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Last updated: May 06, 2019

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4 Hot Chocolate Recipes to Help Survive Winter    

With temperatures slowly beginning to drop, now is the perfect time to add one (or several!) new hot chocolate recipes to your saved list. Below are four different options, each totally delicious when made as decribed yet simple enough to be further customized if you're feeling fancy... 

A pinch of espresso (yum!) or drop of peppermint extract can go a long way adding an unexpected finish. There's also the garnish. I looove whipped cream but if you're like me and because prefer hot chocolate that is less sweet a citrus rind, sprig of rosemary or mint leaf makes a wonderful substitution. The final product will not only taste great but look way more high end which is a bonus if you're entertaining. Each of these recipes call for milk but to make them vegan friendly, simply sub the dairy for almond or coconut milk. And don’t forget the most important rule of homemade hot chocolate- use only good quality chocolate!

1. The Classic

This is my go-to recipe when I’m craving hot chocolate. It’s creamy and not overly sweet.

Ready in 7 min. Makes 2-4 servings.


  • 1/3 cup good quality unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 3 1/2 cups milk (any kind)
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon and brown sugar for garnish (optional)


Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Simmer about 2 minutes while stirring constantly to avoid scorching. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until just barely simmering. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into mugs and finish with cinnamon and brown sugar.

2. White Hot Chocolate

Make this into an adult drink by adding peppermint Schnapps.

Ready in 10 min. Makes 2-4 servings.


  • 1 cup white chocolate chips (like Ghiradelli brand)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 cups half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • W hipped cream and mint leaf for garnish


In a saucepan over medium heat, combine white chocolate chips and heavy cream. Stir continuously until white chocolate chips have completely melted. Stir in the half-and-half, and vanilla extract. Stir occasionally until heated through. Pour into mugs and top with a dollop of whipped cream.

3. Nutella Hot Chocolate

If you ate Nutella smeared on bread like I did growing up, you'll probably wonder why you didn't know about this sooner. 

Ready in 5 min. Makes 2-4 servings


  • 4 tbsp. Nutella
  • 2 cups milk (any kind)


Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until steaming (not boiling), stirring occasionally. Add in the Nutella, and whisk until dissolved. That's it! Seriously. Serve immediately, by itself or with whipped cream.

4. Spicy Hot Chocolate

Chile spice is a common hot chocolate ingredient in Mexico and the Philippines. This recipe calls for Ancho chile powder which gives the drink just a mild heat and smokiness.

Ready in 20 min. Makes 2-4 servings


  • 4 cups milk (any kind)
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise pod 
  • 1/4 whole vanilla bean pod, scraped (or 2 tsp of extract)
  • 6 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate (Schardffenberger brand)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • Pinch kosher salt


Pour the milk, sugar, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean caviar and pod into a mid-sized saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until just barely simmering. Cover, remove from heat, and let steep for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile create a double boiler by setting a glass bowl over a saucepan filled with simmering water. Add the chocolate to the bowl and mix until melted.

Remove the cinnamon stick and pods from the steeped milk and place back on stove over medium-low heat. Pour the melted chocolate slowly into the milk, whisking constantly until fully incorporated and smooth. Add a pinch of salt and the chile powder. Divide between mugs. Serve with cinnamon stick and grated chocolate for garnish. Enjoy!