Chilly afternoons cry out for mugs of steaming hot chocolate. It’s time to rescue all those instant hot chocolate packets wedged in the back of the cupboard! If you’ve got the time and ingredients to make homemade hot chocolate, by all means do so.
But there’s no shame in going instant, especially if you jazz it up with different flavors.
Just follow the package instructions for making the hot chocolate, and then try one of these 12 twists – topped off with marshmallows or whipped cream, of course.
- Caramel: A tablespoon of caramel sauce can do wonders for hot chocolate. Spoon in your favorite brand and give it a good stir right before you take your first sip.
- Ice cream: It may sound weird to put something cold in your hot cocoa, but a scoop of ice cream makes it really creamy and thick. Make sure your hot chocolate is as hot as you can get it without allowing it to boil, and pop in a scoop of your favorite ice cream.
- Cinnamon, Nutmeg or Vanilla extract: A 1/4 teaspoon of any of these always adds zip.
- Orange Zest: Carve three 2-inch long strips of orange rind (the skin) and let them steep in your drink for a while before tasting. That citrus flavor is a delight.
- Espresso or Coffee: You can either add a tablespoon of fresh brewed coffee or espresso, or you can use the instant stuff.
- Peppermint Stick: Drop a peppermint stick or even one of those peppermint candies you picked up at your last restaurant visit. It adds great flavor, and a great smell. This version is nice if you’ve got a cold.
- Dark or White Chocolate Shavings: Dig that Hershey bar out of your bag and grab a grater. Sprinkling a few shreds of the real deal into your drink – or on the whipped cream on top of it – can only make things more heavenly.
- Peanut Butter: If you’re crazy for peanut butter , take a tablespoon or two and mix it into your cocoa. Just be sure to mix really well until it melts.
- Habanero Pepper or a Shot of Hot Sauce: Got a hankering for something hot and spicy? A dash of your favorite hot sauce kicks a hot chocolate into high gear. You can even drop in 2 fresh slices of a fresh Habanero pepper into your cocoa and stir the flavor in.
- Hot Cherries: Nearly everyone has that jar of maraschino cherries sitting in the fridge, so drop two or three teaspoons of the juice into your drink, along with a cherry. Tastes like drinking a chocolate cordial.
- Coconut Milk: Put a tropical spin on your hot chocolate by substituting some of the milk required with a 1/4 cup of coconut milk.
- Maple Syrup: It’s not just for waffles and pancakes! A squirt of the unique taste of maple syrup livens up ordinary old hot chocolate.
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