6 Hot Cocoa Recipes to “Weather” the Storms

Quick one today folks. I was asked for some of my favorite recipes for hot cocoa, so I am listing the goodies we use at Casa Colleen here for you.  There are all kinds of flavors here plus recipes for “instant” cocoa you can make yourself.

Belgian Hot Chocolate (Chocolat Chaud)

Makes 4 to 6 servings

This is a rich, decadent cocoa for serious chocolate lovers only. For more adult tastes, one could replace some of the liquid with strong coffee or add a hit of liqueur at the end, such as cognac, mint liqueur, raspberry liqueur, or Chartreuse.

1 quart (1 liter) half-and-half, heavy cream, or whole milk***
8 ounces (230g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped*
4 ounces (115g) milk chocolate, finely chopped**
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

  1. Warm about one-third of the half-and-half or milk, with the chopped chocolates and salt, stirring until the chocolate is melted.
  2. Whisk in the remaining half-and-half or milk, heating until the mixture is warmed through. Add the cinnamon.
  3. Use a hand-held blender, or a whisk, and mix the hot chocolate until it’s completely smooth. Serve very warm. It’s usually served with a poof of whipped cream and chocolate curls.


*The most important factor in this hot chocolate recipe is the selection of your chocolates. You will not want to skimp on the quality. You will find the best quality chocolates in bar form. If possible find imported Belgian dark chocolate. It will give the most authentic flavor. The lowest % you will want to use is 53% dark. The highest is around 72%. Anything less or more will be off from the authentic flavor.

**When selecting the milk chocolate, again you want a quality bar. Lindt, Ghirardelli, Milka, or other European brands of milk chocolate are your best choices.

***For those looking to cut calories or for a lighter taste; you can use 2% milk. Or skim milk. Dairy allergy users can use Lactaid fat free milk. If you need full diary free, you can use almond milk or coconut milk. It will be slightly different; but still a very nice treat.

Chocolate Chai Tea Latte

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, almond milk, or whole milk
1 cup water
2 tea bags (either black or oolong or one of each)
1 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons sweetener (adjust to taste)
1/2 teaspoon Chai Spice Mix (see recipe below)

  1. Bring the milk and water to a boil and steep the tea bags in the mixture for about 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile mix the cocoa powder, sweetener, and Chai Spice together. Remove the tea bags and stir in the cocoa mixture.
  3. Serve immediately.

Chai Spice Mix

3 tbs cardamom
3 tbs cinnamon
4 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp allspice
4 tsp ground ginger

Mix together and store in an 8 ounce jar.

Mexican Hot Chocolate (Champurrado)

Serves 6-8

2 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
1/2 c. corn flour masa (Masa harina)*
4 c. WHOLE milk
1 (3.3 ounce) tablet of Mexican chocolate**
1 (6 ounce) piloncillo cone***

  1. Grate Chocolate. Use a rasp, microplane, or cheese grater. Keep in mind that while it’s not strictly necessary to grate the chocolate before melting it into your liquid, grated chocolate melts faster and is less prone to burning the bottom of the pan.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine water, cinnamon sticks and star anise. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let it steep for a half hour.
  3. Return to low heat and slowly add the corn flour masa whisking to remove clumps, incorporating all the flour until you have a thick paste.
  4. Bring to medium heat and add milk, Mexican chocolate disk and piloncillo. Stir until ingredients have blended together and mixture comes to a slow boil.
  5. Let simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  6. Champurrado is typically served frothy, with a thick head of foam on top. This is achieved by vigorously whisking the mixture using a molinillo (wooden Mexican whisk) or a standard whisk. Whip until airy and frothed up, about two minutes.
  7. Pour your hot chocolate mixture into pre-warmed mugs. Garnish with a cinnamon stick for stirring, grated chocolate on top, or everyone’s favorite: marshmallows and whipped cream. Serve immediately.


*Masa harina is the traditional flour used to make tortillas, tamales, and other Mexican dishes. Literally translated from Spanish, it means “dough flour,” because the flour is made from dried masa, a dough from specially treated corn.

To make masa harina, field corn (or maize) is dried and then treated in a solution of lime and water, also called slaked lime. This loosens the hulls from the kernels and softens the corn. In addition, the lime reacts with the corn so that the nutrient niacin can be assimilated by the digestive tract.

The soaked maize is then washed, and the wet corn is ground into a dough, called masa. It is this fresh masa, when dried and powdered, that becomes masa harina.

Do not substitute corn meal or regular corn flour. They are produced from different types of corn and are processed differently. They will not produce the same results. Regular wheat flour also cannot be substituted.

**Mexican chocolate disk: Nestle Abuelita Mexican Chocolate comes in a 6-tablet (3.3 ounces each) package. If using other chocolate discs like Taza which comes in a 1.3 ounce tablet, use 3 discs per batch of chocolate. You may add more or less to your own tastes (I usually like a little more).

***Piloncillo is made from pure, unrefined, raw sugar that is pressed into a cone shape. It tastes very similar to brown sugar with a strong molasses flavor but unlike brown sugar which sometimes is made by coating refined white sugar with molasses, piloncillo is pure sugar with no additives.

The name piloncillo refers to the traditional cone shape in which the sugar is produced. It is also known as panela and panocha. There are actually two varieties of piloncillo produced; one is lighter (blanco) and one darker (oscuro). The cone size can vary from as small as 3/4 ounce to as much as 9 ounces per cone.

Spanish Hot Chocolate (Chocolate Caliente)

Makes 2 (4 ounce) mugs

Vegan and Dairy-Free. This hot chocolate, Barcelona Style, is a very popular drink people enjoy all year long. It’s so rich and intense that a little 4 ounce mug is really all you need. Not too sweet and packed with antioxidants. And the taste is delicious!

5 tablespoons good quality pure unsweetened cocoa powder (mixing 2 different brands adds complexity to the flavor)
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon corn starch or arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
1 cup water

  1. Combine cocoa powder(s), sugar and corn starch in a small bowl.
  2. Pour COLD water into a small sauce pan, add vanilla extract (if using) cocoa mixture and start cooking at medium low heat, stirring constantly.
  3. Cook until it thickens and serve immediately in two small mugs.

Note: Be sure to use a clean spoon every time you taste the chocolate. Enzymes from your mouth can cause a thickened cornstarch mixture to thin.

Spiced Hot Chocolate

Makes 1 cup (Recipe can be enlarged to make as many cups as you want)

1 cup whole milk (or the “milk” of your choice)
3/4 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/8 teaspoon ginger root powder
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash of grated nutmeg
Cinnamon stick and/or vanilla bean, optional

  1. Gently warm the milk.
  2. Add all the other ingredients. Stir. Heat slowly and gently.
  3. Serve immediately.

Our Favorite Hot Chocolate Pantry Mix

Makes 20+ cups of Cocoa

5 cups (625g) Non-fat Dry Milk Powder*
3/4 cup (75g) cocoa powder
1 cup (125g) confectioners’ Sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons (9g) salt
5 tablespoons (68g) Coconut Oil, melted
1 tablespoon (8g) vanilla powder, optional

Mix all ingredients in an air tight container for storage in a cool dark cabinet or pantry. Lasts about 3 months.

To mix a cup of cocoa: Add 5-6 tablespoons to 8 ounces of very hot water.

Mix Variations:

  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (8g) gives a slight spiced flavor for Mexican cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon of your choice of extract (mint, hazelnut, or rum are particularly nice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange powder
  • Add different flavors of dehydrated marshmallows to the mix
  • Throw in a few pieces of crushed peppermint, butterscotch, or cinnamon candies.
  • Try adding richness with chocolate, butterscotch, or white chocolate chips.
  • To each cup of cocoa, add 1 teaspoon of your favorite fruit powder (like raspberry).