When the cold weather hits, I always love to warm up with a cup of hot chocolate. Years ago, people didn’t drink hot chocolate like we do today.They simply roasted cocoa beans and mixed it with a little water and spices. Needless to say, the hot chocolate was pretty bitter! Today, chocolate has become increasingly popular as studies show the many health benefits that chocolate provides and the fact that we mix it with sugar now doesn’t hurt either! With the variety and access we have to chocolates today, we have so many options for making rich and decadent homemade hot chocolate during the holiday season.

Growing up I always drank the powdered mixes, but when I became a chef all of that changed and I quickly realized how much tastier homemade chocolate is and how it allowed me to get creative and really make it my own.

Don’t be intimidated by the word “homemade” or “made from scratch” though. Making hot chocolate at home really only takes about five basic ingredients. The fun comes in using different chocolates, adding different flavors to whipped creams, using different milks as a base to give it a whole new flavor, adding interesting toppings etc. There are so many possibilities! Personally, I like using coconut milk for whipped creams or even an almond milk if I’m going for a nutty flavor. You can even add a drop or two of peppermint flavor for something extra festive.

The hot chocolate recipe that I’m sharing today is made with a dark chocolate bar, full of antioxidants. I like using the dark chocolate because it’s not too sweet to start out with. It allows me to add more sweetness with other ingredients like caramel sauces, whipped creams, and other yummy toppings like marshmallows. You might think that this won’t be sweet enough, but just wait and see! The maple syrup in this recipe is very SWEET!

Classic Hot Chocolate Recipe with Coconut Whipped Cream




Serves 2 to 3

• 2 cups whole milk

• 3  1/2 ounces dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

• 2 tablespoons maple syrup or a few drops of liquid stevia

• 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

• Coconut Whipped Cream


1. Bring the milk just to a simmer over medium heat, then remove from heat and add dark chocolate. Let rest for 1 minute, then whisk until chocolate is melted and liquid is smooth.

2. Stir in vanilla bean paste and maple syrup or liquid stevia. Whisk in cocoa powder. Top with Coconut Whipped Cream and other desired toppings.

Coconut Whipped Cream: 

Serves 4

• 2 cans full-fat coconut milk, stored in the fridge for

two days (or purchase cans in which no fluid is heard

when gently shaken)

 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 2 tablespoons Xylitol sweetener or desired sweetener

• Pinch of salt

Scoop cream off the top of the coconut milk and place in a mixing bowl. Add cinnamon, vanilla extract, Xylitol or desired sweetener and salt. Whip by hand to desired consistency.

Recently, Indulge Magazine in Fort Worth asked me to put together a hot chocolate bar for an article in December’s issue, and boy did I have a lot of fun with it! Head on over to their website to see what other homemade hot chocolate recipes I share, my tips for making “adult” hot chocolate and how to style your own hot chocolate bar for the holidays! Read it here.