How To Make Hot Chocolate

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Wondering how to make hot chocolate from scratch?

The winter months are upon us, it’s chilly, the winds are blowing and the fireplaces are calling our names. This inevitably makes me want hot chocolate. Something I nearly cried over when I thought I had to give it up for the clean eating lifestyle.

But then, I got creative. I’ll be darned if I’m going to give up to much of the foods I love. I don’t mind avoiding a few things, but you have to enjoy the life you live, and often, that includes food.

A brandy warmer sits filled with hot chocolate and three square marshmallows.

I truly believe we were meant to find pure and unadulterated joy in the foods we eat. As human beings, this is our birth right. But the foods we’ve come to define as “good”, are not always good for us. This is a lesson I’ve really been struggling with. So when I can alter a not-so-healthy recipe to one that is a bit more nutritionally sound, I jump all over it! While this is admittedly a once-in-a-while thing, it’s nice to know I have a healthier treat when I want one.

COCOA POWDER VS. REAL CHOCOLATE

While this recipe uses unsweetened cocoa powder, here are some tips for using real chocolate.

Cocoa Powder

Cocoa powder is great for it’s ease of use. You don’t have to take extra steps like you do with regular chocolate. It provides a thinner hot chocolate that most kids are used to. It’s more like the consistency of a hot chocolate mix packet that you just add water to.

Real Chocolate

Using real chocolate will give you a creamier consistency. Closer to Drinking Chocolate that a package mix. It won’t be as thick as Drinking Chocolate, but it will definitely be creamier and richer. That being said, it does require some extra steps as you’ll want to first chop your chocolate and then melt it in the microwave in 30 second intervals before adding it to your heated milk and sweetener which you’ll want to warm together in a pot on the stove.

Adding Cayenne

Cayenne is definitely optional in hot chocolate. But I find that it adds a wonderful kick. The Aztecs used to drink their chocolate with cayenne. Of course, they didn’t use sweetener like we do. They had a completely different experience of chocolate than we do. But for adults, it adds just a little something extra than many of you might enjoy.

MORE HOT HOLIDAY DRINK RECIPES:

Enjoy

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HOW TO MAKE HOT CHOCOLATE

How To Make Hot Chocolate

You can choose to use unsweetened cocoa powder (like the recipe) or follow my tips for using real chocolate!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert, Drinks
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 309kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry

Ingredients

  • 4 cups milk (any type. Unsweetened if non-dairy)
  • 1/2 cup honey (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cayenne (optional)
  • 3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

Instructions

Using Cocoa Powder

  • Combine all ingredients in a pot and warm over medium to medium high heat. Stir constantly with a whisk.
  • Pour into cups and serve.

Using Real Chocolate

  • If you prefer a richer hot chocolate, chop up about 1 cup of unsweetened baking chocolate.
  • Melt in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until it's fully melted.
  • During these intervals, combine all the other ingredients in a sauce pot and warm. Do NOT let the milk boil or scald. You want it hot, but not burnt.
  • When the chocolate is fully melted, scrape it out of the bowl into the hot milk, turn off the heat under the pot and whisk quickly to combine.
  • Adjust sweetness to taste.
  • Pour into cups and serve.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible. Also be aware that if you are using real chocolate, the nutrition data will change.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 109mg | Potassium: 523mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 460IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 317mg | Iron: 2mg

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34 Comments

  1. You are sooo right! The hot choc looks amazing.

    Take good care,
    Keri

  2. Some of your posts sound awesome, I just may try a few. Say, No Sandwiches? I’m crushed!

    Keri

  3. the hot chocolate looks so good. I love the photo and the tipped-over glass. Beautiful.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Thanks! Let me know how you like the hot chocolate!

      Take care,
      Tiffany

  4. omg i love your site and have for a while now..i love this recipe and the marshmallows…THANK YOU for making clean eating enjoyable and satisfying!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Karen – You’re very welcome! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Oh my!!! I just tried this for the first time, it was outstanding!!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Meghann – Wonderful! I love a good cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter evening. Especially when there’s a fireplace involved!

  6. Marisa Kleinschmidt says:

    I tried this for the first time today when I found myself itching towards the cabinet for the “unclean” hot chocolate that’s still in there because the entire house is not yet converted. I converted the recipe to one serving so I do not drink all four in one (I have a hard time saying “no” to chocolate) and have not yet tried the marshmallows, but it is definitely growing on me by the sip. Thanks!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Marisa – That’s wonderful! I’m glad it’s helping you get through those cravings!

  7. Didn’t see the marshmallows in the ingredients list. Are those vegan marshmallows you used? It looks like the Sweet & Sarah vegan marshmallows I found at Whole Foods–can also be bought online through Pangaea Vegan Food Products on Amazon.com.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Charlena – No, they are not vegan. They use gelatin. I’m still trying to figure out if gelatin is clean, so I haven’t done any more marshmallow recipes.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Stengfive – This is amazing!! I’ve never seen or heard of the stuff! I’ll have to look for it. Thanks so much!

  9. Nicole Park says:

    Yum! I was definitely skeptical with the honey/chocolate combination, but this is delicious. Perfect on a snowy October (WHAT?! Yep) day. 🙂

    1. Anonymous says:

      Nicole – Haha! Glad you enjoyed it!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Carolyin – No, they are not.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Amyjo – If you can get it to melt and mix with the milk properly, then it’s worth a shot.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Amyjo – Sounds great!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Amyjo – Sounds good!

  14. graciouspantry says:

    Gcgrytdal – Fantastic! As far as I’m concerned, anything is better than the awful packaged stuff. It doesn’t taste real to me. Probably because it isn’t!

  15. Laura Beth Pagano says:

    This came out delicious!

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Awesome! 🙂

  16. Risë Wood Ruhl says:

    Yummy!  Just came in from the tree lighting at the boardwalk and needed something to warm us up from the inside!  MR made us some of your hot cocoa and it was just what we needed!

  17. graciouspantry says:

    Gelatin is not clean, so no. Sadly, there’s no substitute for gelatin that I know of. I did try a seaweed product that was supposed to be similar, but it failed miserably. That said, the version on my site is a heck of a lot healthier than what you buy in the store. I still make them for Mini Chef on occasion.

  18. Krista Monin Rumage says:

    just made this tonight, best hot chocolate ever! i did use skim milk, it was all i had. i will be making this as the only hot chocolate in my house from now on.

  19. Amazing is all I can say!!!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Awesome! 🙂

  20. You are the guru of clean eating! Thank you so much for these recipes!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      DIY Baby – My pleasure! 🙂

  21. Love, love, love this! And your coconut one almost more! I’m totally trying them…but I’m wondering if you can help me. I need to give presents of sorts (im doing nuts for the parents) to some kids of several different ages and I’m on a SUPER tight budget. Since I’m such a proponent for clean eating, I want this to be something that represents me well….but they will still enjoy. I found a cute way to package a hot chocolate mix to look like a reindeer. Only problem, I have scoured the internet and pintrest to try to find a clean(er) version. Think this is possible!? I refuse to use the pre-made stuff. I wonder if I just sub the sugar for coconut palm sugar or sucanat if that would be good enough, but I worry about the taste and I personally don’t have a sweet tooth to test it. Any suggestions!?

    Thank you as always! I LOVE your blog and re-post your recipes often!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      LJ – I have a recipe coming up! I’ll also try to do a printable label for it if I can.

  22. the chocolate was wonderful but I really love your “pot”… is it available anywhere?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jane – That’s an old brandy glass. It belongs to my mother and has been in her hutch my entire life. I’m not entirely sure where it came from, but I believe it was a wedding gift.

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