There’ve been some pretty cold days here in Pennsylvania lately. And with cold days comes craving for hot drinks. We all enjoy Cranberry Cider Swizzle, and at bedtime I love a mug of honey-sweetened Cardamom Milk, and there’s always tea. But on certain days – especially snowy days when you come in from sledding and playing outside – nothing will do but hot chocolate!
Here’s our go-to hot chocolate. It is the best hot chocolate you will ever drink in your whole life. I don’t mean, it’s “pretty good for being healthier for you.” I mean, it will blow that packet of Swiss Miss out of the water and make you wonder why you ever put that stuff in your mouth. It is rich, chocolatey, and deeply satisfying. Every single person who has ever had it has said, “Wow! How do you make this!” and can hardly believe how good it is. So, if you’ve been used to making instant hot chocolate packets, try this instead. It’s cheaper, healthier, and waaayyyy tastier!
And – bonus of bonuses – not only is it absolutely delicious, it’s also made with a minimum of sweeteners and only natural, whole-food ingredients! So you can drink this (as long as you’re not highly inflammatory at the moment) and give this to your family and feel good about it!!
This is all there is to it. First, in a pot combine the cocoa, sweetener of choice, and a dash of salt. I like to use palm sugar, but you can use honey or maple syrup instead if you prefer. I also cut the sweetener in half and supplement with Stevia, but that’s optional.
Pour in 1/2 cup of milk, turn on the heat and whisk it all together until it forms a smooth paste.
Then pour in the rest of the milk and the cream. If you have molasses, add about a Tablespoon. It’s not essential, but it really adds to the flavor!
Stir and let it heat until bubbles just start to form on the outside edge of the pot, then turn off the heat. You want the milk to scald for the best flavor, but not boil.
After the heat is off, add the Stevia if you’re using it. (all extracts should be added after the heat is off). I prefer Trader Joe’s brand – it tastes better than any others I’ve tried.
And that’s it! At this point you get to add fun flavors, if you want. I almost always add some vanilla and a dash of red pepper. Cinnamon is good. So are extracts like orange or mint. Ginger and cardamom can be interesting. Really, you can just use your imagination here!
I guarantee everyone you serve this to will love this! Your kids will rejoice. Neighbors will praise you. You’ll get a reputation as an expert hot-chocolate maker.
And, there’s nothing to it! It’s really no harder than instant. Just some dry ingredients whisked together on the stove with some milk. That’s it.
So, this winter, as you’re shivering away in the cold, open up your pantry and whip together a pot of this. Your taste buds will thank you! And you’ll never, ever want to go back to a packet of instant again.
- ½ cup cocoa (I like Hershey's special dark)
- ½ cup palm sugar, honey, or maple syrup (if you want to lessen the sweetener, use ¼ cup and add about 15 drops liquid stevia extract, or to taste)
- dash of salt
- 5 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream (can omit and use all milk if preferred, but this makes it creamier)
- 1 Tbsp molasses
- Flavoring as desired: vanilla, orange or mint extract, dash of red pepper, cinnamon, ginger, etc.
- In a saucepan, combine the cocoa, palm sugar, salt, and ½ cup of the milk.
- Turn on the heat and whisk until a smooth paste is formed.
- Pour in the rest of the milk and cream and the molasses, and stir until bubbles start to form at the edge of the pot.
- Turn off the heat and whisk in the Stevia (if using) and other flavorings.
- Taste. If you want it sweeter, add more palm sugar, honey, or maple syrup until it's as you like it.