This perfectly-portioned recipe makes enough for one steaming mug. 

By Amy Zavatto
Updated December 26, 2017
Peppermint hot chocolate
Credit: Richard Eskite Photography/Getty Images

The warmth and decadence of a marshmallow-topped mug of hot chocolate has to be the most compelling reason to endure winter’s sting and chill.

But you can do so much better than ripping open a lackluster packet of pre-made hot cocoa mix when you want to make a single-serving of hot chocolate. In fact, you're just a few steps away from cozying up in your favorite chair, sipping on a homemade version.

First things first: There is a difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa. The former (also known as drinking chocolate) is made from solid semi or bittersweet chocolate, sometimes with an addition of cocoa powder, milk and heavy cream, and perhaps a little sugar or vanilla extract. The latter is made from cocoa powder, sugar, and hot milk or water.

The recipe below makes a decadent (but not too thick) version that can support your favorite hot chocolate accoutrements.

  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon Demerara or granulated sugar
  • 2 oz. good-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • Mini marshmallows or whipped cream, for serving

Add the milk, cream, cocoa powder, and sugar to a small saucepan over medium low heat. Gently stir until cocoa and sugar have dissolved, about 1 minute. Add in the semi-sweet chocolate and stir until completely melted, 4 to 5 minutes. Pour into a mug and top with marshmallows or whipped cream.

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