This Pioneer Woman Hot Chocolate Recipe hits the spot on a cold winter day. It's so sweet and delicious!
Did you know that we have the Mayans to thank for hot chocolate - everyone's favorite comforting drink!
They are believed to have created the first chocolate drink about 3,000 years ago and a cocoa drink was a regular on the Aztec menu by 1400 AD.
These days, it's popular across the world, with just about every country enjoying their own particular version. Powdered hot chocolate mixes available in stores make it easy to whip up a cup in minutes - but nothing beats homemade hot chocolate for flavor and sheer luxury!
Is hot chocolate the same as hot cocoa?
The terms tend to be used interchangeably - but are they actually the same drink?
Well the answer is... no, they're not!
Cocoa is made of cocoa powder and milk, which is then usually sweetened with sugar.
Proper hot chocolate should be made with real chocolate, which is melted with hot water, milk or cream (or a combination). In general, no extra sweeteners are added, because chocolate is sweet enough all by itself!
Can you make hot chocolate with water instead of milk?
While it's possible to make hot chocolate with just hot water, we wouldn't recommend it. Yes, it's a lower calorie alternative to the real thing, but it has none of the indulgent creaminess of hot chocolate made with milk. Our advice is... go ahead and treat yourself!
Hot chocolate variations
There's no denying that hot chocolate is wonderful just as it is - but it's always fun to change things up a little.
There are lots of different ways to add extra flavors to basic hot chocolate - which of these will be your favorite?
Orange - just add a few pieces of orange rind to the mixture as you warm it. You can always add a dash or orange syrup too!
Mint - either add a dash of mint extract, or - if you're feeling really indulgent - stir in a couple of mini peppermint patties.
Spice - add cinnamon or nutmeg to the mixture as it warms. If you're feeling daring, try a pinch of chili powder for a fiery kick and serve with a side of churros for a little Mexican flavor! Ginger is great too - but if you don't have any, try enjoying your hot chocolate with some ginger cookies on the side!
Extra sweetness - sprinkle mini marshmallows on top, then drizzle with salted caramel and chocolate sauce
Boozy boost - try Bailey's or Kahlua. They're just made for pairing with hot chocolate! Crème de menthe is great too.
Coconut - another interesting variation on this basic hot chocolate recipe is to use coconut milk instead of regular milk. It's more creamy and brings a fabulous yet subtle new flavor to the drink.