Sledding, skiing, skating, and pretty much any other winter activity are not complete without hot chocolate! Rich, creamy, and chocolatey, hot chocolate is a must-have drink for adults and kids of all ages in the colder months of any time.
The perfect hot chocolate hits all the notes, but instant hot chocolates can leave you wanting more in the flavor department. That is not an issue anymore, thanks to these tips and tricks on how to make instant hot chocolate taste better!
What is Instant Hot Chocolate?
Instant hot chocolate is a powdered mix that utilizes elements like evaporated milk and cocoa powder to simplify the process of making hot chocolate at home. It is easy to prepare, but the flavors of instant hot chocolate can leave one wanting more. Luckily, there are some great ideas out there for home chefs who want to make their instant hot chocolate taste better.
How to Prepare Instant Hot Chocolate
Making instant hot chocolate is simple; you just add hot water or milk to the instant mix. Follow this guide to perfectly heat your base liquid, then take it to the next level with some of these tasty tricks!
To Prepare With Milk
There are two basic options to heat the milk for instant hot chocolate: on a stovetop and in a microwave. Both are easy and quick.
- To heat the milk on the stove, pour milk into a small sauce pot and heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Only heat the milk until warm; you do not want to boil the milk.
- To heat the milk in the microwave, pour milk into a microwave-safe container. Heat at the microwave’s standard setting in 30-second bursts until just warm enough. Be careful not to overheat milk in the microwave.
To Prepare With Water
Just like heating milk for instant hot chocolate, there are also two ways to heat up water: on the stovetop and in the microwave.
- To heat water on the stove, add water to a kettle or pot. Heat over medium heat until just shy of boiling. Do not worry if your water overheats; simply allow it to cool for a few moments before adding it to the mix.
- To heat water in the microwave, pour water into a microwave-safe container or mug. Heat in the microwave on standard settings, in short bursts, until hot.
How to Make Instant Hot Chocolate Taste Better
Instant hot chocolate is such a nostalgic drink for so many people. It is simple, warm, and right there when you need it on a cold day, but let’s face it, this basic beverage could use a serious glow-up!
Here are some great ideas on how to dress up a basic instant hot chocolate.
Top with Whipped Cream
Whipped cream takes most sweets to a higher level, and that is certainly true of an instant hot chocolate mix! Try topping instant cocoa with light and airy whipped cream for a mash-up of textures that will make your mouth sing!
Line the Mug with Chocolate
One fun touch is to coat the mug with chocolate. Simply melt your favorite type of chocolate, then gently pour the melted chocolate around the insides of the mug. Be sure to get some on the rim of the mug for an extra decadent-looking drink. While the chocolate is still warm, you can pat sprinkles or crushed mints into it for a look that screams gourmet!
Try a Little Fruit
Fruit and chocolate bring out the best in each other, and pairing instant hot chocolate with fruit is always a treat for your taste buds. You can muddle strawberries or raspberries in the mug before you add your mix or simply eat some fruit on the side. Whether you eat a nice fruit plate with your cocoa or add some straight in, fruit is a unique and fun take.
Warm spices pair with chocolate so well it’s almost mind-bending. Putting together chocolate and spice can result in a flavor combination that you can’t quit!
If you like it hot, try mixing in a little smoky chipotle pepper and sweet paprika. It’s an unexpected turn on an old favorite.
Throw in Some Marshmallows
There are few things as fun and tasty as marshmallows. The light candy pillows can add a sugary pop to anything, but they pair perfectly with hot chocolate! Toss in one giant marshmallow or a ton of mini marshmallows. Add in colored marshmallows to impress the young (and young at heart).
Give it a Twist
Nothing pairs with chocolate like mint! Try adding a dash of mint extract to the finished hot chocolate. Alternatively, try purchasing peppermint stir spoons for a beautiful presentation and a nice minty flavor!
Can I make instant hot chocolate with alternative milk?
Absolutely! Alternative milk is a great option for those who can’t handle too much lactose or anyone just looking for a change from cow’s milk. There are lots of great plant-based, grain-based, and nut-based milk on the market, so choose one that suits your tastes. Treat milk alternatives like milk when preparing hot chocolate.
How Often Should I Drink Hot Chocolate?
Everything in moderation! If you are not much of a soda, juice, or any other sugary beverage drinker, a few cups of hot chocolate here and there will not hurt! A good rule of thumb is to treat this drink like a treat; if you have indulged in a lot of sweets and rich foods, maybe skip the hot chocolate, but if not, treat yourself!
What to Eat With Hot Chocolate
There are many delicious foods that you can enjoy with hot chocolate. Here are some ideas:
- Marshmallows: Adding marshmallows to your hot chocolate is a classic combination. You can even toast them over an open flame for a fun twist.
- Cookies: A plate of cookies, such as chocolate chip, oatmeal, or shortbread, makes for a great accompaniment to hot chocolate.
- Biscotti: These crunchy Italian cookies are perfect for dipping in your hot chocolate.
- Croissants: A warm, buttery croissant pairs well with a rich, creamy hot chocolate.
- Fruit: Fresh fruit, such as strawberries or bananas, can provide a nice contrast to the sweetness of hot chocolate.
- Donuts: A glazed or powdered donut is a sweet treat that goes well with a warm cup of hot chocolate.
- Cinnamon rolls: The warm, gooey texture of a cinnamon roll is a perfect match for a hot cup of cocoa.
- Whipped cream: A dollop of whipped cream on top of your hot chocolate is a classic and delicious addition.
Drinking instant hot chocolate is like drinking a warm mug of nostalgia. Try one or all of these simple tips to change your ordinary instant hot chocolate into extraordinary gourmet hot chocolate.