Best homemade hot chocolate is a rich and creamy hot chocolate recipe, prepared with real dark baking chocolate for more intense flavors. Your perfect drink to curl up with on the sofa during the cold weather months!
Hot chocolate is a serious matter if you ask me. I’ve always been crazy about good hot chocolate, and for years I’ve been obsessed with the one they serve at Angelina in Paris. I’m not talking about hot cocoa, made with cheap cocoa powder and loaded with unnecessary sugar, that tastes everything but hot chocolate. No, I’m talking about the real stuff: a thick, rich and creamy hot chocolate, very filling and with strong chocolate flavors.
A few years ago, I shared a chili hot chocolate recipe that still counts among my very favorite ones. And I’m back today with a more classic version, that is suitable for everyone, whether you’re an adept of chocolate with a little spicy kick or prefer some more gentle flavors such as vanilla. More than a simple beverage, best homemade hot chocolate is a delicious and aphrodisiac elixir!
Best Homemade Hot Chocolate
If like me you’re serious about hot chocolate, then you need to learn how to make homemade hot chocolate. With very minimum effort, it’s the best way to get a perfectly creamy texture without compromising on the chocolaty flavors (since you get to choose the chocolate yourself).
You get the idea: to make the best homemade hot chocolate, you need just a handful of real, high quality ingredients. This include some dark baking chocolate (see details below), milk, and heavy cream. Also note that you don’t need to add any sugar to this recipe that is just perfect as is.
What’s the difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa? Even though the terms are used interchangeably by many, the two hot beverages are not the same. Hot cocoa is typically made with cocoa powder, sugar and milk, whereas a hot chocolate is prepared with real dark baking chocolate.
The choice of chocolate
High quality ingredients are key to make a good hot chocolate, and chocolate comes first! To be honest with you, I’ve struggled finding a good baking dark chocolate ever since I moved abroad (Sweden, USA, Canada) and I often find myself bringing some high quality one for a reasonable price from France.
To make the best hot chocolate, I recommend you use baking chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa – typically a 70% cocoa or higher. Avoid unsweetened dark chocolate as it tends to be bitter, unless you are planning to sweeten your drink a little (which you don’t need if you go for 70% dark chocolate).
My favorite baking chocolate brands:
- Guittard – Available in the US.
- Valrhona – Available in the US.
- Callebaut – Available in the US.
- Nestlé Dessert Corsé – Mostly available in Europe.
- Lindt Dessert 70% Chocolate – Mostly available in Europe.
In order to create intense chocolate flavors, I combined dark baking chocolate at 70% cocoa with a Tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Valrhona), which also add a deep chocolate color to your drink.
How to make hot chocolate?
- Start with heating the milk in a saucepan, together with the vanilla (both the seeds and the entire bean). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to minimum and simmer for 10 minutes.
- In a separate saucepan, melt chopped baking chocolate with the heavy cream, stirring constantly to prevent chocolate from burning.
- Slowly pour the hot milk over the melted chocolate, one ladle at a time, stirring until fully incorporated before adding more milk. I find that pouring the milk in little addition is the best way to get a perfectly creamy and chocolaty beverage.
- Simmer for about 5 more minutes until mixture is hot, fragrant, and thickens.
Also, don’t forget to add a dash of love in every step of the process!
Flavor variations and topping ideas
Start with this basic recipe and explore around to make some equally delicious variations, playing with spices and ingredients. Here are a few suggestions you may consider:
- Instead of using a vanilla bean, you can use a splash of vanilla extract.
- You can infuse a stick of cinnamon or ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon.
- Turn it into an Aztec Hot Chocolate by infusing a ½ seeded chili pepper and 1 stick of cinnamon into the hot chocolate, and let simmer for 5-10 minutes before taking them out. Alternatively, spice the drink up with ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon and a hint of chili pepper.
- Replace dark chocolate with white chocolate to make a lovely winter variation!
I personally like my hot chocolate as is, but there are plenty of options to top it off! Topping ideas include whipped cream, a few mini marshmallows, as well as an additional drizzle of chocolate sauce or caramel sauce, and for a Christmassy version some crushed peppermint.
What to serve with your hot chocolate?
- Swedish Cinnamon Rolls “Kanelbullar”
- Chocolate-Dipped Almond Florentines
- Streusel Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake
- Orange Flower Water Madeleines
- French Almond Tuiles
- Orange Pound Cake
For dark chocolate lovers:
Lastly, if you make this Best Homemade Hot Chocolate, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating, letting me know how you liked it. And of course, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Thank you and enjoy!Print
Best homemade hot chocolate is a rich and creamy hot chocolate recipe, prepared with real dark baking chocolate for more intense flavors.
- ½ vanilla pod
- 2 cups (500 ml) milk
- 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder, unsweetened
- 3 ounces (85g) 70% dark chocolate*, chopped
- ¾ cup (180 ml) heavy cream
- 1 stick cinnamon (optional)**
- ½ small chili pepper, seeded (optional)**
- Pour the milk into a medium saucepan. Make a slit through the vanilla pod, scrape the seeds and add to the saucepan together with the vanilla pod. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
- In a separate saucepan placed on low heat, melt the chocolate together with the cream, stirring constantly to prevent chocolate from burning.
- Add unsweetened cocoa powder, and slowly pour in the hot milk over the chocolate mixture, a ladle at a time, stirring as you go to make sure it’s fully incorporated before adding more milk. This process enables the hot chocolate to be thick, creamy and perfectly chocolaty.
- If using, infuse the cinnamon stick and ½ chili pepper. Then, simmer for about 5 minutes on medium high heat until the mixture thickens, stirring constantly. When hot and fragrant, take out the chili, cinnamon stick and vanilla pod, and serve immediately in 2 bowls or cups.
* For best results, it’s important you use high quality baking dark chocolate. I recommend baking chocolate with a cocoa percentage of 70% or higher.
** You can replace the cinnamon stick with ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, the chili pepper with a pinch of ground chili pepper, or you can omit the spices altogether.
Keywords: Best Homemade Hot Chocolate