As the colder months set in, staying warm at home with a delicious cup of hot chocolate is the perfect way to pass the day. This time, ditch the basic hot water and cocoa powder recipe for something more inventive. Reawaken your love of this sweet, comforting drink by adding a twist of new flavor. Just keep these ideas from MarthaStewart.com and AncientHarvest.com in mind the next time you make a cup of hot cocoa.
Tired of using hot water and powdered hot chocolate packets year after year? Skip the H20 and warm some milk for the chocolate drink. The addition of dairy will create a richer, creamier drink to savor.
To enjoy the creaminess of whole milk but in the form of a less-fatty option, try one of the many alternative types of milk at the grocery. Almond, soy, cashew and coconut milks each have their own unique tastes but are thicker and healthier than regular milk.
Again, pitch the old habit of the same-old powered chocolate packets and try something new. Stir in real chocolate in the form of chocolate chips, melting chocolate or chocolate-flavored milk. It doesn’t have to be milk chocolate either; dark and white chocolates give their own flavors.
Hot chocolate isn’t just a drink for children; give your warm winter drink an adult spin with these 21-and-over additions. A widely-favored pairing is Irish Crème, a delicious blend of Irish whiskey and crème liquor. Other flavored liquors, rums and bourbons can easily be stirred into a warm cup of hot cocoa. Experiment with different liquids—such as crème de menthe or butterscotch schnapps—until you find the perfect combination.
Add some zest to hot chocolate by contrasting the sweetness of the chocolate with a spice. A common addition is cinnamon, either as a stick or powder, but other additions that give a drink some “heat” include cardamom, ginger, nutmeg and cayenne pepper.
Turn hot chocolate into a real dessert with any of these sweet, sugary additives. Stir in some caramel sauce, marshmallow fluff, maple syrup, hazelnut spread, vanilla extract or peanut butter. Each of these is thick and potent enough to blend with a chocolate-y drink. A candy cane hung on the side of a cup is both festive and minty.
If none of these ideas sound exotic enough, there are more unusual combinations to try. Tea makes a great drink by itself, but when combined with hot chocolate, it can bring a new dimension of flavor. Black teas like chai, mint and vanilla won’t be overpowered by chocolate and, if brewed strongly enough, will blend delicately.
Adding fresh raspberries brings tartness, while a pinch of sea salt counteracts the overwhelming sweetness of the chocolate drink. If you’d prefer a soothing combination, a teaspoon of lavender buds will tantalize your taste buds and nose.
Top it off
Don’t forget to top off the drink with some whipped cream, marshmallows and sprinkles—the staples of hot chocolate drinks everywhere.
Hot chocolate isn’t just for children; adults of any age can enjoy this traditional winter drink in new ways with some experimenting. Find a new favorite hot chocolate flavor this winter.
This article is presented by Perkins Motors in Colorado Springs, Colorado.