I don’t drink hot chocolate very often, but when I do, there are a few must haves that I want in it:
It MUST be chock full of chocolatey flavor. Say no, never and not on my watch to that thin, liquidy crap from a mix that tastes like a bad weight loss shake. I want to feel like I’m drinking a melted Hershey bar, which brings me to the next important element: texture.
A good hot chocolate to me is one that is slightly thick and more robust than say, coffee in its liquidity. I’m not saying it should have necessarily stew consistency, but it should be thick enough to leave a filmy residue on the back of the spoon after you stir it. If your hot cocoa is thin and broth-like…meh. It’s a no from me dawg.
Thirdly: I want, no I NEED to have a crap load of elements on top. You can’t just stop at the hot chocolate itself. Why? Because a good Christmas tree is nothing without it’s trimmings. You gotta bedazzle that sucka, guys. I’m talking marshmallows, caramel, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, sprinkles, crushed peppermint candy, cookie crumbs. Show your taste buds that you mean business and give it the works.
Or else, what is even the point?
For today’s recipe, I can assure you: I did not hold back. I went hard.
This hot chocolate really does have it all. It starts with a milk base that is melted down with semi-sweet chocolate. I recommend you use good chocolate here. Hersheys bars will work fine, as will Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks but if you can use Ghiradelli, Godiva or Dove chocolate that I think would work even better. I even think that using dark chocolate or chocolate flavored with chili powder would be awesome, just to give it another level of flavor.
So help me God, if you go and use some chalky generic store brand chocolate chips I will hunt you down, find you and shake you silly.
You can of course make your own Dulce de Leche by either boiling or baking a single can of sweetened condensed milk, but if you can just get the pre-made Nestle one that comes in a can and is located in the Hispanic/Latino foods aisle of the grocery store,please just go with that. Less work. You can also use less of it in the cocoa if you prefer yours on the less sweet side.
Now, make sure you’ve got all the garnishments on deck once the hot chocolate is made. It’s your customizable world here, but I used whipped cream, chocolate sauce, more melted dulce de leche that I had left over from the can and Christmas nonpareil sprinkles. Also (because I just don’t know how to quit) I dipped the rims of my mugs in hot chocolate, then pressed them into a dish of crushed gingersnap cookie crumbs, then let them chill in the freezer for about 40 minutes. That way, with every sip of hot chocolate, there’s also the added texture and flavor of the spicy gingersnap sliding down your throat. I realize this is extra, but what can I say? I be’s that way sometimes.
Dulce de Leche Hot Chocolate
Recipe Courtesy of Food Network Magazine
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 2 ounces of semi sweet chocolate, chopped, plus more for drizzling
- 1 cup dulce de leche, plus more for drizzling
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or 1 cinnamon stick broken in half
- Whipped cream for topping
- Sprinkles for topping, optional
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a low simmer over medium low heat.
Add the chocolate, dulce de leche and cinnamon. Cook and stir until the chocolate and caramel has melted into the milk and mixture is smooth, about 3-5 minutes.
Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream, additional chocolate and caramel and sprinkles.
(Mixture will thicken as it cools, just add additional milk to thin out if desired.)