Homemade peppermint hot chocolate is a total fan favorite here. Some links are affiliate links that earn me a commission if you purchase anything through them.
While the weather in Chicago hasn’t been traditional winter, that doesn’t mean I don’t still take advantage of the “weather” and indulge. Hot chocolate is a winner even when it isn’t -20.
I have a favorite decadent hot chocolate like the chocolat chaud I grew up drinking. As delicious as that is – especially with a shot of something amazing – my homemade peppermint hot chocolate is just as much of a winner.
I may or may not buy all the candy canes as soon as they go on sale after the holidays. Does anyone else do that?
Check out more of my favorite ways to use peppermint – and chocolate – at the bottom of this article.
Homemade Peppermint Hot Chocolate Tips
Can you use peppermint extract in peppermint hot chocolate?
Oh heck yes you can use peppermint extract in your homemade peppermint hot chocolate. In fact, I prefer to use peppermint extract over any other option.
You can use candy canes to give your peppermint hot chocolate the flavor, but make sure you watch how sweet the drink becomes. I don’t want an overly sugary drink, and this can happen when you use candy canes or peppermint candies.
Some people use peppermint oil, but I don’t recommend that at all. Many essential oils – peppermint included – aren’t meant to be ingested. They smell great, but they don’t belong in your hot chocolate!
What’s the difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa?
You make hot cocoa with cocoa powder, sugar, and milk (or water – eep!), while hot chocolate uses real chocolate with cream and/or milk. I prefer hot chocolate because it provides a richer taste and often isn’t as sweet.
While you can make both hot chocolate and hot cocoa in advance, hot cocoa lasts longer because it is simply dry powders. The ganache for hot chocolate lasts a couple weeks when made with fresh cream, but obviously it isn’t as stable.
Does the quality of chocolate matter?
The quality of chocolate you use for homemade peppermint hot chocolate absolutely matters! You need to use a high quality chocolate to get the taste you really want.
Another reason to use high quality chocolate aside from the taste? Well, obviously the higher quality chocolate has better ingredients, which I care about. I want vanilla, not vanillan – just as a single example.
The biggest reason to use quality chocolate, however, is its melting ability. Lower quality chocolate doesn’t melt well. It tends to hold its shape and gets grainy. Higher quality chocolate melts into that smooth luxurious texture you want for your peppermint hot chocolate.
How to make homemade peppermint hot chocolate
Use a sharp knife to chop chocolate and set it aside. To do this, start with a corner of your chocolate block and work your way across. You just need this broken into pieces, so don’t worry about making them exact or even.
I prefer to use a chocolate block, but if you have good quality chocolate callets, the work, too. What are callets? It’s a fancy word for chips basically. When you have a good quality chocolate, this is what they make instead of traditional chips.
In a small heavy saucepan, add the cream and heat it on medium low. You want this to just begin to steam with tiny bubbles at the edge of the pot. Don’t let it boil or you’ll end up with a film you need to scrape off.
Remove the pan from your stove. Add salt and chocolate to the cream and simply let sit for two minutes. That means don’t stir it, don’t mess with it – truly just let it sit and do its thing.
After those two minute, use a spatula to stir until chocolate and cream come together. The chocolate should be totally melted. When you first start, it will look like it isn’t going to come together but it will quickly become a gorgeous thick chocolate.
Divide this mixture evenly into four mugs or save it for later. If you want to prep your hot chocolate in advance so you can enjoy it whenever you want, stop here and refrigerate the mixture in a tightly sealed container. I do this often so when I want homemade hot chocolate, it’s just about ready to go.
Otherwise, return your pot to the stove and heat the milk on medium low heat for three minutes. You want it warm but not steaming.
If you prepped the chocolate ganache first and are making your homemade hot chocolate with the cooled prepped mixture, heat the milk just until it steams. This ensures that it is warm enough to heat the chilled ganache and still stay comfortably warm to drink.
Either way, once you have warm milk and chocolate together, add peppermint to your mugs and top with milk. Stir to combine.
Top your homemade hot chocolate with whipped cream and crushed candy canes or peppermint candies if desired. You know I like to go all out with my indulgences!
Ready to make your own homemade peppermint hot chocolate?
- 6 oz dark chocolate
- 1 c cream
- pinch of salt
- 2 c milk
- 1/8 t peppermint extract
- Whipped cream, optional
- 1 candy cane, optional
- Chop chocolate and set aside.
- In small heavy saucepan, add cream and heat on medium low until just steaming.
- Remove pan from stove. Add salt and chocolate to cream and let sit for two minutes.
- Use a spatula to stir until chocolate and cream come together.
- Divide mixture evenly into four mugs or save for later. Heat milk on stove on medium low heat for three minutes, not to steaming.
- Add peppermint to mugs, and top with milk. Stir to combine.
- Top with whipped cream and crushed candy canes if desired.
You can make the peppermint hot chocolate in advance up to step 4. Place in a tightly sealed container and keep in the fridge up to two weeks. When you're ready to make the hot chocolate, divide the mostly solidified chocolate into four mugs. Heat the milk to steaming and pour into each mug. Stir to combine and finish with whipped cream and candy canes if you choose.
You can also scale this up and make more for a larger gathering. Just double or triple the ingredients, as needed.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 mug
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 516 Total Fat: 38g Saturated Fat: 23g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 82mg Sodium: 125mg Carbohydrates: 37g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 24g Protein: 8g
More favorite peppermint (and chocolate) recipes:
- Bailey’s chocolate mousse
- Peppermint bark
- Peppermint chocolate cookies
- Chocolate chip cookie dough truffles
- Peppermint sugar scrub (to be clear – this is not edible!)
- S’mores stuffed strawberries
- Peppermint chocolate chip milkshake
- Frosted peppermint brownies
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