Best Hot Chocolate from Scratch

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I am the type of person who gets cabin fever very easily, but it is SO darned cold lately that all I want to do is stay inside, wrap myself up in my fuzzy throw blanket, and drink hot beverages. Since I’m not much of a coffee drinker, when I want something hot to drink I usually make tea or hot chocolate.

Hot chocolate is made in many different ways, beginning with either cocoa powder or actual chopped chocolate. Personally, I don’t like cocoa powder hot chocolates. They never seem to get silky smooth (oh, the clumps), and cocoa powder doesn’t have the cocoa butter content that a chocolate bar has, so it’s not as rich and creamy.

So, in my opinion, hot chocolate always starts with real chopped chocolate:

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The next thing I have played with is how to actually incorporate the chocolate into the milk.

A lot of recipes say to add the chopped chocolate directly into the hot milk, and stir until the chocolate melts. But again, I don’t think the hot chocolate ends up smooth enough, because it’s hard to chop the chocolate finely.

So here’s what I do.

I heat up my milk in a saucepan per usual (with a little sugar):

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I bring it to a scalding temperature (about 180 degrees F), and that’s when you’ll see little bubbles on the side of the pot:

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Be careful to not let the milk come to a boil, or your hot chocolate will be grainy.

When the milk is properly hot, I turn off the heat, and add melted chocolate straight into the milk (just microwave the chopped chocolate in 30 second intervals, stirring after each time, until melted):

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The melted chocolate whisks in beautifully and you end up with creamy, smooth hot chocolate:

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Serve with either marshmallows or whipped cream, and enjoy!

Here’s a video I made for this recipe, and get the full recipe & instructions below. Stay warm!

Best Homemade Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (just under 1 cup measured)
  • splash of vanilla extract, optional
  • whipped cream, optional
  • marshmallows, optional

Directions:

  1. Combine milk and sugar in a small saucepan and place on the stovetop over medium heat.
  2. While the milk is heating place the chopped chocolate in the microwave and heat for 30 seconds. Take the chocolate out and stir it. Return to microwave and heat for another thirty seconds, remove and stir. Continue to heat and stir the chocolate in 30 second intervals until just melted.
  3. When the milk reaches the scalding point (180 degrees F, with bubbles on the side), turn off the heat and add the melted chocolate, whisking to combine. Add the vanilla extract now, if desired. Top with whipped cream or marshmallows if using, and enjoy!

Recipe Notes:

Make sure you don’t overheat the milk. You want it to just have bubbles on the sides, about 180 degrees F. You do not want the milk to boil.

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