The Indulgent Powder That Will Change Hot Chocolate Forever

Whether you prefer to order hot chocolate or make a homemade version, you pretty much always know exactly what you're getting: a chocolatey drink with a bit of milk and maybe some toppings for a seasonal twist. But it's not just marshmallows, whipped cream, and peppermint candy that make a warm cup of hot chocolate all the more delicious.

Although there are many unexpected ways to level up a mug of hot chocolate, one in particular stands out because it's backed by professional chefs. All you need to do to give hot chocolate an unforgettable luscious contrast is add a powdered ingredient that you can probably find at your local supermarket. 

When one chef tried this flavor combination for the first time, it was an instant hit — she squealed and proclaimed it "so good." If you add vanilla powder to your hot chocolate, you might love this sweet, flavorful addition just as much as she did.

Why you should add vanilla powder to hot chocolate

Chocolate and vanilla is a classic flavor contrast combination, but vanilla usually doesn't make its way into hot chocolate. Considering the ways vanilla can bring out flavors in other dishes, though, why not try it?

Vanilla powder is a quick, easy, and flavorful addition to hot chocolate, and it can take a simple flavor profile to new heights with a complex blend of flavors. When professional chef Ines Anguiano shared her vanilla powder hot chocolate with fellow chef Kendra Vaculin, Vaculin commented on how the vanilla flavor makes the chocolate stand out. 

"The chocolate is so much more punchy because it has the vanilla... bubbling it up," she explained. If you opt to top your hot chocolate with whipped cream, you might want to add vanilla powder as well for a sweet, creamy sip that tastes just like vanilla ice cream. Vanilla powder is typically pricier than other vanilla-based alternatives, such as vanilla extract. But according to these chefs, when it comes to hot chocolate, it's a worthy investment.

Other ways to level up hot chocolate

That luscious chocolate-vanilla contrast is just one of many ways to take an ordinary mug of hot chocolate to the next level. There are so many ways you can upgrade traditional hot chocolate, and they'll all leave you craving the warm beverage all year long.

As is the case with vanilla powder, many hot chocolate add-ins aren't necessarily toppings (though some could certainly make a top-notch whipped cream drizzle). If you prefer hot chocolate with a bit of spice to counteract all that sweetness, make it a Mexican hot chocolate with a sprinkle of chili powder and a touch of cinnamon. Can't live without coffee, coffee, and more coffee? Add your favorite beverage to hot chocolate for a drink that'll both warm your heart and energize your body. If you love the sweetness of traditional hot chocolate but are looking for a change, add a bit of maple syrup for a flawless maple-chocolate blend. 

And if you enjoy your drinks a little bit boozy, hot chocolate pairs well with bourbon, rum, and peppermint or chocolate liqueur. If you prefer wine, though, you can add a splash of red wine to hot chocolate instead. It may sound strange, but red wine and chocolate are a satisfying pair. Once you try vanilla powder hot chocolate, you'll never want to go back — but there are plenty of other delectable ways to bolster that cup of cocoa, too.