How To Make The Ultimate Hot Chocolate From Scratch

You have probably been making hot chocolate without a recipe for your entire life — for many, hot chocolate can mean dumping a few scoops of a mix into a mug, adding a few glugs of milk, and heating the whole thing in the microwave. Making hot chocolate from scratch was something you probably didn't even think to do. With a just a few simple steps, you'll realize how truly simple it is. Hot chocolate is like pancakes: Both aren't hard to make from scratch, but most people use mixes and the end results suffer.

How to Make the Ultimate Hot Chocolate From Scratch (Slideshow)

Click here to get The Ultimate Hot Chocolate Recipe

Think back to winter days when you played outside so long that the snow penetrated your boots, bulky leggings, and even the woolen mittens clipped to your sleeves. Nothing could cure that chill like hot cocoa. You can probably recall the warmth of the steaming cup warming your hands, the chocolate aroma, and the smooth taste. We've all had powdery hot cocoa — watery, with those occasional crunches of undissolved marshmallow clumps. Still, cocoa was — and still is — the best thing to stir into a mug on a winter afternoon.

What makes a great hot chocolate? There are many fine-quality cocoa powders on the market, but the best hot chocolate comes from a mixture of semisweet and milk chocolate combined. Dove Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate has intense, full, rich chocolate flavor that is not overly sweet. It has a super-creamy texture from abundant milk fat and cocoa butter. Ghirardelli semisweet chips or bars have intense complex flavors that are not gritty or grainy. These two combined create the "Ultimate Hot Chocolate."

Whether you booze it up with a teaspoon (or more) of Godiva Chocolate Liqueur or Frangelico or serve it "virgin," spice-laced with cinnamon or peppermint sticks, or top it with marshmallows, this recipe is guaranteed to produce wintry, chocolate bliss.

For more holiday cheer, visit The Daily Meal's Ultimate Guide to Christmas!