This Peppermint Hot Chocolate is easy to make in 5 minutes with just 5 ingredients. It's velvety smooth and creamy with an intensely deep chocolate flavor infused with crushed peppermint candy - The ultimate comforting beverage on a chilly night!
The peppermint hot chocolate is creamy and undeniably chocolatey and infused with peppermint flavors. It's pure chocolate heaven especially on when you are baking last minute Christmas recipes.
Chilly nights call for warm cozy beverages in front of the fireplace like the mocha latte.
What's the difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate? Although both are very similar, there are slight differences between the two.
Hot cocoa is lighter with a mild chocolate flavor, typically made from cocoa powder, sugar, and sometimes milk. So, it's a less rich drink compared to hot chocolate. Have you checked out my gingerbread hot cocoa cookie cups?
Hot chocolate, on the other hand, is thicker, richer, creamier, indulgent witha more intense chocolate flavor. It requires melting chocolate chunks or chips into hot milk to create a rich and smooth beverage.
This peppermint hot chocolate recipe combines cocoa powder, adding distinct hot cocoa flavor, along with melted chocolate chips that contribute to its creamy, rich, decadant and luxurious taste.
If you love Ghiradelli peppermint bark, then this is for you!
This recipe uses crushed candy canes instead of peppermint extract for several reasons. Peppermint extract has a tendency to be overly strong, potentially overpowering the drink.
Additionally, compared to extracts, candy canes are more readily available, commonly found in every store or pharmacy you visit during the holiday season. Have more candy canes? Make these peppermint cookies.
Why you'll love this?
- It is rich, luxurious, smooth and decadent.
- Forget instant ones from a packet and make this recipe at home with real ingredients.
- Ready in 5 minutes using 5 ingredients.
- The perfect Holiday drink for the chilly season.
Scroll down to the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and amounts.
- Cocoa powder - Since there is no baking involved, you can use either natural unsweetened or dutch-process here.
- Chocolate chips - I prefer keeping it simple by using semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of bars, like in almond butter cups, since they are commonly stocked in most pantries.
- Milk - Whole milk makes a creamy peppermint hot chocolate, but feel free to use skim milk for a healthier twist. Also, replacing some of the milk with heavy cream makes an ultra-rich drink.
- Sugar - White sugar accentuates the flavors of peppermint and enhances the rich chocolate taste.
- Peppermint - Stir 3 to 4 tablespoons of finely crushed candy canes into the hot chocolate.
Best chocolate to use - Best ingredients make the best peppermint hot chocolate! I suggest using Ghiradelli, Guittard or Valrhona semi sweet chocolate chips (which contains 35-40% cocoa) for the most luxurious drink.
Bittersweet tends to make it darker and you might have to increase the quantity of sugar. Use milk chocolate for a sweeter and less chocolatey drink.
One of the best parts of preparing peppermint hot chocolate from scratch is the ability to customize it according to your preferences.
- Add a dash of peppermint extract for a stronger peppermint flavor.
- Like it richer? Use half and half instead of whole milk.
- Use bittersweet chocolate for a deeper chocolate flavor.
- Add spices such as ground cinnamon, nutmeg, chai spices or pumpkin pie spice.
- Stir in some salted caramel sauce for caramelly twist.
- Use coconut milk, almond or oat milk instead of regular milk.
- Stir in a teaspoon or two of peanut butter, for an irresistible chocolate peanut butter combo as in peanut butter fudge.
- Spike it with a shot of Baileys Irish cream, peppermint vodka, rum or whisky. About 1 and ½ ounces of liquor, is recommended per serving.
- Add a strip of fresh orange zest, as in cranberry orange sauce.
How to make?
You can find full printable recipe below, but here is a quick overview of the procedure along with step-by-step photos.
1. Pour milk into a sauce pan, placed over medium heat.
Pro tip: The ideal ratio of chocolate to milk when making hot chocolate is about 1 ounce of chocolate per 1 cup of milk. For a richer and more intense chocolate flavor, you can increase the amount of chocolate. Conversely, if you prefer a lighter taste, you may decrease the chocolate ratio slightly.
2. Add cocoa powder and sugar, and whisk frequently until warm but not boiling.
3. Add chocolate chips and crushed candy canes and whisk constantly until chocolate chips and candy canes have melted.
Tip: Easiest way to crush candy canes is to place the unwrapped candy canes into a plastic bag and lightly bang on them with a rolling pin, meat mallet or the back of heavy cast iron skillet. And if you have leftover candy canes, it’s the perfect excuse to try in chocolate peppermint bark.
4. Remove from heat and serve hot with whipped cream if desired.
How to serve?
Like the Oreo mug cake, this peppermint hot chocolate recipe is decadent as it is made, you can kick it up a notch with whipped cream, marshmallows, and crushed or a whole candy cane.
Adults might like to enjoy a spiked version with a shot of Baileys Irish cream, rum or peppermint vodka.
Make Ahead instructions
It is best enjoyed right away however, it can be made a few hours ahead and stored at room temperature or refrigerated.
- To reheat from room temperature - Make sure you give it a good stir, then ladle the mixture into microwave-safe mugs and heat it in the microwave on low heat until warmed through.
- To reheat from refrigerator - When refrigerated, hot chocolate tends to thicken as the chocolate solidifies in the cold. To restore its consistency, gently warm it on the stovetop over very low heat until it is warmed through.
- Cook over medium-low heat to avoid burning.
- Use good quality ingredients.
- Crush candy canes very fine so they melt easily.
Yes! Cocoa beans naturally contain caffeine, so peppermint hot chocolate, made with cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate, typically contains a small amount of caffeine. However, the caffeine content in hot chocolate is generally lower compared to coffee or tea.
Absolutely! However, it's important to note that peppermint extract can easily overpower the drink, becoming excessively strong. For this recipe, I opted solely for candy canes since they are widely available, commonly found in virtually every store or pharmacy during the holiday season.
Sure can! Follow the steps below to easily make in your instant pot:
1. Press saute button on the Instant pot, and add milk, cocoa powder and sugar.
2. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens and starts to gently bubble.
3. Stir in the chocolate chips and crushed candy canes, and keep stirring until mixture becomes smooth and creamy. Don't let it come to a boil.
More chocolate treats
Peppermint Hot Chocolate
- Add milk, cocoa powder and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, whisking frequently until warm, but not boiling.
- Add chocolate chips, crushed candy canes and whisk constantly until chocolate chips and candy canes have melted.Tip: Easiest way to crush candy canes is to place the unwrapped candy canes into a plastic bag and lightly bang on them with a rolling pin, meat mallet or the back of heavy cast iron skillet.
- Remove from heat and serve hot with whipped cream if desired.
Nutritional information, based on third-party calculations, should be seen as estimates, not guarantees, as various factors like product types, brands, processing methods, and more can alter the nutritional content in recipes.
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