Warm Up the Winter: 5 New Hot Chocolate Recipes

Warm Up the Winter: 5 New Hot Chocolate Recipes

Cold is an inevitable part of winter in Iowa, but the cold doesn’t have to be all bad! Warm up these cold winter nights with some brand new variations on a tried and true winter staple … Hot Chocolate! Whether you like sweet or spicy we have you covered! Get cooking & try all these fantastic flavor combinations today.
Photo Courtesy of Steven Depolo via Flikr

Photo Courtesy of Steven Depolo via Flikr

#1 – Nutella Hot Chocolate

Photo Courtesy of John Ong via Flikr

Photo Courtesy of John Ong via Flikr

Anyone who knows me know that I love Nutella! I am constantly trying to come up with new reasons to buy it so discovering a hot chocolate recipe using my favorite ingredient was quite a thrill.  I found this great recipe on MarthaStewart.com & added a little of my own flair to it.
Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cups Milk
1/3 Cup Nutella
Pinch of Salt
Combine milk and Nutella in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking constantly till smooth, add a pinch of salt. Serves two.
I served mine with whipped cream and dark chocolate sprinkles – Delicious!

#2 – Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

By Simon A. Eugster (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Simon A. Eugster (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Pumpkin Spice is the flavor of the season from October through November each year.  Avoid the pricey coffee shop versions and make your own at home with some help from 100 Days of Real Food, I promise you won’t regret it!
Ingredients:
1/4 Tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Tsp Maple Syrup or Honey
1/2 Tsp of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3/4 Cup Warm Milk
Mix together the honey/maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice and cocoa till it’s combined.  Warm your milk to your desired drinking temperature and add to your syrup & spice mixture.  Stir until combined. Top off with some whipped cream & a dash of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon. Serves One.

#3 – Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Photo by Mark Dollner via Flickr

Photo by Mark Dollner via Flickr

After the season of Pumpkin Spice comes the season of the Peppermint Mocha, my guilty pleasure.  Mint and the holiday season just seem to go together.  We go back to MarthaStewart.com for this recipe which is my favorite because it uses crushed peppermint candy instead of peppermint oil or flavoring.  I always seem to have peppermints around the house and this is a great way to use them up!
Ingredients:
1/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
4 Cups of Milk
1/2 Cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1/4 Cup Crushed Peppermint Candy
Pinch of Salt
Place cocoa in a medium saucepan & gradually whisk in the milk until the cocoa is dissolved.  Add your chocolate chips & the crushed peppermint candy & heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the chocolate and peppermint have melted.  Bring to a boil & serve immediately with whipped cream & you can garnish with a peppermint stick for even more peppermint flavor. Serves four.

#4 – Aztec Hot Chocolate

chocolate-642965_1280Believe it or not spicy cayanne pepper & cocoa go together wonderfully.  The heat from the cayenne enhances the cocoa making it super chocolaty & extra warming.  Check out this fantastic recipe from A Beautiful Mess for my favorite sweet & spicy cocoa.
Ingredients:
6 Cups of Milk
10 Ounces of Chopped Dark Chocolate
1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
A Pinch or Two of Cayenne Pepper (to taste, I like mine spicy)
Combine milk & chocolate in a large saucepan & heat over low heat until the chocolate is melted stirring constantly. Once melted & warmed through add your cinnamon and cayenne, stir to combine & serve hot.  Garnish with marshmallows & you can even serve with a cinnamon stick for an extra spicy kick!

#5 – Slow Cooker Cocoa

Photo Courtesy of m01229 via Flickr

Photo Courtesy of m01229 via Flickr

This recipe from She Knows is perfect when you need a lot of hot chocolate, just combine all your ingredients and let the slow cooker do the work for you! This recipe will serve around 15 folks & cooks in about 2 hours.
Ingredients:
4 Ounces Chopped Unsweetened Chocolate
3/4 Cup Milk Chocolate Chips
1 (14 Ounce) Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
8 Cups Milk
1 Tbl Vanilla
Pinch of Salt
Spray your slow cooker sides & bottom with non-stick spray.  In the slow cooker, combine the unsweetened chocolate, milk chocolate chips, & sweetened condensed milk. Mix well & cook covered on high for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to help it all melt together.  Slowly whisk in the milk, stir in the vanilla, & add the pinch of salt.  Stir to combine & cook on high for 2 hours.  Stir right before serving.
This recipe is great for a large crew because you can make the cocoa and then leave the garnishing up to your guests.  Set our bowls of mini marshmallows, whipped cream, crushed peppermints, cinnamon or sprinkles and let people add their own flair.
When it comes to cocoa the sky is the limit! Try adding caramel or orange flavors or go crazy with white chocolate.  Here is a fantastic chart with even more flavor combinations for your experimenting pleasure.  Stay warm this winter & enjoy a delicious treat!
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