Fancy Hot Chocolates To Warm You Up This Winter

While the holiday season has come and gone, we’re still left with a couple months of chilly weather. As any culinary academy student will tell you, the best way to keep warm is with a nice, hot beverage! While there’s no denying that a simple cup of hot cocoa can hit the spot, there are plenty of ways to dress up a hot chocolate, kicking that flavor up a notch. Here are a few methods to experiment with:

Different chocolate
The classic way to prepare hot chocolate, older than the practice of combining cocoa powder with milk, is to melt chocolate on the stove and slowly pour it into boiling milk. While most hot chocolate recipes call for bittersweet chocolate, that’s not your only option. Try milk, dark or white chocolates, or a mixture of more than one. If you have a favorite mocha chocolate bar or other flavored variety, don’t hesitate to use some of that too.

There are plenty of ways to enhance your hot chocolate.

Herbs and spices
Sure, with a good enough chocolate, you might not think your hot chocolate needs any more flavor. However, there are so many different herbs and spices that’ll enhance your beverage that it would be a shame not to try any of them. You can never go wrong with a cinnamon stick or even some tea leaves. If you want an even more exotic type of hot chocolate, consider adding some lavender or cardamom to the mix, or cayenne and chili pepper for some heat. Add these flavors to your hot chocolate while it’s still cooking on the stove to allow it to really absorb the flavor.

We all love chocolate-covered fruit, so why not incorporate fruit into your hot chocolate? This can be done in the form of toasted coconut or citrus zest added to the chocolate while it’s on the stove or into your cup as an afterthought, or you can infuse the flavor of fruits into the milk. Do this by adding fruit preserves, like strawberry, raspberry or muddled cherry, to the milk while it’s on the stove. You can even mash a banana for this purpose. Boiling the milk with the fruit is a way to achieve a deeper flavor. If you’re going to add citrus, though, be sure to include just the zest and not the juice, because citrus juice mixed with dairy can cause the milk to curdle.

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