5 Twists on Traditional Hot Chocolate

As winter approaches, the desire to stay warm and cozy grows stronger. What better way to comfort yourself this season than with a sweet and delicious cup of hot chocolate? If you're tired of the usual cocoa and marshmallow mixture, there are plenty of ways to spruce up this traditional winter beverage. Mix things up a bit this holiday season by taking on one of these new and exciting twists on the class cup of hot chocolate.

1. Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa
Chocolate and peanut butter have a way with each other – one that really makes people go crazy over the delicious combination. Martha Stewart Living's recipe for this divine sweet drink is great for any peanut butter cup lover. You'll need:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 ounces chopped milk chocolate about 1 cup
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter.

Simply warm milk and cream in a medium saucepan over a medium-low heat setting. Add chocolate to the mixture and whisk until combined. Warm the mixture until you have a thick consistency – this should take about 5 minutes. Finally, whisk in peanut butter until smooth and enjoy.

2. Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Nothing says holiday season quite like peppermint does. Give Baker's Royale Peppermint Hot Chocolate recipe a go this winter. You'll need:

  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
  • 1 quart milk
  • 2 tablespoons of crushed peppermint chocolate candies.

Place ingredients in a heavy-bottom sauce pan and warm over medium-low heat setting. Stir the mixture until chocolate is melted and all of the ingredients are combined. Pour yourself a cup and garnish with leftover peppermint candy.

3. Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
If you're a fan of salty mixed with sweet, you'll love this recipe from Savory Sweet Life. You'll need:

  • 3 tablespoons caramel syrup, heated
  • 4 tablespoons of chocolate
  • 6 ounces of milk
  • Canned whipped cream
  • 1 pinch medium coarse sea salt.

First, mix chocolate and milk over heat in medium sauce pan to create the ganache. Pour 2 tablespoons of caramel syrup into a mug to coat the inside. Pour hot chocolate into the mug and cover with whipped cream. Drizzle remaining caramel sauce over the top and sprinkle with sea salt. Enjoy this sweet and salty treat on a cold afternoon.

4. Cinnamon Nutella Hot Cocoa
Hazelnut spread is great way to spruce up your breakfast, but have you considered putting it in your hot chocolate? This tasty recipe from Miss in the Kitchen will change everything you thought you knew about a great cup of hot cocoa. You'll need:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons Nutella
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Whipped cream.

Heat milk in a small sauce pan and stir frequently. Add Nutella and cinnamon, whisking until the mixture is smooth and fully combined. Pour into a festive Christmas mug and garnish with whipped cream topping and an extra sprinkle of cinnamon. Enjoy!

5. Slow Cooker Mexican Hot Chocolate
This recipe from Little Spice Jar will spice up your traditional cup of hot chocolate. You'll need:

  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 4 ounces bitter sweet chocolate
  • 7 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 4 cups whole milk.

Combine the hot water and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Stir the mixture until smooth. Next, add the bittersweet chocolate, condensed milk, cinnamon stick, cinnamon powder, nutmeg, chili powder, whole milk to your slow cooker. Add the cocoa powder mixture. Heat the hot chocolate on low for 2 hours, stirring the mixture every 30 minutes. Pour yourself a mug of this beverage and enjoy the delicious blend of spices.