cup of drinking chocolate makes frigid weather (almost) bearable. This hot chocolate recipe is thick, rich, and indulgent, made without cream or thickeners ~ bring it on, winter, we’re ready!
drinking chocolate is turbo-charged hot chocolate!
Most hot chocolate is way too bland for me, it’s usually too thin, and lacks the rich complexity of its namesake. I crave a drinking chocolate that is basically…melted ganache in a cup!
Remember ‘Chantico’ from Starbucks? I used to love those tiny little 6-ounce cups, but apparently it was a colossal flop. People didn’t want to pay a primo price for such a diminutive drink. And then there were those pesky calories (it was the most calorie dense of any Starbucks drink.) Chantico only lasted a year before it was yanked from the menu, and I’ve been trying to replicate it ever since.
Let’s just say I’ve made A LOT of hot chocolate, and I’ve experimented with different types of chocolate, heavy cream, evaporated milk, and all sorts of thickening agents.
In the end, what it finally comes down to is the ratio of high quality chocolate to regular milk. That’s it! Just follow this recipe to taste the result.
drinking chocolate is a once in a while indulgence
The amount of chocolate in this recipe definitely puts it squarely in decadent-territory, but don’t worry, if you’re anything like me, you won’t be tempted to drink the whole batch. It’s INTENSE, in a good way, and meant to be savored almost like a small glass of scotch whiskey or a perfectly made espresso. It’s the ideal way to cap off a meal where you want something sweet but not filling.
what you’ll need
- chocolate ~ I used semi-sweet.
- milk ~ plain whole milk. No heavy cream or half and half necessary!
- vanilla extract ~ along with the salt this helps bloom the flavor of the chocolate.
how to melt chocolate and milk
If you’ve ever made homemade hot chocolate and had trouble getting the whole thing to melt cohesively, you’re not alone. Here are a few tips to help with that:
- Chocolate that comes in bars or wafers is the easiest to melt. Chocolate chips are actually formulated to hold their shape (as in cookies) so they aren’t always the best choice.
- If using bar chocolate, be sure to cut it into small pieces. The smaller your pieces of chocolate to start with, the quicker and more smoothly they’ll melt into your milk.
- If you’re using wafers, which are specifically made to melt easily, there is no need to break them down into smaller pieces.
- Even after your chocolate has melted in your milk it can remain ‘speckle-y.’ The trick is simply to heat the mixture over low/medium heat for longer than you might think. Giving the chocolate some time to fully melt makes for a smoother end result. I take about 10 minutes. I will sometimes turn the heat off and let the pot sit for a while to encourage complete melting.
choosing the perfect chocolate for hot chocolate
Choose carefully because chocolate is the star in this recipe.
- It may seem obvious, but choose a chocolate you like! Different types of chocolate as well as different brands will change the outcome in subtle ways.
- I think semi-sweet chocolate strikes the perfect balance between sweet milk chocolate and bittersweet chocolate, but all three can be used, or mixed!
- There are all kinds of fancy single-origin chocolate bars on the market these days which would make a great cup of drinking chocolate.
- I like to let the chocolate shine and only add a pinch of salt and vanilla, but there are lots of additional flavors that play well with chocolate that you can experiment with. Try spices like cinnamon, cardamom, or ginger. Extracts like almond or peppermint also work great. Sometimes I’ll add a bit of cayenne pepper for a kick.
- Make it an after dinner dessert cocktail by spiking your drinking chocolate with your favorite spirit. I love Amaretto, Cognac, Grand Marnier, Kahlua, or Bailey’s Irish Cream.
- Non dairy milks like almond milk or coconut milk can be used.
- Simply use keto friendly chocolate and heavy cream for a keto drinking chocolate.
more chocolate, please
- Dark Chocolate Truffle Tart
- Perfect Chocolate Pudding
- Flourless Belgian Chocolate Cake
- Chocolate Souffle
- Double Dark Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies
- Jewel Box Truffles
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, cut in small pieces
- 2 cups whole milk
- pinch salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- In a small, heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the chocolate, milk, and salt.
- Heat gently over low/medium heat for a few minutes, whisking regularly, until the chocolate is completely melted. It should be steaming, but don't let it come to a simmer. (Cooking the hot chocolate a little lower and slower helps the chocolate to fully melt rather than remain speckle-y in the milk.)
- Off the heat, add the vanilla extract and stir.
- Serve immediately in small cups, topped with whipped cream, if you like.