I am a hot-chocolate-every-night-all-year-’round kind of girl, but there’s something about the month of December that makes my nightly hot chocolates extra special. I guess it has something to do with Christmas being associated with Winter, even over here in Australia.
We are less than a week away from Summer, yet I am currently surrounded by Christmas decorations that consist of many snowmen-shaped items and snow-covered house figurines.
Of course, it has been so cold over here in Australia that I’ve had the heater on every night, and Sydney just had three months worth of rain within a few hours, so it certainly FEELS like Winter, even though it isn’t.
Regardless of the temperature, I can never turn down a good hot chocolate. My favourite drinking chocolate powder is by Cadbury (pictured below), and I was OVER THE MOON when I realised it was gluten free, so I didn’t have to cut it out of my diet.
Considering what a magical time of year it is, I can’t just have any ol’ regular hot chocolate (even though the ones Daniel makes for me are SO perfect – especially since we got a coffee machine so he can add frothed milk!) so I like to mix it up a bit throughout the month of December, and I thought I’d share some of my favourite flavour experimentations with you all.
Most of these just came to mind to me as I browsed through my pantry and baking shelf and decided to try adding in new ingredients to my hot chocolates, and boy did some of them surprise me!
I love trying new things and I am so glad I gave so many of these a try because they really are delicious, but I’ll stop teasing you now. On to the recipes!
ADD A FEW DROPS OF PEPPERMINT EXTRACT
If you’ve already read my new baking shelf reveal post that I linked above, then chances are you’ve seen my modest collection of flavouring extracts, which includes Queen Fine Foods’ peppermint extract. I’ve used this a couple of time in recipes as mint is one of my all-time favourite flavours, but choc mint is an even bigger love of mine, so that’s usually what I reserve this extract for.
Just a few drops of this transparent liquid can completely change the taste of your hot chocolate and make you feel like you’re cuddled up next to a fireplace or out playing in snow, all at the same time. (Hey, I told you that I think this time of year is literally magical!)
MIX IN REAL CHOCOLATE
If you like your sweets rich, then this is a great idea for you! You don’t even have to use drinking powder if you’d like, just fill up your mug with a few chunks of your favourite kind of chocolate, then pour your boiling water on top and mix well before adding your milk. This way is far sweeter and richer than your average hot chocolate so I certainly couldn’t stomach having one every night, but as a once in a while treat, it is delicious 😋
SPRINKLE SOME CINNAMON ON TOP
I loooooove cinnamon. It is hands down my favourite spice, although I rarely use it – or any other kind of spice, really 😂 I’ve always thought of cinnamon as quite a Christmassy flavour, and I intend to experiment with it in some baking recipes over the holiday season, but there’s one way I already use it and know that I love it, and that is in hot chocolates! It’s like having a chai latte and hot chocolate in one drink. You can add as much or as little as you’d like until it’s the perfect strength for you. SO good!
DRIZZLE IN SOME CARAMEL
When I tried this last Christmas, I just added in some caramel topping we had in the fridge, and it was surprisingly good! It’s kind of a running joke in our house that I always think I don’t like caramel, and then I end up loving it.
It took a good four or so years of Daniel saying “trust me, you LIKE caramel!” for me to remember that oh yeah, I actually DO 😅 Which is what prompted me to try it in a hot chocolate, and it was amazing! Starbucks, who? 😜
MAKE IT ICED
Even though our Christmas occurs within the Summer, I still prefer hot chocolates over iced any day, BUT every now and then I want something new, and when I remember expensive Starbucks’ drinks, I realise that we could just make our own, and then we do!
Once again, Daniel usually takes the reigns on this one as I am super lazy and he usually makes the food and an iced chocolate drink kind of counts as food… 😂 Anyway, just make a small amount of hot chocolate, cool it down, then pour it into a blender with some ice, milk and extra sugar if you’d like and blend away! Yuuuuum.
COMBINE IT WITH YOUR COFFEE
Whilst I really love the smell and taste of coffee, I don’t drink it. I don’t understand people’s fixations on it, and I hate the way it makes your breath smell. However, I do like the make the occasional coffee-flavoured baked good every now and then, so I have some coffee extract on hand, which I have added to my hot chocolates a couple of times, and it was surprisingly good! I guess for all you coffee-drinkers, you would be adding chocolate to your regular coffee, which not be your thing, but I think it’s quite tasty and definitely worth a try!
HAVE IT “COOKIES AND CREAM” FLAVOURED
There are a few ways to do this. You could add crushed up Oreos to your regular hot chocolate, or just some whipped cream if you’re not a fan of chunks in your drinks (which I AM, even though that description doesn’t sound appetising at all).
You could also re-visit the idea of making it iced and add some Oreos and/or whipped cream into the blender with the rest of the ingredients. The last option sounds the most appealing to me as it just sounds so incredibly sweet and, as you all know, I have a huge sweet tooth!
COLOUR IT PINK
It is surely no surprise to any long-time or even part-time readers that I like pink – especially considering what my Instagram and Pinterest accounts look like – so once I realised I could make my hot chocolates PINK, you better believe I gave it a try! This is another recipe that would involve actual chocolate rather than the powder, as you would need white chocolate (unless you can find white chocolate powder where you live!)
Then, add a few drops of tasteless pink food colouring and you’ve got yourself one sweet treat! You could even top it with whipped cream and some cute sprinkles. I have MANY gorgeous sprinkle mixes, but these “Baby Shower” sprinkles from Baking Time Club that I have on my shelves would probably be my go-to as they’re such gorgeous colours!
GET CREATIVE WITH PEANUT BUTTER
If you’re a little hesitant about this idea, don’t worry, I was too! But then I thought about it: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are one of the most popular confectioneries out there (and a personal favourite of mine – especially since they don’t contain any gluten!), and all they are is peanut butter covered in chocolate!
Clearly, those two flavours go together quite well, so why not try it as a drink? The only thing I will say is that the peanut butter never fully dissolves into the drink, so the texture is a bit strange, the taste is delicious!
TRY IT WITH CONDENSED MILK
I swear, a year or so ago, I didn’t even know what condensed milk was, and now it’s a staple in our pantry! This thick, extremely sweet liquid is used quite often in the world of sweets and desserts and it’s ALWAYS good, so I decided to see how it went in a hot chocolate.
Spoiler alert: it was delicious! Albeit, it’s a little more tedious than most of the other recipes as you have to heat it on the stove, but the result is so beautiful and rich, it’s definitely worth it!
TOP IT WITH A CHRISTMAS TREE
Okay, so obviously not a REAL tree, but if you love adding whipped cream to your hot chocolates, why not put a few drops of green food colouring into it, then pipe it on top of your hot chocolate with a star shaped piping tip and voila! You have a tiny, delicious Christmas tree! You could even add some Christmas sprinkles to use as “decorations” for the tree. These ones from Creative Kitchen would be perfect!
SPLASH IN SOME VANILLA
As a true basic gal at heart, there’s no flavour for dessert that I love better than vanilla! Whenever I make a cake to practice decorating on – or for when I’m just feeling a little snacky – I ALWAYS make it vanilla.
It’s the best flavour out there in my opinion, chocolate doesn’t even come close! (Although my boyfriend would disagree! I make this “best chocolate cake recipe ever” for him quite often, and we always have a few pieces in the freezer for him to grab!).
But, another thing vanilla is great for is HOT CHOCOLATES! I use Queen Fine Foods vanilla extract religiously because they’re my favourite baking brand as I’ve mentioned a million times, and because that’s what they’re known for!
Drip in a little bit of vanilla next time you’re making yourself a hot chocolate and trust me, you’ll be thanking me later! It’s such a lovely, smooth taste that’s perfect for the holiday season.
Whew! If you’re still with me after all that, give yourself a pat on the back! I LOVE hot chocolates, they are in my top ten favourite things in the WORLD, and it is impossible for me to be unhappy when drinking one, so I could honestly talk about them forever 😂
I hope you’re all able to find a variation that you like! I really do think these are all worth trying at least once. I wasn’t sure I was going to like some of them, but I ended up loving them, and I am so glad I gave in to my creative and inquisitive side!
What’s YOUR favourite kind of hot chocolate? Do you have any flavour ideas that I might have missed? I’d love to hear about them in the comments so I can give them a go! You can never have too many hot chocolates in my eyes 😜
Until next time,