Hot Chocolate Recipe

A rich, European-style Hot Chocolate- the perfect cure for bad moods and the perfect accompaniment to a cold day.

A rich, European-Style Hot Chocolate made using real chocolate.

Whether you are three or three-hundred (if you manage to reach that age, kudos), there is some variation of hot chocolate that can be made to your liking. After having lived in Europe for the larger part of my life, I have grown accustomed to a thick, velvety hot chocolate (not as thin as chocolate milk but not quite as thick as pudding- somewhere in the middle), that we prepare using good quality chocolate and perhaps a touch of cream should you wish.

The hot chocolate base I’ve provided for you today is easily alterable. If you would like a more decadent beverage (more of a dessert, come to think of it), you may use half cream/half milk instead of the all-milk combo. I ask that you use full-fat milk, because a thinner variety may not give you the same consistency and richness.

In terms of the chocolate, the best kind to use is one that you enjoy eating plain, right out of its neat paper or foil wrapping. If you choose to use pure dark chocolate, you’ll most likely need to add some sugar to counter the bitterness. I prefer to use a combination of milk and dark chocolate- this way I have one less ingredient to add.

european hot chocolate

The texture is also a personal preference: While some people like a thick drink, others prefer a thinner, lighter version. For a thick, almost ganache-like chocolate, cook the base gently over low heat for 5-10 minutes. For a thinner consistency, add between 1/2 to 1 cup more of milk. As it is written, the recipe generously serves two, but it can easily serve twice as many people if a.) you thin it out significantly or b.) you decide it is too rich to serve only two. Although I may beg to differ if you go with the latter.

Hot Chocolate


For the base:

  • 130 g (5 oz) chocolate (I use a combination of milk and dark)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 cups (500 mL) whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • Optional add-in suggestions:
  • 2 tbsp Bailey's Irish Cream
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp Nutella
  • 2 tsp orange zest

For the whipped cream:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 tbsp confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


To prepare the hot chocolate:

  1. Roughly chop up the chocolate and set aside. I like to use both, milk and dark, but you could go with either/or (if you're doing all dark, you may need to add about 1 tbsp of brown sugar to balance it out).
  2. In a small saucepan, add the cornstarch.
  3. Gradually stir in the milk, making sure there are no lumps of cornstarch
  4. Add the instant espresso powder (cinnamon/orange zest if using).
  5. Place the saucepan over slow-medium heat and cook gently till the mixture begins to boil, about 5 minutes. Make sure to stir, scraping the bottom to prevent the milk and cornstarch from scorching the pan.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and add in the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for 30 seconds, then stir with a whisk till the mixture is more or less homogeneous. At this stage, you can cover the surface of the hot chocolate with cling wrap and store in the refrigerator over night or until ready to use. I find the longer the chocolate mixture sets, the richer the flavor (at this stage, you can add the Nutella/Bailey's if using).
  7. To serve, place the mixture back onto the stove top and cook over low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly till you have attained your desired thickness and heat level. If you find that the hot chocolate is too thick for your liking, just add some more milk. The richer the chocolate, the smaller the portion size you'll have to account for.

To prepare the whipping cream:

  1. Whisk all the ingredients together until you're left with a thickened, aerated mass. To serve the hot chocolate, pour into small cups, dollop with the cream and sprinkle with some grated chocolate.
  2. Because this is freshly whipped cream, it should condense into a thin foam layer and will not retain its thickness.

A rich, European-Style Hot Chocolate made using real chocolate. This is more like the mug pictured in the video ๐Ÿ™‚