Since the days of the Aztecs, cocoa beans have been used to make a deliciously rich drink. Surprisingly, the Aztecs also used the cocoa beans as currency. Passed to the Spanish, English, and eventually the rest of the world, cocoa is one of the most relished hot liquids of the winter season. Whether it’s a family celebration or a quiet night by the fire, hot chocolate just makes it better. Over time, so many variations of this beloved favorite have been created. Some like it sweet, some like it spicy. Marshmallows and vanilla or peppers and cinnamon, each unique recipe tantalizes the senses and leaves us wanting more. If you love hot chocolate, consider trying a new twist on an old favorite. Here are some recipes to get your taste buds tempted.
Homestyle Hot Cocoa
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch salt
1/3 cup boiling water
3 cups milk
1 cup half-and-half, divided
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 large marshmallows (optional)
Whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt in a saucepan; stir in boiling water. Whisk until sugar is dissolved.
Bring cocoa mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes; stir milk and 1/2 cup half-and-half into water mixture. Cook and stir just until hot, about 2 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in remaining half-and-half and vanilla extract.
Divide cocoa into mugs, top with marshmallows, and serve
Hot Peanut Buttercup
1 (1 ounce) envelope instant hot chocolate mix 2 teaspoons creamy peanut butter
In a mug, prepare chocolate mix as directed on package. Stir in 1 or 2 teaspoons peanut butter.
Candy Cane Cocoa
4 cups milk
4 peppermint candy canes, crushed
1 cup whipped cream
4 small peppermint candy canes
3 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
In a saucepan, heat milk until hot, but not boiling. Whisk in the chocolate and the crushed peppermint candies until melted and smooth. Pour hot cocoa into four mugs, and garnish with whipped cream. Serve each with a candy cane stirring stick
Mexican Hot Cocoa
3 tablespoons instant hot chocolate mix
1 pinch chili powder
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a large mug, mix the hot chocolate mix, chocolate syrup, cinnamon, and chili powder. Pour in the milk. Add the boiling water and stir
Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup whipped cream
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 pinch ground cinnamon (optional)
1 pinch ground nutmeg (optional)
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin puree
Whisk milk, cream, chocolate chips, and cocoa powder together in a saucepan over medium heat until chocolate chips are melted and hot chocolate is smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice until fully incorporated.
Pour hot chocolate into 2 mugs. Top with whipped cream; sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg over
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