Hot chocolate is a wonderful treat for the whole family on winter weekends. While it's easier to use a mix, making homemade hot chocolate is especially delicious and something young kids love helping make. This recipe is for a basic hot chocolate along with some ideas for how to liven it up if you'd like. Enjoy a mug of hot chocolate alone or with your favorite cookie.
Homemade Hot Chocolate
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (use your favorite brand - Hershey's, Ghiradelli, Droste, etc.)
8 cups (1/2 gallon) of milk (whole milk makes rich, creamy hot chocolate, but other milks, including non-dairy options, can be substituted with good results)
1. Measure water, sugar, salt, and cocoa powder into medium saucepan. Whisk ingredients together over medium low heat and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally. Boil mixture for 2-3 minutes to make the chocolate syrup*.
2. Add 8 cups of milk to the saucepan and whisk together with the chocolate syrup. It's preferable not to boil after the milk has been added, but it's not the end of the world if you (like I have many times) accidentally boil the milk. You may just need to remove the skin that develops on the top before serving.
3. Serve and enjoy!
*The chocolate syrup can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator until needed. Just add syrup to hot milk to make a quick cup of hot chocolate when the mood strikes.
* Add 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract for a richer flavored hot chocolate
* Add 1-2 teaspoon (to taste) almond, peppermint, coffee, or orange extracts for a change
* Add 3 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 tsp, cloves or allspice, and a pinch of cayenne for a spicy hot cocoa
* mini marshmallows
* chocolate shavings
* whipped cream (topped with crushed peppermint, chocolate shavings, sprinkle of cinnamon, chopped candied ginger, etc.)
Holly Taylor is the Raleigh mom of one and part of the team behind Pullen Place Cafe & Catering at Raleigh's Pullen Park. Pullen Place features snacks and meals made in-house using seasonal and local ingredients. Click here to read more about Holly and Pullen Place.