Sure, the weather outside isn’t exactly frightful yet, but a slight chill in the air is all you really need to signal the start of hot-drink season. Coffees and teas may be in vogue year round, but during the winter season it is time for hot chocolate recipes to shine.
No offense to your powdered hot chocolate brand of choice, but there’s nothing like a fresh batch of homemade hot chocolate to warm your belly and tickle your taste buds. Powdered versus fresh is really no contest.
Homemade anything can be intimidating if you’re used to pre-packaged and instant versions, so here’s a list of surefire, delicious hot chocolate recipes you can whip up — and then snuggle up with — this winter:
Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate
Who said pumpkin spice is only for lattes? This recipe starts with an unexpected base: caramel coffee creamer. Add milk, chocolate, pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin puree to end up with this creamy, dreamy Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate. For an extra kick, add in the optional bourbon cream.
Hot Chocolate With Sea Salt Whipped Cream
There’s something about a pinch of salt that makes the sweet extra sweet. Think of how good your favorite ice cream tastes in a pretzel cone. The salty-sweet combo is what takes this recipe to the peak of decadence. Hot Chocolate With Sea Salt Whipped Cream sounds like it would take a gourmet chef an hour to produce, but it only takes 15 minutes — and the bulk of that time is spent watching your mixer spin.
Fancy-Ass Hot Chocolate
Ask yourself, why have regular-ass hot chocolate when you could have Fancy-Ass Hot Chocolate? This recipe combines some of hot chocolates best supporting players — vanilla, cinnamon, salt and chili powder — into one fancy indulgence.
Creamy Vegan Hot Chocolate
This recipe proves that you don’t need cream to be creamy. Creamy Vegan Hot Chocolate relies on almond milk instead of cow’s milk, with a little arrowroot to add a little extra oomph to the texture.
Antioxidant Superfood Hot Chocolate
Oh, hello, what’s that? Hot chocolate can be good for you? Darn tootin’ it can. Or at least this paleo recipe for Antioxidant Superfood Hot Chocolate, with its rich mix of immune boosting mix of spices and raw cacao, sure deserves a spot on the healthy treat list.
White Hot Chocolate
White chocolate may not be for everyone, but for those who really love it, this White Hot Chocolate will surely hit the spot. With less than a handful of ingredients and a maximum time investment of 15 minutes, it’s a perfect catch for white chocolate lovers or those who may be white chocolate curious.
Hot Chocolate With Homemade Marshmallows
The recipe for Hot Chocolate With Homemade Marshmallows gets bonus points for marshmallows, obviously, and also for its slightly-more-obscure milk substitute options. It calls for vegan chocolate as well as A2 Milk, a milk that only contains the A2 protein and not the A1 protein that causes a number of people digestive issues.
Peppermint Hot Chocolate
There is something Pinterest-chic about a big, beautiful mug of hot chocolate with a perfect stick of peppermint sticking jauntily out of the top. This Peppermint Hot Chocolate gives a simple and delicious double-dose of peppermint with a stick for garnish and crushed sticks for perfect flavoring.
Nutella Hot Chocolate
Nutella Hot Chocolate, period. What more needs to be said? What more could you possibly need to sell you on the absolutely delicious nature of this drink? Some booze? Okay, it’s got that, too!! Nutella. Hot. Chocolate. Outrageously delicious.
Spicy Aztec Hot Chocolate
This is the hot chocolate you want if you’re looking for that I-can-see-into-your-romantic-soul-Chocolat flair. Also, booze. Spicy Aztec Hot Chocolate calls for bittersweet chocolate, ancho chile, cinnamon and Mezcal. No Mezcal? The recipe recommends aged rum or tequila as substitutes.
And there you have it, a delectable round up of 10 of the best hot chocolate recipes to keep you cozy and warm this winter. Of course, once you’ve tried one you’ll have to try them all. And once you’ve tried them all, well, then you’ll probably feel inspired to start making your own hot chocolate creations. What will your twist be? Spice? Fruit? Salt? Caramel? Alcohol? Why not throw in a little of what tempts your taste buds and see where it takes you. Maybe you’ll hit on a winning combination that will be headlining the must-drink hot chocolate lists of 2017.