When the weather turns from summer to fall, the leaves change from green to red, and the air is crisp, this recipe for decadent, rich, and delicious homemade hot chocolate will leave you feeling cozy, warm, and happy.
Homemade Hot Chocolate History
We all know hot chocolate as the warm, rich drink we enjoy on a cold night by the fire, or after engaging in winter activities such as ice skating and skiing.
But have you ever thought about this delicious beverage’s origins?
Hot chocolate’s history goes quite a way back, and the drink has changed over the years, evolving from cold and spicy to warm and sweet.
It Started in Mexico
As early as 500 BC, the Mayans were drinking chocolate made from ground-up cocoa seeds mixed with water, cornmeal, and chili peppers (as well as other ingredients)—a much different version from the hot chocolate we know today.
They would mix the drink by pouring it back and forth from a cup to a pot until a thick foam developed, and then enjoy the beverage cold. Although the chocolate drink was available to all classes of people, the wealthy would drink it from large vessels with spouts, which later would be buried along with them.
Then Made its Way to Europe
In the early 1500s, the explorer Cortez brought cocoa beans and chocolate drink-making tools to Europe. Although the drink still remained cold and bitter-tasting, it gained popularity and was adopted by the court of King Charles V as well as the Spanish upper class.
After its introduction in Spain, the drink began to be served hot, sweetened, and without chili peppers.
The Spanish were very protective of their wonderful new beverage, and it was over a hundred years before news of it began to spread across Europe.
When it hit London in the 1700s, chocolate houses (similar to today’s coffee shops) became popular and very trendy, even though chocolate was very expensive.
In the late 1700s, the president of the Royal College of Physicians, Hans Sloane, brought from Jamaica a recipe for mixing chocolate with milk, which made the drink more palatable in his opinion.
Others agreed and the English started adding milk to their chocolate; it was then enjoyed as an after-dinner beverage.
Hot Chocolate Today
Hot chocolate has been used as a food and drink for centuries. In the past, it was used as a treatment for stomach and liver diseases. Today, we enjoy hot chocolate simply as a delicious beverage. Whether we savor it slowly or gulp it down, hot chocolate is always a welcome treat!
In America, hot chocolate is somewhat thin and often made by combining hot water with packets of powder, although you can find more authentic and gourmet varieties in restaurants and cafes.
Hot chocolate has become so popular in the United States that it is available in coffee vending machines. The powder is sold in packets and canisters, and coffee houses often have rich, somewhat thicker varieties on their menus.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What supplies do I need to make homemade hot chocolate?
To make this homemade hot chocolate, you will need the following supplies:
- measuring cups and spoons of various sizes
- medium sized pot
- toppings such as marshmallows, chocolate sauce, sprinkles, etc.
Can I refrigerate leftovers of this homemade hot chocolate?
Yes, you can refrigerate this homemade hot chocolate in a sealed food-safe container for 3-4 days. You’ll have to reheat before serving.
Add the toppings right before you’re ready to drink the homemade hot chocolate.
Can I use milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet chocolate chips?
Yes, you can use milk chocolate chips in this homemade hot chocolate recipe but it will alter the taste – it will be sweeter.
How can I make this homemade hot chocolate creamier?
To make this a creamier hot chocolate, stir 1 teaspoon of corn starch in with the milk before adding the other ingredients. Whisk the corn starch into the milk until no lumps remain.
Continue on with the recipe as written.
Do you have any other recipes that go with this Homemade Hot Chocolate?
- 3 ½ cups whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- optional toppings: whipped cream, mini marshmallows, fudge ice cream topping
- In a medium pot, whisk together milk, heavy cream, sugar, and cocoa powder.
- Place pot on the stovetop over high heat, stirring often until mixture starts to simmer. Watch this closely as milk can boil over quickly and you don’t want this to come to a full boil.
- Reduce heat to medium then add in chocolate chips and stir until melted.
- Remove pot from heat then stir in vanilla and salt.
- Serve hot in heat-safe mugs.
- Top with your choice of toppings.