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Hot Chocolate for real

Homemade hot chocolate is a dreamy winter treat; especially on a cold day. Make it with real chocolate, whole milk, and vanilla, and top it with a dollop of whipped cream.

Homemade hot chocolate is one of those things that spoils you forever. Once you make it at home you just can’t go back to those ready-go packets of hot cocoa anymore. It’s like comparing homemade truffles to a Hershey’s bar from last year’s Halloween. It’s just not even a contest. Real homemade hot chocolate is thick, rich, and the real essence of what chocolate in a glass on a cold day should be.


  • 4 cups whole milk (or another nondairy milk)

  • 8 ounces dark, semi-sweet, or bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao, preferably)

  • 3 teaspoons powdered sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Chop the chocolate: Finely chop the chocolate into small pieces. The pieces have to be able to dissolve easily in the liquid.

  2. Warm the milk: Place the milk into a small, thick-bottomed pot on low heat and bring to a low simmer. Whisk once in a while to ensure that the milk doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.

  3. If you plan to steep herbs or spices, add the herbs or spices to the milk, bring to a simmer then take off heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid then place back into the pot and return to a simmer.

  4. 3. Add the chocolate: Add the vanilla, powdered sugar, salt, and chocolate and whisk vigorously until the chocolate has melted.

  5. 4. Melt the chocolate: Heat for another 4 minutes, constantly stirring, until the chocolate is completely melted.

Serve: Divide between mugs and add a splash of liquor if desired. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.