As you go move forward on your recovery journey this holiday season, parties and get together with family and friends abound where alcohol may be present. You may have reached the stage where you can handle being around the substance, but you want to have a festive and fun beverage too. What could be better than a delicious hot chocolate? Rather than the run-of-the mill powder mix, here are some great uncommonly rich and delicious hot chocolate recipes that are simple, super and supremely festive. First things first: the best and creamiest hot chocolate is made with real chocolate and real milk. For a simple but creamy and chocolaty hot chocolate, use solid chocolate instead of cocoa powder. It takes about two ounces of chocolate for every cup of milk. Semisweet, bittersweet, or something in between (in terms of percent of cacao content) will all work. Dark chocolate is less sugary with an intense chocolate flavor, but the following recipes all use some form of sugar to add that back in if you like. If you’re making a batch, start out with two four-ounce bars of something like Ghirardelli All Natural Chocolate Baking Bar (60 percent Cacao) Bittersweet Chocolate. Use whole milk, and for a little special taste try brown sugar, honey or maple syrup instead of regular granulated sugar. In any case, you won’t need much. Heat up the milk and sugar first, and then add the chocolate. Melt the chocolate into the milk once it’s hot and just starts to bubble (keep whisking) so that you guard against burning the chocolate. The following recipe uses cornstarch to make the hot chocolate extra silky-smooth (optional). You just set aside a little of the cold milk while the rest is heating (about ½ cup) and whisk in the cornstarch (2 to 3 tsp. for 1 quart of milk) until it’s smooth. Add this mixture to the pot full of hot milk after you add the chocolate and keep whisking to make it smooth. Add a pinch of salt to complete the recipe and add your favorite ground spice if you like, such as cinnamon or nutmeg. Real Creamy Hot Chocolate INGREDIENTS 8 oz. (two 4-oz. bars) dark chocolate 4 cups whole milk 1 Tbsp. brown sugar (or other sweetener) + more if you want Pinch salt PREPARATION
- Chop chocolate into small pieces. The smaller they are, the faster and more smoothly they will melt.
- Optional: If using cornstarch, whisk with ½ cup milk and set aside.
- Heat milk, sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally.
- When milk begins to bubble around the edges, stir in chocolate and whisk until smooth.
- Add cornstarch mixture and any other add-ins. Whisk until smooth and steaming hot.
- Pour into cups and top with marshmallows.
Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate This recipe is sure to make everyone want what you’ve got at any family gathering, so be sure to bring enough for others or be prepared to make more. Make sure the white chocolate is high quality such as Ghirardelli white chocolate chips. This recipe serves two, but just double it, triple it or go further to accommodate everyone. INGREDIENTS 1 cup of heavy cream 2 cups of milk 1 cup of white chocolate chips 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin spice Whipped cream and additional pumpkin spice to sprinkle on top. DIRECTIONS
- Heat cream and milk in a pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until hot but not boiling.
- In a medium sized bowl, pour heated cream and milk over white chocolate chips. Stir until chips are melted.
- Add vanilla extract and pumpkin spice.
- Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin spice.
Decadent Hot Chocolate Mix This is a great recipe to make and take for the whole group. The recipe below will make enough mix for about 9 cups and takes about 10 minutes to prepare. 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 tablespoon cornstarch 3 ounces semi- or bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped 1/2 cup cocoa powder 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt or 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt MIX DIRECTIONS Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until powdery. If you don’t have a food processor, just chop or grate the chocolate until it is very fine so that you can stir it into the other ingredients. Per Cup Directions Heat one cup of milk in a saucepan over medium heat until steamy. Add three tablespoons hot cocoa mix. Whisk over heat for another minute or two, until it begins to simmer and mix is completely dissolved. Pour into mug, and top with mini-marshmallows.