Peppermint Hot Chocolate is a cold weather favorite and perfect for the holiday season! This recipe includes two forms of chocolate and a trick that makes it extra rich and smooth.
This classic drink has never been better than making it yourself. You’ll never use hot cocoa packets again!
Perfect on a cold winter morning or evening by the fire.
You also won’t get any complaints if you leave a cup out for Santa. Trust me.
Luscious Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Remember the chocolate river at Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory?
This is THAT hot chocolate.
Thick, smooth and deeply rich with creamy chocolate flavor.
It takes hot cocoa up a few notches and makes it the main event.
The Secret Ingredient
Cornstarch. It makes a silky smooth, rich and thicker consistency.
It feels like drinking a decadent dessert!
Recipe Ingredients + Notes
Unsweetened cocoa powder. Be sure to use unsweetened cocoa powder. It might sound counter intuitive but it offers the best flavor. Adding sugar gives the sweetness.
Granulated Sugar. To sweeten the hot chocolate.
Cornstarch. May sound like a weird ingredient but it creates a silky, rich, thick consistency. It has virtually no flavor either.
Chocolate. You’ll use chopped chocolate. See the NOTES on this below.
Milk. Whole milk will offer the most richness due to the fat content. Other dairy milk could also be used. We have not tried this with plant milk but it should work too.
Heavy Cream. Just a bit of heavy cream is the finishing touch.
Vanilla Extract. Adds a warm vanilla flavor.
Whipped cream and candy canes. These are optional for serving the peppermint hot chocolate!
What type of chopped chocolate to use for Hot Chocolate?
I recommend a quality baking chocolate bar. Any type can be used: bittersweet, semi-sweet or dark.
The hot chocolate is very rich so unless you love dark chocolate I personally feel it might be overwhelming for most people.
How to Make it – Step-by-Step
STEP 1. Combine dry ingredients.
In a medium saucepan combine the unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar and cornstarch. Whisk together (photos 1-2).
STEP 2. Add the wet ingredients.
Slowly pour in the milk and whisk to incorporate (photo 3). NOTE: the cocoa powder will make little clumps but they will blend in with whisking.
Place the saucepan on the stove top over medium heat and heat stirring or whisking constantly for 2 minutes.
Add the vanilla and peppermint extracts and heavy cream (photo 4). Cook an additional 2 minutes whisking constantly (photo 5 shows after cooking).
STEP 3. Add the chocolate.
Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate (photo 6). Allow the mixture to sit for 2 minutes then stir/whisk to fully mix together (photo 7).
Taste and add more peppermint extract if desired for a stronger peppermint flavor.
STEP 4. Serve hot.
Serve hot with whipping cream and a candy cane (optional).
Also crushed candy canes can be added on top of whipped cream on top. This will add more peppermint and look festive too!
How to thin the Peppermint Hot Chocolate
As mentioned the hot chocolate is thicker and richer than regular homemade hot cocoa.
The consistency is really a matter of personal taste.
If after making it you would like to thin it or have cocoa drinkers who want it slightly thinner, stir in some additional warm milk until reaching your preferred consistency.
If the peppermint extract is omitted the base rich hot chocolate recipe can be changed in many ways!
Here are some variations:
Salted Caramel. Stir in some Salted Caramel Sauce.
Butter Rum Toffee. This Butter Rum Toffee sauce was my Grandmother’s and to say it’s delicious is an incredible understatement.
Buttery, sweet with the slight flavor of rum. We eat it on Gingerbread Cake and Eggnog Cheesecake.….for starters.
Mocha. Add some prepared coffee OR coffee extract. And you can also include the peppermint extract for a Peppermint Mocha Hot Chocolate!
For a boozy Mocha Hot Chocolate add some coffee liqueur!
Mexican Hot Chocolate. Add some cinnamon in with the dry ingredients. We love Pumpkin Mexican Hot Chocolate in the fall!
Boozy Peppermint Hot Chocolate. Swap the extract for Creme de Menthe liqueur!
Nutella or Peanut Butter. If you are a chocolate and nut lover, stir in some nutella or peanut butter.
Bailey’s Irish Cream. Another liqueur favorite that goes great with this rich hot chocolate recipe.
Store any leftovers in a sealed jar or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To reheat: reheat over medium-low heat on the stove top stirring occasionally.