Most people have a favorite hot drink. For many people, it’s black coffee. Others would also say coffee but with cream and sugar. A lot of people would say that tea is a staple for life. Then again, some prefer something harder, like hot toddies or mulled wine. And then there’s hot chocolate. Sweet, rich, delicious hot chocolate.
Here at New Kitchen Store, we have Silly Cow Farms’ hot cocoa mix, which is a fantastic way to make a quick cup of afternoon cheer. However, you can also make it from scratch. And that’s the beauty of this drink — there are so many different ways to make it.
Hot chocolate can be extra sweet or strong and dark, depending on how you make it. You could add a shot of coffee to make the chocolate flavor more intense or a couple of shots to make it a mocha.
But really, it’s the seasonings that really develop the character of the beverage. Like pumpkin spice, for instance. A ¼ teaspoon of our pumpkin spice blend frothed into your hot cocoa will transport you to the crisp days of autumn with every sip.
Or for a spicy kick, add a dash of cinnamon and a pinch of crushed cayenne or chili powder to your mug of chocolatey goodness.
You know those chocolate orange balls you can only find around Christmas? Well, here’s a way to recreate that delicious candy in your mug all year round. If you’re making hot chocolate from scratch, add some orange juice powder to the pot after the sugar and cocoa powder. If you prefer using a hot cocoa mix, stir in the orange juice powder right before drinking it.
Gingerbread hot chocolate is also delicious. Right before pouring the cocoa into your mug, stir in a couple dashes of ginger and nutmeg. This combines the cozy warmth of hot chocolate with a spicy, earthy, citrusy personality. There’s no way to go wrong there!
I’ll tell you a secret … you can even make hot chocolate into a healthy treat. No really! Find a from-scratch recipe that you like, then substitute local honey for the sugar and use real, unsweetened cocoa powder (which, by the way, is chocked full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals).
If you’re trying to avoid dairy, then use coconut or almond milk instead. You can even include an antioxidant-rich additive like a spoonful of maple syrup or molasses.
Or if you want to go the extra mile, buy a frother from us to make your hot chocolate extra creamy and airy. We also have specialty milk heating pans that will help you get your hot chocolate to the perfect temperature.
However you like your cocoa, don’t forget to add the whipped cream on top and garnish with cocoa mix or some of the spices you added to your cup. When you do, take a picture of it and send it to us! We’d love to see it.
New Kitchen Store is the largest kitchen supplies store in Michiana! Come visit us at 330 Liberty St., Walkerton. For more information, call 574-586-2745 or check out our website at newkitchenstore.com.