Yes. So much yes. There is nothing better in this world than a hot mug of cocoa warming your hands as the snow is coming down outside. Or, in Kansas’ case right now, no snow but BITTER cold temperatures. It was fifteen degrees this morning. Some of you North Dakota and Minnesota natives may be rolling your eyes at me right now, but for this North Carolinian, THAT IS AWFUL. The Cackalackies weren’t usually this cold!
I have two feelings about cold weather. One: if I’m outside while it is frigid, I HATE LIFE. Two: if I’m inside while it’s negative a billion degrees outside, I looove the cold, because it makes me feel very cozy while in my warm house. With my fire. And blanket. And hot chocolate ❤️.
There is something about drinking hot chocolate in winter…it just tastes better. I firmly believe that it tastes better in December than it does in June. Even if you make it the same way! It’s just not the saaammmeee, feel me?? And this hot chocolate is extra super special thanks to a few tricks.
The cool thing about these “tricks” is that we can utilize them while still keeping this recipe a super simple 5 minute process. It doesn’t taste like it’s made in five minutes, though, I’ll tell you that right now. This hot cocoa is rich, chocolatey, and so complex and flavorful. It’s as good as hot chocolate gets, people, and I’ve had a lot of hot chocolate!
So, the tricks!
- Salt. Some of you might be saying, “Um…duh?” and some of you might be thinking this sounds gross, but trust me and just try it out! Salt is probably the most important ingredient you can use in cooking because it brings out the flavors of the other ingredients you work with. When you are using salt in sweet recipes like this, you obviously don’t want to dump a teaspoon in there. But a pinch makes a big difference!
- Vanilla. Why would you add vanilla to a chocolate drink? Because…vanilla makes everything better. Adding it to the hot chocolate gives the entire recipe a more rounded, deep, complex flavor. It doesn’t make your hot chocolate taste like vanilla, I promise!
- Instant coffee. This one might be a bit more surprising to some of you, but coffee actually brings out the flavor of chocolate. You don’t add enough instant coffee to make it taste like coffee – it’s not like you’re drinking a mocha – but the coffee powder gives the hot chocolate such a deep richness and a more intense chocolate flavor. Which, helloooo, is GOOD!
And those are my tricks to the best hot chocolate in the entire universe. That you can make in 5 minutes! #winning.
Okay, I have been struggling to wait until now in this post to talk about this (had to rant about the delicious hot cocoa first), but GUESS WHAT WE ARE DOING TODAY??
Oh my gosh I’m so excited. Did you know that Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman) opened up a store/coffee shop/deli in Oklahoma recently?? First of all, I must preface. She is my favorite human. She was my inspiration to start my food blog, and I just love her so much. Could binge watch her show all day, could read her food blog all day, SO MUCH LOVE.
So several weeks ago, I was telling Seth about how awesome her store probably is and how cool it would be to go, and I google mapped how far it was from our house just for fun, thinking it was super far away. It is only three hours from us!!! So we have been trying to find a free weekend for the last couple of months that we could go, and today is the day!
If I meet her, I’m probably going to say something embarrassing and stupid, but it’s cool – worth it. One time I met Michael Clarke Duncan in an elevator (the massive dude from The Green Mile), and I panicked and said, “You were amazing in Mission Impossible!” Nope. Wrong actor. He was super nice about it, but – needless to say – when I get nervous, I word vomit ridiculous things.
Aaaanyway, I’ll let you know how it goes!
Have a wonderful weekend, friends!
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 2½ cups whole milk
- ¼ teaspoon instant coffee
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 pinch salt
- Marshmallows - optional
- In a small/medium pot, add your cocoa powder, sugar, and water over medium high heat
- Let this mixture heat up, whisking constantly, until it comes together and forms a uniform "chocolate sauce"
- Add your milk, instant coffee, salt, and vanilla and whisk thoroughly to combine
- Keep this mixture over the heat until it is almost simmering, whisking occasionally
- Serve (with marshmallows, of course)!
If you make this or any of my other recipes, be sure to Instagram it and hashtag #thegarlicdiaries!
In the mood for more hot chocolate recipes? Check these out: