Cold weather and hot chocolate go hand-in-hand! And with cold-weather season upon us, there’s always a good excuse to drink a cup of hot cocoa. Not only does it warm you up even on the chilliest of days, it tastes amazing! There’s something about hot, chocolaty milk topped with a dollop of whipped cream that can’t be beat. While most of us probably stick with the basic instant-cocoa mix or a simple combination of cocoa powder, sugar, and milk, there are so many ways to upgrade homemade hot chocolate! From adding spices to spiking it with booze, hot cocoa can be enjoyed in a variety of ways! Skip the Starbucks line this year and check out this list of 10 ways to upgrade your made-from-scratch hot chocolate!
1. Dark Cocoa
You don’t have to go all out to upgrade a cup of homemade hot chocolate. This 3-ingredient recipe is both super simple and offers something a little different than your standard cup of milk chocolate cocoa! It’s also a healthier option since it uses dark cocoa powder! To make, start by heating 2 cups of milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Use almond milk for a richer hot chocolate. Add in 1/4 cup of unsweetened dark cocoa powder, stirring constantly. Next, add in 1/4 cup of granulated sugar. You can add more or less depending on how sweet you like it. Continue stirring until the cocoa powder and sugar have dissolved. Last, stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Once the hot chocolate is just hot, not boiling, remove from heat. Divide into two mugs, top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of dark cocoa powder, and enjoy!
This spicy hot cocoa recipe is just the thing you need to warm up on a chilly day! The spice from the red pepper and cloves paired with the sweetness of the honey make the perfect warm and comforting drink! To make, first begin heating 2 cups of milk in a saucepan on medium heat. Then, whisk in 1 tablespoon each of sugar and honey. Next, whisk in a pinch of ground ginger, a pinch of ground cloves, and a pinch of ground red pepper. Simmer 3 minutes, stirring once or twice. Last, stir in 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Once the cocoa powder is dissolved, remove from heat. Pour into two mugs and top with whipped cream. Garnish with a cinnamon stick!
3. Lavender White
This white chocolate hot cocoa recipe is nothing short of divine! Flavored with lavender, this creamy cocoa is both delicate and full of flavors. While it only calls for 3 ingredients, you’ll be happy it does since you’ll be wanting to make it all winter long! Start by simmering 2 cups of milk and 3/4 teaspoons lavender in a saucepan over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Next, strain the milk to remove the lavender buds. Return the milk to the saucepan and on medium-low heat stir in 1/4 cup of white chocolate chips until melted and blended. Remove from heat and pour into two mugs. Top with whipped cream or mini marshmallows and a sprinkle of lavender!
Cocoa isn’t just for kids and this recipe proves it! To make this Irish hot chocolate all you need is milk, cocoa powder, sugar, and Bailey’s Irish Cream. Start by heating 2 cups of milk in a saucepan for medium heat. Stir in 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder and 1/4 cup of sugar. Continue stirring with a whisk until dissolved. Next, add in 2 ounces of Bailey’s Irish Cream. Remove from heat and divide between two mugs. Top with whipped cream or mini marshmallows and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. Cheers!
5. White Pumpkin Spice
This time of year everyone loves pumpkin! Not only does this white pumpkin spice hot chocolate satisfy those pumpkin cravings, the combination of pumpkin, spices, and white chocolate in this cozy cocoa is sure to warm your soul. To make, pour 2 cups of milk into a saucepan over medium-low heat. Mix in 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger, a pinch of cloves, and a pinch of salt. Stir constantly until all ingredients are blended and the milk begins to simmer. Then, reduce the heat to low, add 1/3 cup white chocolate chips, and whisk until chocolate is melted and consistency is thick and glossy. Pour into two mugs and top with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon. Serve and enjoy!
Nothing says the holidays are upon us like candy-canes! That’s why this creamy peppermint hot chocolate is the perfect nod to everybody’s favorite holiday candy. To make, add 1 cup milk and 1 cup heavy cream into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder and 1/4 cup sugar, stirring constantly until dissolved. Remove from heat. Next, add 2 teaspoons peppermint extract and 2 finely crushed candy-canes. Continue stirring until melted and combined. Pour into two mugs and top with whipped cream. Garnish each mug with a whole candy-cane to make this hot chocolate Instagram-worthy!
7. Salted Caramel
It’s no secret that caramel and chocolate are a match made in heaven! This homemade hot cocoa recipe combines salted caramel and dark chocolate for a delicious and rich cup of hot chocolate. To make, begin heating 2 cups of milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder and 1/4 cup sugar. Next, stir in 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons caramel sauce and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Continue stirring until everything is dissolved and combined. Remove from heat and divide between two mugs. Top with whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel sauce, and a sprinkle of dark cocoa powder and enjoy this heart-warming hot cocoa!
8. Peanut Butter
There’s something about peanut butter and chocolate that just feels right! This recipe for homemade peanut butter hot cocoa hits all the right notes and will leave you feeling all sorts of good! To make this PB hot cocoa, first pour 1 cup milk and 1 cup heavy cream into a saucepan over medium heat. Mix in 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder and 1/4 cup sugar, stirring constantly. Next, whisk in 4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter. Continue stirring until cocoa powder, sugar, and peanut butter are blended. Remove from heat and pour into two mugs. Top with whipped cream, mini chocolate chips, and mini peanut butter chips. Enjoy!
9. Honey Bourbon
Warm up over the holidays with this homemade honey and bourbon-spiked hot chocolate! Whether you’re making it for a family get-together or just for you and BAE, this boozy cocoa is sure to be a hit! To make, begin heating 2 cups of milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1-2 tablespoons sugar, and 1 tablespoon honey. Continue stirring until cocoa powder and sugar are dissolved and everything is blended. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 ounces bourbon. Pour into two mugs and top with whipped cream. Drizzle with honey a serve. Cheers!
You know those chocolate oranges that hit the grocery store shelves around the holidays every year? Now imagine that chocolate orange but in hot cocoa form! That’s exactly what this homemade orange hot chocolate recipe makes! Not only is this hot cocoa delicious, it’s super easy to make and calls for very few ingredients. It also uses fresh orange rind instead of orange extract which makes it even tastier! To make, add 2 cups of milk and the rind of one whole orange to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the milk mixture to a simmer and then remove from heat. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes to bring out the orange flavor from the rind. Strain the milk to remove the orange rind and return the milk to the saucepan and back on the stove over medium heat. Whisk in 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder and 1/4 cup sugar until dissolved. Once heated through, remove from heat and divide between two mugs. Top with whipped cream and garnish with an orange wedge! Serve immediately!