10 Ways To Take Your Hot Chocolate To The Next Level

By Lynn Andriani

Adding a spoonful of something spicy, sweet or nutty to plain hot cocoa barely takes more time than tearing open a packet of powdered hot-cocoa mix and stirring it into warm milk. Yet, such a small effort transforms the drink into a way-more-special-than-usual morning treat, a spectacular midafternoon pick-me-up or an over-the-top way to end dinner.

Here, we offer a standard recipe for homemade hot chocolate that you can take in 10 different directions. It's easily doubled, tripled or even quadrupled.

Master Recipe

Serves 1


1 cup milk
1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix-in (see suggestions, next page)


Whisk together milk, cocoa powder, vanilla and sugar in a small pot on the stove.

Gently warm mixture but do not boil, and then whisk in the mix-in of your choice (see options, next page), stirring to thin out any clumps.

Pour into a mug and serve with whipped cream and the corresponding topping.

Hot Chocolate, 10 Ways

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate
Mix-in: 1 Tbsp. peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
Topping: Chopped, salted peanuts

Nutella Hot Chocolate
Mix-in: 2 Tbsp. Nutella (omit sugar from the master recipe)
Topping: Shaved milk chocolate

Raspberry Hot Chocolate
Mix-in: 1 Tbsp. raspberry liqueur, such as Chambord; or 1 Tbsp. seedless raspberry jam (if using jam, omit sugar)
Topping: Drizzle of raspberry jam thinned with a splash of boiling water

Ginger Hot Chocolate
Mix-in: 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
Topping: Julienned strips of candied ginger

Minty Hot Chocolate
Mix-in: 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
Topping: Shaved, dark chocolate; mint sprigs

Mexican Hot Chocolate
Mix-in: 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne pepper
Topping: Dried cinnamon sticks, as stirrers

Cognac Hot Chocolate
Mix-in: 2 Tbsp. Cognac; use 1 tsp. maple syrup in place of sugar
Topping: A pinch of maple flakes

Citrus Hot Chocolate
Mix-in: Peel from 1 orange
Topping: Finely grated orange zest

Coconut Hot Chocolate
Mix-in: Swap 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk for half of the milk
Topping: Toasted coconut flakes

Curried Hot Chocolate
Mix-in: 1/4 tsp. curry powder
Topping: Cardamom marshmallows (or plain marshmallows dusted with ground cardamom)

Keep in touch! Check out HuffPost OWN on Facebook and Twitter .



5 Upgrades To Create The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever