The Most Decadent Hot Chocolate Recipe

When I was growing up there was always that one thing that signaled Christmas time was here: Hot Chocolate.

However, try as we might, our hot chocolate never quite tasted like Dean & Deluca’s or the cafe hot cocoa down the road. Mind you my sister and I were using Swiss Miss with the stale little marshmallows in the bag, but not until one fateful day in college did I realize Hot Chocolate had a secret ingredient that turned it into the indulgent treat I know it to be today.

You probably didn’t realize your Hot Chocolate recipe was missing ONE key component making it THE-BEST-HOT-CHOCOLATE-EVER, but it is. Don’t worry I’m here to tell you just what it is.

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You hopefully by now have invested in some festive Santa Clause mugs (or snowmen, hot chocolate doesn’t discriminate), and you should have a pretty good go-to hot chocolate mix on hand. If you don’t use Droste, I highly recommend trying Lake Champlain’s Hot Chocolate. Droste is my absolute favorite cocoa powder and I use it to make my brownies and cakes as well. It has a nice dark chocolate flavor to it and holds up to sweetness well so it’s ideal for the best hot chocolate recipe. 

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Plaid flannel (old, similar) || Santa Mugs (vintage, similar here and check here) || Darling Mug || Marble Pastry board || Peppermint Bark || Droste Cocoa 

Secondly, you can’t serve Hot Chocolate this time of year without the presence of Christmas cookies. This year I swapped my traditional sugar cookie for a chewy gingerbread cookie. I already love a good gingerbread cookie, but sometimes don’t like that they get dry and snappy. I want to bite into a soft, chewy cookie covered in frosting. The ones I made this year turned out perfect. A little chewy and full of festive flavor. The cookie itself wasn’t overly sweet but with the addition of the easy sugared icing, they were the perfect accouterment to this hot chocolate. 

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The great thing is, that after two days of sitting out, the cookies still taste amazing and still have a subtle chew to them. I’m nibbling on one as we speak! 

But festive cookies and Santa mugs aren’t the secrets to great hot chocolate, the secret is Sweetened Condensed Milk. 

best hot chocolate recipe

Plaid flannel (old, similar) || Santa Mugs (vintage, similar here and check here) || Darling Mug || Marble Pastry board || Peppermint Bark || Droste Cocoa 

best hot chocolate recipe best hot chocolate recipe

Sweetened condensed milk: you’ve probably used this to make fudge, caramels or even ice cream, but it turns hot chocolate into a creamy wondrous elixir of warmth during the Holidays. 

If you find this recipe sounds like it has too much sugar in it, just cut the sweetened condensed milk back by half and only use 7oz while subbing for whole milk. It will still be subtly sweet but more along the lines of European drinking chocolate than the traditional American Hot Chocolate. 

I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves, but this is most definitely the most decadent hot chocolate recipe and you should whip up a batch for your family when they come in town next week! 

Photos by Dasha Crawford Photo

The Best Hot Chocolate Recipe
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dutch hot chocolate, hot chocolate
Servings: 4
  • 1 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk I use Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 14 ounces of water
  • 7 ounces whole milk
  • 6-8 tablespoons of Droste Cocoa or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Splash of vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces of your favorite dark chocolate
  • Spike it with a little Baileys.
  1. Heat on medium high in a heavy saucepan, or dutch oven, all liquid ingredients and whisk until well combined and the milk starts to foam a little.
  2. Add your Droste cocoa powder and continue whisking until combined.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add in your chopped dark chocolate.
  4. Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for 2-3 minutes or until the liquid has thickened. If the chocolate looks too thick, slowly add one tablespoon of milk until desired consistency is reached.
  5. When hot, my hot chocolate has the consistency of thick cream.
  6. Pour into Santa Clause mugs while still hot, then top with cold unsweetened whipped cream. Finish with a sprinkle of peppermint candy and a drizzle of liquid chocolate.
  7. To spike this hot chocolate, add one ounce of Baileys Irish Cream at the bottom of your Santa Clause mugs, then proceed to pour hot chocolate mixture in the mug.

You may need these tools to make this recipe: 

The Most Decadent Hot Chocolate

Author: Cynthia

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