With fifteen days till Christmas and just one day until my birthday (the big 21, guys), I’m feeling upbeat and indulgent. Earlier today, I shared a traditional Jamaican Christmas cake recipe with you all, but the sweet-fest is not over. I repeat, the sweet-fest is NOT OVER! Not until you run to the kitchen right now and make this silky peppermint French hot chocolate!
I love an instant mix as much as the next gal, but nothing beats homemade, from-scratch hot chocolate. What you’ll love about this recipe is it that it yields a rich and comforting drink that’s not cloyingly sweet. We’ll start with a simple base, which you can then sweeten to your taste. So you can have your chocolate and drink it too!
With only eight ingredients, this peppermint French hot chocolate is ready in only ten minutes. It’s the perfect drink for an evening on the couch spent watching too much Netflix. Bonus question: when do you know you’ve had enough Netflix? For me, it’s when I’m twelve seasons into Grey’s Anatomy, which I’ve already binged watched like six times. Oh, life.
Anyways, this recipe is on the small-batch side. It yields enough to serve two people, but you can double (or triple) the recipe if you’ve got lots of hungry, hungry hippos in your house!
What is French hot chocolate
Also known as chocolat chaud or drinking chocolate, this classic drink is made with milk, and high-quality real chocolate. It is usually prepared with chopped up bittersweet chocolate with around 60-70% cacao.
My take on this Parisian treat is made with 2% milk, half and half, 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt to balance it all out. Extra flavor comes from quality vanilla and peppermint extracts.
How to make peppermint French hot chocolate from scratch
Homemade hot chocolate is truly soooo easy to make. Three questions for you: do you have a stove? Do you know how to turn the stove on? Do you know how to mix together ingredients? If you said yes to all of the above, congratulations, you can make your own hot chocolate:
- Set a small, heavy-bottomed pot to medium heat. Add milk, half and half, cocoa powder, and salt, stirring frequently. Heat until very warm, but not boiling. Next, add chopped chocolate, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract. You only need the tiniest amount of peppermint extract, because that shit is strong! Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
- Remove the pot from the heat and stir in 1/4 teaspoon of granulated sugar, plus more to your taste. Adjust the sweetness until it fits your liking. Pour into mugs and enjoy!
Tips for making the best homemade hot chocolate
- Use high-quality ingredients: When you have something like hot chocolate, with so few ingredients, the quality really really matters. Be sure to use real vanilla and peppermint extract, good cocoa powder, and the best chocolate you can find. I prefer Ghirardelli chocolate products for all my cooking and baking.
- Go easy on the extracts: Just a splash of vanilla and about 1/8 or a 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint. Believe me, if you use too much mint, your cup will taste like toothpaste. Unless you’re into drinking toothpaste…no judgement from my end.
- Don’t get carried away: Hot chocolate can go from good to waaaay too much very easily. That’s why I suggest using only half of whatever chocolate bar you use. In one test of this recipe, I used the entire chocolate bar, and it was just too rich for my taste. Go easy on adding in sugar, as well.
- Top it up: Marshmallows and whipped cream are MANDATORY hot cocoa toppings. Sorry, I don’t make the rules…but I also suggest topping with caramel syrup, chocolate syrup, or crushed up candy canes!
Other chocolate-wasted recipes…
Peppermint French Hot Chocolate
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup half and half
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 ounces 60-70% cacao bittersweet chocolate (about half of a normal 8oz bar) finely chopped
- splash of vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar plus more to taste
- On the stovetop, set a small, heavy-bottomed pot to medium heat. Add milk, half and half, cocoa powder, and salt. Heat until warm, but not boiling, stirring frequently.
- Once the cocoa powder is well combined into the liquid, add chopped chocolate, vanilla, and peppermint. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Remove pot from heat and stir in the sugar. Taste and adjust sweetness and flavor to your liking (you can add a little more peppermint or vanilla if you'd like). Pour into mugs and serve warm with toppings of your choice.
- Nutrition facts are only an estimate.