During the brunt of winter, you shouldn’t be doing anything other than wrapping yourself in a blanket like a snug burrito and slurping on some hot chocolate
In addition to fires and fluffy socks, one of the things we look forward to most when winter comes around is hot chocolate! Hot chocolate is one of the ultimate sources of comfort in grey, miserable weather. Looking to level up your instant hot chocolate game or want to learn how to make the real deal from scratch? We’re here to help – this is your ultimate guide to becoming a hot chocolate connoisseur.
Instant, but better
Sometimes instant hot chocolate can be a little uninspiring. Whether it’s too sweet or not chocolatey enough, consider the following tips to help take your hot chocolate to the next level, transforming it into a satisfying treat.
The Milky Way
Ditch the boiling water and use warm milk instead, as it will give you a richer and creamier drink. Add in a splash of cream for extra decadence. For a float,
add in a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
When hot chocolate just doesn’t satisfy your chocolate cravings, drop a few blocks of chocolate into your drink and stir until melted. For more intense chocolate bitterness, mix a little cocoa powder in hot water, then stir through your drink – this will temper down any sweetness.
An easy way to enhance your cuppa is to add a pinch of spice. Think ground cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice. If you’re feeling adventurous, make Mexican hot chocolate by adding in a hint of chilli powder!
Chocolate and orange are a match made in heaven – there’s a reason why it’s a combo favoured by many! Mix some fresh orange zest into your hot chocolate for fruity, floral notes that will leave your taste buds tingling.
A marriage between hot chocolate and s’mores is meant to be. Top your mug with toasted mini marshmallows and chocolate shavings, and enjoy with a cookie for dipping. For a heavenly hazelnut twist, add a spoonful of choc-hazelnut spread to your hot chocolate. Go the extra mile and dip the rim of your mug in chocolate spread and chopped hazelnuts before filling.
To get the best of both worlds, add a teaspoon of instant coffee or a shot of espresso to your hot chocolate.
A splash of liqueur in the old mug makes a delightful late-night treat for the grown-ups. Amarula, Cointreau, Amaretto… even mint-flavoured liqueurs – experiment with your favourites!
For a sweet and salty kick, top your hot choc with some whipped cream, a generous drizzle of caramel and a pinch of flaky salt. Salt in itself enhances the flavour of chocolate while the caramel is a delightful added bonus.
The cocoa powder method
This method is like making your own instant hot-chocolate powder mix. The cream makes the drink more luxurious, but feel free to swap if out for more milk. For a vegan drink, use non-dairy milk.
Full cream milk 1 cup
Cream 2 tbsp
Vanilla essence ½ tsp
Brown sugar 1 ½ tbsp
Cocoa powder, sifted 2 tbsp
1. Heat together all the ingredients in a pot over medium heat. Whisk until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is heated through.
2. Strain through a sieve if there are any cocoa clumps. Enjoy your hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
The chocolate method
A hellishly decadent version made with milk and dark chocolate, this hot chocolate recipe is pure luxury! Make it extra thick if you’d like by adding some cornflour. This recipe is very versatile: Play around with different types of chocolate, the amount of sugar or replace some of the milk with cream for a velvety finish. White hot chocolate with a pinch of cinnamon is a real treat, too!
Dark chocolate, finely chopped 100 g
Brown sugar 2 tbsp
Cocoa, sifted 1 tbsp
Full-cream milk 1 ½ cups
Cornflour 2 tsp
1. Place the chocolate, sugar and cocoa with a splash of the milk in a small pot. Whisk over medium heat until melted and smooth. If you’re using cornflour, mix it with about a tablespoon of milk (eyeball it).
2. Once the chocolate has melted, add the remaining milk gradually to the pot while whisking constantly. Cook until the mixture is hot, then
add in the cornflour slurry, whisking until thickened. Enjoy!
Words by Kirsty Buchanan
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