Every season has its favorite traditions. We celebrate fall with crunchy apples and pumpkin spice lattes, summer with campfire s’mores and juicy berries, spring with fresh-picked flowers, and when winter approaches with the holiday season, we indulge in steamy, dreamy hot cocoa. A perfect treat for everyone—from little ones to grandparents—hot cocoa is like a right of passage on a chilly day. And while we’ve got nothing against the easy (but classic) packet powder mix with solid marshmallows, we’ve got some more modern versions to bring to your mug this year. From adding white chocolate, to adding some graham cracker to your cup, to cooking up a healthier (vegan) version, these our three of our favorite hot cocoa recipes to sip on this season.
Campfire Hot Chocolate
For anyone who is feeling nostalgic for summer!
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 graham cracker, crushed
Add milk to a saucepan and warm over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips in a microwave (for 30 seconds), or in a double boiler.
Dip rims of mugs into the melted chocolate, then dip them into the crushed graham cracker, and set aside.
Add remaining melted chocolate to the milk, and whisk well. Remove from heat when mixture begins to simmer.
Divide the chocolate mixture evenly between the two mugs and top each drink with mini marshmallows. Finally, using a kitchen torch, toast the marshmallows (optional).
Polar Bear Hot Chocolate
For the kids—and kids at heart!
Ingredients for Hot Chocolate Base
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 tsp vanilla
Add milk to a saucepan and warm over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, melt white chocolate chips in a microwave (for 30 seconds), or in a double boiler.
Add melted white chocolate and vanilla to the milk, and whisk well. Remove from heat when mixture begins to simmer. Divide the mixture evenly between the two mugs and garnish with the Polar Bear Marshmallows, recipe below.
Polar Bear Marshmallows
Makes one bear
1 jumbo marshmallow
1 standard marshmallow
2 mini marshmallows
2 mini chocolate chips
1 brown M&M (or chocolate chip)
Melted White Chocolate Chips
Melt white chocolate chips in a microwave (for 30 seconds), or in a double boiler. You’ll be using the melted chocolate as the glue.
Start with the jumbo marshmallow as the base. Place it on your workspace with the flat, circular side up.
Cut the standard marshmallow in half. This is the muzzle! Add a dab of melted chocolate on the cut standard marshmallow, and place it on the jumbo marshmallow. Dip a M&M (or standard chocolate chip) in the melted chocolate, and place it in the middle of the muzzle.
The mini chocolate chips are the eyes. Dip them in melted chocolate, and place them above the muzzle.
Lastly, the ears! Dip the mini marshmallows in the melted chocolate, and attached them to the top sides of the jumbo marshmallows. Rawr!
Vegan Coconut Hot Chocolate
For a healthier take on the classic!
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup dairy-free dark chocolate (we used 70%)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Coconut whipped cream, see recipe below
Add coconut milk to a saucepan and warm over medium-low heat. When it starts steaming, add dark chocolate and cinnamon. Whisk well, and remove from heat when mixture starts simmering
Pour mixture into a mug and top with a dollop of coconut whipped cream.
Garnish with toasted coconut, and a cinnamon stick (optional).
Coconut Whipped Cream
Makes approximately 3 cups
1 can of coconut cream
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tbs vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Using a whisk (or hand mixer), whisk vigorously until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.
Be sure to let your cocoa cool before enjoying and try not to spill—ooops!