6 at home hot chocolate recipes for autumn
ah, it’s a tough life, but i guess someone has to do it. we put 6 hot chocolate recipes to the test to try and learn what makes the ultimate hot chocolate, or how to make hot chocolate special. most of these recipes use cow's milk, but barista style milk alternatives should work well as a substitute in all of these recipes. i’d suggest a milk that is particularly good for frothing to give it that extra creaminess.
1. The Simple Traditionist:
according to jamie oliver, the key to a good hot chocolate is less about the chocolate (he recommends ‘really good’ hot chocolate power, but it is in adding the marshmallows first (controversial?!), pouring it into a sealed container and then giving it a really good shake to make it all frothy and foamy. the frothed milk makes everything taste smoother and richer. though in our book, the mix of ready made chocolate power and marshmallow can err on the side of sweet. rather than taking out the marshmallows, because they add a certain pleasant stickiness to the drink, we tried this with coco powder making it easier to adjust the sweetness to taste. this type of hot chocolate drink would be how we made them as a kids for sure, and has a lot of nostalgia connected to it, but it is far from the only way to make the drink.
2. Going Solid:
while the powdered chocolate may have been something to have graced all our cupboards as kids, many have turned to solid chocolate to make their chocolate drinks. here the sweetness comes more from the chocolate than sugar. 70-90% cacao chocolate is suggested for these recipes, along with some rich brown sugar. the key lies in giving it at least three minutes of stirring on a low heat to help thicken it. in this particular recipe they suggest letting it cool down and then reheating gently again, to make the mixture even thicker and creamier. this worked a treat for us, a well worthwhile extra step. the proper chocolate company do some very tasty hot chocolate drink mixes, from drinking chocolate shavings, to thick creamy desert style drinks and traditional mexican hot chocolates, laced with cinnamon - both found in their winter warmer duo. mind you, we have been known to simply break up our favourite chocolate bar and melted that in instead. yum.
3: That's a Date:
if you’re looking to cut out sugar, dates are a great alternative. it might seen a strange addition, but we think it definitely has its merits. made right this thick style hot chocolate is a dream. blend some dates together with a rich cocoa to get a good paste, them add milk and, if its your thing, a stick of cinnamon. plant-y goodness. pineut make some little jars of this date-y hot chocolate - plus they look just like little decorations which we utterly adore.
4: The Purist:
milk free hot chocolate - water instead of milk? really?
well actually, yes. this can be just as rich and sometimes richer than its milky counterparts. the focus in these styles of drinks is on really good, semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate. lucky for us all of the hot chocolate mixes we have in store are made with this, so you are definitely off to a good start!
the key to these recipes are making sure you whisk vigorously once the chocolate has melted, to make sure it emulsifies properly.
5. All whipped up:
if you are a frequenter of tiktok you may already be familiar with this one. instead of mixing the chocolate mix with a warmed milk base, here you whip your chocolate up into a ganache with double cream and place it on top of your warmed milk. the result is a very attractive looking drink that is rich and creamy and easy to adjust to taste. we made the ultimate decadent version here combining proper chocolate company's the soupe au chocolate with a chocolate cream top - not for the faint hearted!
This one is definitely for only the adults. The boozy hot chocolate mixes real chocolate and a splash of whiskey or brandy together creating a decadent and rich drink. Add it as a base to your favourite recipe and enjoy. Or if you are one who loves the flavour but are less into the alcohol, why not try using the boatyard double gin infused chocolate or teeling whiskey barrel aged chocolate as your base?
we definitely found ourselves veering towards the drinks that focused on real, proper chocolate. and regardless of whether it was with milk or water, in our books, it is a must to have a large dollop of whipped cream (or cream alternative) on top.