How to Make the Best Hot Chocolate at Home

Advice from a pro on how to make homemade hot chocolate that blows the watery powdered kind out of the water

Find out how to make homemade hot chocolate the L.A. Burdick way. 

During the cold winter months, there are few things more enjoyable or comforting than a steaming mug of hot chocolate. Yet, when making it at home, the results always seem to be inconsistent. When you use those packages of powdered mix, homemade hot chocolate tends to end up watery, sickeningly fake sweet, and lacking the inherent richness and flavor of real chocolate. (Seriously, just check out some of these responses from our hot chocolate mix taste test.)

L.A. Burdick’s hot chocolate is known as some of the best hot chocolate in the country, and we wanted to know how they do it; what is it about their hot chocolate that makes it so incredibly delicious? For the answer, we chatted with Claudie, the store manager at L.A. Burdick’s SoHo neighborhood location, to find out how to make homemade hot chocolate the L.A. Burdick way.

First of all, Claudie tells us that in order to make good hot chocolate you must use high-quality chocolate. (No brainer, right?) She, of course, recommends L.A. Burdick’s own drinking chocolate shavings (a 12-ounce bag of L.A. Burdick’s Drinking Chocolate shavings retails for $22.00 online), but you can use your favorite chocolate, too. As for whether to use milk chocolate, white chocolate, or dark chocolate (or perhaps even a combo), we’ll leave that up to you.

Start by heating the milk just until near scalding, taking care not boil the milk or turn the heat up too high as you risk burning the milk on the bottom of the pan affecting both the flavor and texture. Next, L.A. Burdick’s uses a 50-50 ratio of chocolate shavings to milk. This ratio is the key to hot chocolate success as it ensures the drink will indeed be thick, decadent, and delicious; it also ensures the beverage will be incredibly smooth, silky, and light enough to have a whole mug of it.

Once your milk is hot, pour in the chocolate and whisk constantly until delectably smooth.

The fat content of the milk can also be determined by the drinker, but note that whole milk will result in a richer final product. Although, Claudie says that when at home she like to make her hot chocolate with almond milk. After she whisks in her chocolate, she sticks her mug in the fridge where her almond milk hot chocolate will solidify and become a thick and dreamy mousse!

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Once the chocolate is successfully melted into the hot milk, garnish your hot chocolate with cinnamon, chile powder, a dollop of whipped cream, more chocolate shavings, marshmallows, or a combination of whatever strikes you as delicious!