A Pinch Of Salt Will Take Your Hot Chocolate To The Next Level

Hot chocolate is luxurious and oh-so-sweet to drink no matter the time of year. That rich combination of milk, chocolate, and sugar is simple, and the ease of creation is just one of the many characteristics of hot chocolate that makes it so appealing. 

While the ingredient list for most hot chocolate drinks is short, there are some additives you should make sure never to skip. One such special ingredient you should always be adding to your hot chocolate if you're not already, is salt.

Salt does exceptionally well in chocolate drinks for two reasons. For one, salt has the power to tame bitter tastes. Dark or bittersweet chocolate is often used to make hot chocolate because of the rich texture it lends to the drink. A little bit of sugar combined with a pinch of salt can go a long way in letting the texture of the chocolate shine while giving a sweet edge to the taste. Salt can also be helpful in these recipes as it helps achieve a balanced flavor between the bitter and the sweet. Next, salt helps elevate hot chocolate thanks to its power to enhance sweet flavors.

How salt enhances sweet

Salt is more than a simple seasoning; it's also a very well-known enhancer of all types of flavors. The immense power of salt comes down to chemistry. Certain flavor receptors in our mouths are strangely only activated once salt is present. This scientific fact, in turn, means salt really does make sweet things taste better and more complex. Subtle flavors, once lost in translation, come to the forefront, which makes for an even more delicious dessert or drink. The same phenomenon can be said for our smell receptors, which open up more once exposed to salt.

Even a dash of salt packs a big punch, and since it just takes a few seconds to add this step to an ingredients list, why not spare the time? After all, salty desserts like salted caramel ice cream do so well, so why shouldn't salt belong in your hot chocolate recipe, too?

Other ways to elevate hot chocolate

Salt is a powerful additive for hot chocolate, but isn't the only one to try. Baking extracts are other common additives that can elevate the flavor of this drink. Vanilla and almond extracts, for example, can bring a unique flavor twist to the cup. (Almond hot chocolate, anyone?) Reach for something else from your spice rack for other notable additions. Cinnamon and cardamom can add a spicy twist to hot chocolate, setting it apart from other traditional varieties.

To enhance the chocolate flavors of this drink specifically, a little dash of coffee can do the trick. Coffee is an excellent complement to chocolate (as many mocha lovers will know), so this addition can make for something extra delicious. If you enjoy tasting the coffee, try adding a shot of espresso to your cup. Otherwise, adding a dash of espresso powder to the mix will not bring on a coffee flavor but will enhance the taste of chocolate. Since you already have salt in your cup, drizzling caramel in this drink can make for a leisurely cup of salted caramel hot chocolate. Just sprinkle a little sea salt on the mug for garnish, and you're all set. 

No matter how you enjoy your hot chocolate, it's hard to go wrong. So sprinkle a little sea salt according to your liking and enjoy.