Hot cocoa. It is just hot chocolate milk, right? Oh no. You are very mistaken. The art of the perfect cup of hot cocoa is cultivated through careful planning and fresh ingredients. All are affordable, attainable, and we are going to give you a few tips to try when you’re on the quest for that perfect mug of steaming, creamy, decadent cocoa.

Skip the Powder- Reach for Real Chocolate

While premade hot chocolate mixes are easy, they often tend to taste chalky and a bit gritty. Choosing to use solid dark chocolate as the base will result in a creamy and rich drink. Think of the river in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Don’t grab a bar of Hershey’s at the store counter- You’re looking for semisweet or bittersweet dark chocolate, which can usually be found in the baking aisle of a grocery store.

Use Fresh, Whole Milk

Whole milk is fatty, which adds a creamy and frothy consistency. Skim milk is too watery for hot cocoa, but almond milk and soy milk can be used as whole milk substitutes if needed.

Add Extra Flavor

There are countless ways to add extra flavor to a delicious cup of hot chocolate. A drop or two of extract, like vanilla and coconut, adds a sweet and aromatic taste and scent to your hot chocolate. A dusting of cinnamon or nutmeg is also a nice dash to a cup of hot cocoa.  If you’d like to be more adventurous, you can add citrus, sea salt, or a splash of dark rum.

Top It Off

Marshmallows are a timeless topping to garnish your hot chocolate with, and there’s nothing wrong with staying classic. Whipped cream is a must add to a cup of hot cocoa. It also creates a lovely bed for shaved chocolate, bits of peppermint, miniature marshmallows, and drizzled caramel or chocolate syrup. If you’re a chocolate lover like we are, you can go an extra step and make chocolate whipped cream for a double chocolate treat!

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