Over the last week or so, autumn has really hit us. I’m still holding onto the no tights/socks, but we’ve had a lot of rain. And the evenings and mornings are so much darker. That means I’ve started drinking hot chocolate more regularly. I don’t drink tea or coffee, so hot chocolate is my only choice for hot drinks. I’ll have one at work if I’m feeling a bit cold or need a chocolate hit.
N is also partial to a hot chocolate, especially if it’s snowy. You can’t beat coming in after snowball fights and building snowmen, to a hot chocolate to warm up.. I tend to make it in the microwave, with milk and usually Cadbury hot chocolate. I prefer just squirty cream, but N likes cream and marshmallows.
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To make hot chocolate more special, especially if your children have friends round to play or you’re having a family movie or games night, why not have a hot chocolate bar with the drink on tap keeping warm. Then add a pick and mix topping area.
If you’ve never used one, a slow cooker is great for hot chocolate. It doesn’t take long to heat up the milk (no chance of overflowing like heating milk in the microwave). You can then just keep it warm, until you need it. I’ve provided 3 options for hot chocolate, from a lazy through to luxury version.
Lazy slow cooker hot chocolate
Buy the best hot chocolate you can buy – Cadbury’s drinking chocolate is fine, but try Charbonnel et Walker instead, which is darker chocolate pieces rather than powder. Multiply the quantity by the amount you need (or do what I do and guess – lots of milk and about 3-4 teaspoons of powder per person. Pop both in the slow cooker, cover and cook on low for a couple of hours, stir once or twice.
Make sure it’s hot chocolate for milk and not water otherwise it won’t be thick enough and just keep on warm/low until you want to drink it.
Luxury slow cooker hot chocolate
Luxury hot chocolate ingredients
1 litre milk
300ml double cream
200g dark chocolate, chopped
100g milk chocolate, chopped
1. Pour the milk and cream into the slow cooker. Add the 2 types of chocolate, put the lid on and cook on low for around 2.5 hours.
2. Stir at the half way stage and then about 15 minutes before you want to serve.
3. Serve in mugs and let everyone top with their preferred toppings.
4. Keep the hot chocolate on low/warming setting to keep warm for seconds and thirds.
Alternative super thick and sweet hot chocolate
Super thick and sweet hot chocolate ingredients
1/4 cup cocoa powder sifted
Can sweetened condensed milk
7 cups milk, ideally full fat, but semi skimmed is fine
1 cup double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1. Put all the ingredients in the slow cooker. Stir to combine
2. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours.
3. Stir well half way through and when the time is up to ensure all the chocolate is mixed in and smooth.
4. Keep on warm or low setting until ready to serve.
Hot chocolate ice cream float – oh yes!
Why not add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the top of your mug of hot chocolate to make a hot chocolate ice cream float. Just make sure you don’t overfill the drink before adding the ice cream, otherwise it could be going everywhere!
Hot chocolate bar ideas for toppings
For all hot chocolates, set up a toppings bar. You can use a variety of serving dishes depending on the age of children and style you want.
• Glass ramekins if only serving a couple of drinks
• Jam jars or mason jars if you are going to have regular hot chocolate bars
• Lazy Susan or party nibbles dishes – great for easy access for around a table
For the pick and mix toppings, think what adults and children might like.
Go fancy with setting up your hot chocolate station with a stand, sign or nice spoons. Try Etsy for hot chocolate station ideas.
For kids hot chocolate toppings:
- Mini marshmallows
- Chocolate sprinkles or choc chips
- Little fudge pieces.
- Chopped up gingerbread
- Squirty cream
- Hundreds and thousands
- Edible glitter
- Candy canes – crush them or have mini ones for decoration
- Flavoured syrups – peppermint, caramel, orange, gingerbread
- Edible gold leaf or glitter
- Little individual drink bottles – whisky, liqueurs etc
If you’re making a luxury thicker hot chocolate, why not do as the French do, and serve with croissants (or alternatively try Churros) to dip into a bowl of hot chocolate.
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How do you like your hot chocolate?