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The BEST Hot Chocolate {Slow Cooker or Stove Top}

Whether you whip it up on the stove top or in the slow cooker, this combination of chocolate, milk, and 1/2-&-1/2 makes the BEST Hot Chocolate ... tried, taste-tested and family approved.
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A while back, I shared my recipe for Slow Cooker Caramel Hot Chocolate.  And what a mug of total deliciousness that stuff is.

Well making that batch of caramel-infused hot chocolate inspired our 6-year-old daughter and me to wonder, just what does make up the BEST mug of hot chocolate?  Is it the good-old packets of powdered mix you buy in the box at the grocery store?  Or homemade hot chocolate mix?  

Or, is it truly  homemade hot chocolate made with melted chocolate and milk?  If it's the truly homemade kind, does the type of chocolate make a difference?  What about the milk ~ should it be all milk, or all cream?  Or a combination of the two?

So with all these questions in our minds, Little Miss H. and I set about doing some testing and tasting.

First we mixed up mugs of hot chocolate made with store-bought powdered mix, our own homemade hot chocolate mix, and hot chocolate with simmered milk and melted semi-sweet chocolate.

Now while we certainly wouldn't turn any of the mugs down, the simmered-on-the-stove, made-with-melted-chocolate mug was the clear hands-down winner.  It had a much richer, much "clearer" chocolate flavor than those made with powdered mixes.

Whether you whip it up on the stove top or in the slow cooker, this combination of chocolate, milk, and 1/2-&-1/2 makes the BEST Hot Chocolate ... tried, taste-tested and family approved.

So once we had determined that making your own hot chocolate with milk and actual chocolate was the best route to go, we set out to see if the type of milk and the type of chocolate make a difference.

The short answer to this question?  YES ... the type of milk and the type of chocolate make a pretty big difference.

Again, while we certainly wouldn't turn down any of the mugs we tried, here are our findings on what we tested and what makes the best hot chocolate:

Type of Milk
What we tested: whole milk, 1/2-&-1/2, heavy cream, and different combinations of each
Best result:  a combination of about half whole milk and about half 1/2-&-1/2
Our findings:  Whole milk alone was certainly good, but was made even better by mixing it in combination with 1/2-&-1/2.  Heavy cream was a bit too thick and rich, both alone and in combination.  We liked the whole milk and 1/2-&-1/2 together best!

Type of Chocolate
What we tested: all milk chocolate, all semi-sweet chocolate, and a mixture of milk chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate together
Best result:  all milk chocolate
Our findings:  We liked the version made with all milk chocolate the best. For a more dark chocolate taste, a mix of 1 cup milk chocolate chips + 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips can be used ... which we did like, just not as well as the all-milk-chocolate.  While you can certainly make this with semi-sweet chocolate chips alone if you'd like, we weren't fond of the flavor.


So in our humble opinion?  The BEST hot chocolate ... whether you whip it up on the stove top or in a slow cooker ... is made with a combination of whole milk and 1/2-&-1/2 with real MILK chocolate melted in.  A small touch of confectioners' sugar, a tad of vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt round out the flavor nicely.

But for me, experimentation is what food and cooking is all about! ... I encourage you to use this recipe as a base and try out different combinations to see what your  BEST hot chocolate is.

Happy sipping!

Whether you whip it up on the stove top or in the slow cooker, this combination of chocolate, milk, and 1/2-&-1/2 makes the BEST Hot Chocolate ... tried, taste-tested and family approved.
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The BEST Hot Chocolate {Slow Cooker or Stove Top}
(Printable recipe)
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 c. whole milk
  • 2 c.  1/2 & 1/2
  • 8 oz. (1 1/2 c.) milk chocolate chips*
  • 1 T. confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • mini marshmallows or whipped cream for garnish
Stove Top Directions
  1. Place milk and 1/2 & 1/2 in a saucepan or Dutch oven.  Heat over medium heat until simmering. 
  2. Remove pot from the heat and add the milk chocolate chips, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and salt.  Reduce heat to low, return pot to the heat, and whisk until the chocolate is fully melted. 
  3. Spoon into mugs and top each mug with marshmallows or whipped cream, if desired.

Slow Cooker Directions
  1. Place milk, 1/2 & 1/2, milk chocolate chips, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and salt in a slow cooker. Cook on LOW setting for 2 - 3 hours until creamy and all chocolate chips are melted, stirring about every 30 minutes.
  2. Spoon into mugs and top each mug with marshmallows or whipped cream, as desired.
  3. Keep warm for several hours with the slow cooker on the WARM or LOW setting. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated later on the stove top or in the microwave.

*We tested with milk chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and a combination of the two.  We like milk chocolate chips the best.  If you'd like a more dark chocolate taste, use 1 c. milk chocolate chips + 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips.  While you can certainly make this with semi-sweet chocolate chips alone if you'd like, we weren't fond of the flavor.

Enjoy!





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Please enjoy these other hot chocolate drinks from The Kitchen is My Playground ...

Slow Cooker Caramel Hot Chocolate

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Peppermint Patty Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate Martini


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This post is linked with Weekend Potluck.

1 comment

  1. A great cup of hot chocolate! Happy Valentine Day and thanks so much for sharing your awesome talent with us at Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen

    ReplyDelete

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