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Creative Hot Chocolate Recipes You Have to Try

Few things are more comforting on a cold winter's night than a warm, steaming mug of hot chocolate. However, you don't have to limit yourself to whatever is already in that packet from the grocery store. With just a few simple ingredients and a little extra effort, you can create deliciously unique chocolate concoctions.

Classic Homemade Hot Chocolate

Once you've tried this rich, full-bodied hot chocolate recipe, you'll never be satisfied with just dumping a packet into a mug of hot water again. This recipe makes a batch big enough for the whole family—that is, if you feel like sharing.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups milk

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 6 ounces milk chocolate pieces

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Pinch of salt

Combine everything except the vanilla and chocolate pieces in a sauce pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until solids are thoroughly dissolved but avoid bringing to a boil.

Once the mixture is steaming and fully blended, mix in the chocolate pieces and whisk until smooth. Finish with a splash of vanilla. Serve as-is or with a topping of marshmallows or whipped cream.

Salted Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

If you're a fan of the salty-sweet combination of chocolate and peanut butter, this hot chocolate recipe will win you over. Its thick, rich texture and bold peanut butter cup flavor will give you all the comfort you need on a cold winter's day.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 3 cups milk

  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a saucepan, mix the sugar, cocoa, and water until thoroughly blended. Add milk and heat but do not boil. Remove the mixture from heat and add the peanut butter and chocolate chips while it's still warm. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth and frothy.

After you pour yourself a mug, sprinkle with a few flakes of sea salt and a topping of your choice. Toasted marshmallows accompany the flavor especially well.

Two-Ingredient Hot Chocolate

Nutella is a hazelnut chocolate spread that’s being increasingly incorporated into all kinds of recipes these days, including this easy hot cocoa. Its creamy and full texture is an alternative to powdered hot chocolate recipes that’s ideal in a pinch when you're craving a mug of cocoa but can't find any other ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk

  • 3 heaping tablespoons Nutella

  • Pinch of salt

  • Sprinkle of cinnamon

Warm the milk in a sauce pan or in the microwave until steaming but not boiling. Mix in the Nutella and whisk thoroughly until combined, then top with a sprinkling of salt and cinnamon to bring out the flavors.

Spicy Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate was first invented by the Mayans and Aztecs, who would blend ground-up cocoa beans with water and spices. The result was much more bitter than what most of us prefer to drink today, but this recipe provides a flavorful reminder of hot cocoa's roots. The cayenne pepper is optional, but it adds a definite kick and deep flavor that pairs perfectly with the chocolate.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups milk

  • 10 ounces dark chocolate chips

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Combine ingredients together in a saucepan. Whisk together until the chocolate is melted and mixed thoroughly with the milk. Add the cinnamon and cayenne.

Hot White Russian

This recipe is the perfect after-dinner accompaniment. You can scale the alcohol content of the recipe up or down to your liking.

Ingredients:

  • 1 part freshly brewed coffee

  • 1 part prepared hot chocolate of your choice

  • 1 part Kahlua

  • 1 part whole milk

  • 1/2 part vodka

Mix coffee and hot chocolate together, then spike it with Kahlua, vodka, and warm milk. Top with a liberal serving of whipped cream.

Gingerbread Hot Chocolate

Warm and filled with spices, this hot chocolate recipe tastes like freshly baked gingerbread that will fill your kitchen—and soul—with the feeling of Christmas.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups milk

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 2 tablespoons molasses

  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice

  • 7 oz. milk chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the solids are dissolved, and the chocolate chips are melted. Serve with a garnish of mini marshmallows.

Hot Chocolate Piña Colada

If you're over the cold and missing summer, this drink will take you back to the beach while warming you from the inside out.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can coconut milk

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk

  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice

  • 3/4 cup spiced rum

  • 4 cups water

Whisk the first four ingredients together and heat until thoroughly incorporated. Reduce heat to a simmer then add water and rum. Heat until you've reached your preferred temperature. Serve in glasses rimmed with honey and toasted coconut, if desired.

Red Wine Hot Chocolate

Red wine and chocolate are a natural pairing, and this warm mixture blends both flavors in a perfect symphony of comfort. The end result is quite thick and rich, so you may want to sip from small glasses rather than a larger mug.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups milk

  • 1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon or other red wine

  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Combine milk and chocolate chips until fully melted and smooth. Add the red wine and heat until desired temperature is reached.

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