Cafe-style hot chocolate without the price tag

As the mercury plummets to the expected lows that June brings in this part of the world (its a freezing 19 degrees here! Ha ha!) I thought it was time to share my hot chocolate obsession with you. My family are all chocoholics, and enjoy the baking of chocolatey goodness. Recently, one of those chocolate cafe’s opened in our local shopping centre, which was a very dangerous thing to happen. I have to pass it to go to the supermarket! I have to exercise restraint every week. These chocolate shops, while very nice, are also quite pricey. With three kids plus me, we’re paying over 20 bucks just to get a hot chocolate each! So, here are my tips for decadent cafe-style hot chocolate at home.

Decadent Hot Chocolate

This is soooo good and is just as great as the chocolate shop for a fraction of the cost – plus you can have as many marshmallows as you want!

Serves 3

3 cups milk
150g good quality milk or dark chocolate
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
6 tsp sugar (less if sweetness isn’t your thing – test and see)

Heat milk in saucepan until warm but not boiling. When steamy, add chopped chocolate to milk and whisk together until melted and combined. Add vanilla and sugar, and whisk to dissolve.

If you have a coffee machine you can use the milk frother to get it nice and creamy. I don’t have one, so after making the hot choc I whizz it in the blender for 20 seconds or so which gives that lovely frothy cafe-style texture.

Serve with marshmallows and, for an extra special treat, chocolate spoons!

hot chocolate with marshmallows

I picked up this chocolate spoon mold ages ago from woolies, it might have come with a magazine, I can’t remember. Anyway, my little helper and I melted some chocolate in the microwave, spooned it into the mold and left it to set in the fridge for an hour or so. Yum!

chocolate spoon mold IMG_3702

Variations

For those who like hot chocolate with a twist, or a kick, you can experiment with the following additions:

Chilli hot chocolate  – while heating the milk, add a chopped chilli and a cinnamon stick. Let it sit for 10 minutes for the flavour to infuse, strain, then add the chocolate and serve.

chilli and chocolate

Tiny chillis from my garden – these babies are hot!!!

Mint hot chocolate – You can try adding some fresh mint leaves to the milk and let infuse. I have tried this with making ice cream. While nice, I found it had that savoury mint flavour that didn’t quite work for me. My husband loved it though. Adding Peppermint essence may work better – but I haven’t tried this yet.

Spiced hot chocolate – Add cinnamon and 1/2 tsp mixed spice or allspice to the milk, then add the chocolate.

Baileys Hot chocolate – now this one is a winner for me. I don’t normally go for flavours in my chocolate, I like it pure and simple, but Baileys Irish Cream is awesome. Add to the finished cup of hot choc and sit back and enjoy. You could also try adding amaretto. Mmm!

Coconut hot chocolate – If you are dairy free, or maybe following a paleo style diet, using coconut milk is a great substitute in hot chocolate. Heat up 1/4 cup of coconut milk and add a tsp dutch processed cocoa (or chocolate) and whisk together. Add half a cup of water and sweeten with sugar, or maple syrup. You can add more coconut milk and less water if you want it creamier. I have had this several times and it is delicious.

Instant hot chocolate 

For a quicker alternative, I use ‘Abundant Earth organic drinking chocolate’. I switched to this version from the less expensive brands due to issues with my son reacting to additives and colours in foods. I also make milkshakes for the kids from this and they are so nice. Better than any cafe milkshake with all those artificial flavours and colours. Adding vanilla ice cream gives it that decadent twist.

hot chocolate with marshmallows and chocolate spoon

I add 1 heaped teaspoon per cup of milk, whizz in the blender, then heat in the microwave until warmed through. This makes the most creamy frothy hot chocolate ever.

Whats your favourite Hot chocolate recipe? Do you make your own instant mix?

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