There is nothing that shouts “Hello, Winter!” quite as loudly as peppermint-enhanced anything. However, the peppermint-chocolate combination, in all its many forms, has long been a perennial favorite for satisfying a wintertime sweet tooth. There is no doubt that while candies, cakes, and cookies that employ this famous duo are all scrumptious, there is absolutely NOTHING that tops a steaming hot cup of peppermint hot chocolate (well, except a tower of whipped cream or a mountain of marshmallows, of course!).
There are several ways to go about crafting the perfect cup of thick, creamy, mint-chocolaty perfection. The great thing is that you can make it whenever the mood strikes or create a batch in advance for all of your holiday merrymaking. It is just as simple to make a whole pot as it is to make one cup! Have a slow-cooker full on your countertop that your family can enjoy with cookies on a snow day. If you’re entertaining a crowd, consider presenting a hot chocolate bar with a variety of minty garnishes that will be sure to please all your guests! Offer up some crushed candy canes or peppermint sticks for stirring. Shaved chocolate is always delicious and children would most certainly enjoy showering their cups with winter-themed sprinkles.
When considering how to go about flavoring your hot chocolate, you have a few options. For example, crushed and melted candy canes will absolutely do the trick, although it may be slightly more difficult to gauge how minty the finished product will turn out. Also, it is a little more time-consuming. If you want to be fully in control of your peppermint-to-chocolate ratio, choose an extract. Pure peppermint extract is best. You can also use peppermint oil, although you will need far less of it, so be careful! If you’re looking to indulge in a cozy nightcap, peppermint schnapps is an ideal choice.
The Ultimate Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1-2 small mugs
(Or one large mug if you don’t feel like sharing!)
What You Will Need:
• 1 cup whole or 2% milk
• ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
• Sweeten to taste with sugar, 1-2 Tbsp.
• 3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate or ½ cup chocolate chips
• ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
• 1/8 tsp. peppermint extract, or your choice of peppermint flavoring to taste
• Pinch of kosher salt, to cut the sweetness
• Your favorite garnishes (whipped cream, marshmallows, etc.)
1. In a large saucepot over medium-low heat, whisk together the milk, cream, sugar, and salt.
2. When bubbles begin to form around the side of the pot, reduce heat to low and add chocolate and extracts. Whisk for 1-2 minutes, or until the chocolate is melted and glossy. It will also be slightly thickened.
3. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy with as much whipped cream or as many marshmallows as your heart desires! Don’t forget the candy cane stirring stick!
If you would rather your hot chocolate not be quite so rich, you can decrease the amount of chocolate you add to 2 ounces or 1/3 cup. Also, feel free to replace the heavy cream with an additional 1 ¼ cups of whole or 2% milk.
If you are a white chocolate aficionado, don’t worry, you were not forgotten here! To create your perfect cup, leave out the sugar and substitute 2 ounces, or 1/3 cup, of white chocolate that has been finely chopped or white chocolate chips in lieu of the semi-sweet.
Adriana is a baker owns her own bake shop. She also teaches classes at a local community center and workshops. She also volunteers on various feeding programs.