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Delicious Ideas for a Better Hot Chocolate: Ways to Change it Up
Simple Ways to Make Your Hot Chocolate Super Delicious
Nothing beats a great cup of hot chocolate on a cold day. After experimenting with some of the household ingredients for hot chocolate, I've came up with some stuff that has been (in my honest opinion) super scrumptious.
Here are some simple ways to make your hot chocolate better than adding your average packet of Swiss Miss hot chocolate to 8 ounces of water.
Difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa (and why you may want to use both!))
Many will use hot chocolate and hot cocoa interchangeably. However, we are talking about two different kinds of delicious drinks here.
Hot chocolate is made from ground chocolate, which contains cocoa-butter. Cocoa-butter contributes to chocolates smooth texture. Typically, when you buy hot chocolate, it contains extra ingredients besides its ground chocolate. These ingredients can include sugar, corn syrup or dried milk. These extra ingredients contribute to hot chocolate's taste.
Hot cocoa is made from cocoa powder, which contains no cocoa-butter. Hot cocoa is low in fat and may contain dried milk, sugar and natural flavorings. It's a chocolaty taste for less calories. The flavor of hot cocoa is more rich than it's counterpart and perhaps more a little more bitter as well.
Often, when I make hot chocolate, I want the perfect balance between creamy, flavor richness, bitterness and sweetness. Using both powders in one cup can make your chocolate drink outstanding!
What are some good brands of hot chocolate/hot cocoa?
Top 3 Brands of Hot Chocolate
Swiss Miss Milk Chocolate
Lake Champlain Traditional Hot Chocolate
Schokinag European Drinking Chocolate
Top 3 Brands of Hot Cocoa
God Diva Hot Cocoa
Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Premium Hot Cocoa
Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate & Cocoa
Swiss Miss, God Diva, and Ghirardelli are the most popular hot chocolate/cocoa drinks in my area (and for good reason). The textures are just right- we get that smooth, creamy and rich flavor.
However, when buying Swiss Miss I personally recommend buying a tube of it and not the packets. Why?
- Most people use more than 8 ounces per packet
- You want to add a little extra to make your hot chocolate super good
Time for some changes: What you can do to change-up your hot chocolate
1. Use both ground chocolate cocoa and hot chocolate made with dried milk
As I said before, using both a hot cocoa mix and hot chocolate mix will give your cup that extra oomph. I think for many of us, when we go for a hot chocolate, we want something sweet, chocolaty and rich.
In a 12oz cup add 2 packets worth of Swiss Miss hot chocolate mix and add 1 heaping spoonful of cocoa powder. By doing this, you're ensuring that you get a drink that taste pretty much like melted chocolate.
2. Experiment with different levels of milk
Using only milk to make hot chocolate may just be too creamy for some. I personally enjoy a chocolate drink that contains about half water and half milk.
Different levels of milk can really make the difference in a hot chocolate. Experiment for yourself and have a taste-testing session.
3. Learn how to froth milk
If you're one of those people that enjoys hot chocolate or hot cocoa made with about half milk or more, this may be worth doing. It takes a little effort, but in the end you will NOT regret it. This is a stellar secret to getting your hot chocolate more foamy.
Here's How to Make Milk Foam with just a small jar with a lid, a microwave and milk. It's very simple and I've tried it out myself. You make your milk foam first, then you add your chocolate powder. Try making the foam when you have a spoonful of sugar dissolved in the milk. This will make your foam even more delicious.
4. Make marshmallow foam
Learning how to make marshmallow foam is a great step to take in making your hot chocolates taste great. The link I provided shows a great and easy method to make some AMAZING marshmallow foam. The article also provides a nice hot chocolate recipe to go with. But I really recommend that marshmallow foam- just a dollop with some mixing, gives a nice, light, frothy, sweet foam. It's to die for.
5. Add store-bought marshmallows or whipped-cream and let it sit for awhile
Buy the mini Jiffy-Puff Marshmallows (they even have the dehydrated kind that comes in the Swiss Miss Milk Chocolate with Mini Marshmallows, if you'd like that!) and add about 1/8 cup of them to your hot chocolate or hot cocoa. If you stir this and let it sit for awhile, you'll have little marshmallows that are half-melted. This is awesome idea for kids hot chocolate. You may also choose to let whipped-cream sit awhile in your hot chocolate while it melts. This also gives a light foam.
You may want to use both..
Favorite ingredients to add
Are you looking for some ingredients to add to your hot chocolate? I live in a crazy windy and cold town- so I've racked up a list of the good stuff to add to hot chocolate. It really is my go-to comfort food.
- or other flavored syrups Hershey's Caramel Syrup
- Chocolate or mocha powder
- Ground Cinnamon
- Coarse Sea-Salt (combine this with the caramel syrup!!)
- Starbucks Dark Caffe Verona Coffee (experiment like you would the milk)
- 2 Shots of Espresso (for an incredible wake-me-up)
- Dollop of ice cream (Coffee ice cream is a good choice!)
- Fresh Ground Nutmeg
- Vanilla Extract
- Starbucks Vanilla Syrup
- Mini chocolate chips
- Crushed chocolate/chocolate shavings (Salted chocolate, anyone?)
- Fontana White Chocolate Mocha Sauce
- Ground Peppermint Candies
- Crushed Graham-crackers (melt a little marshmallow on top)
- Dollop of Fluffernutter
I recommend experimenting single ingredients at a time, as well as multiple ingredients at a time. It's fun to find a good balance. I do it all the time, by using several of these methods at once.
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