Plain hot cocoa has always seemed a little boring and one-dimensional to us, in all honesty. But add a dash of cinnamon or a peppermint stick, and we'll drink it down to the last sugary sip. Here are our favorite ways to jazz up a basic cup of cocoa. What are yours?
Whether you're making cocoa from a powdered mix or melting chocolate to make authentic hot chocolate, these mix-ins make a delicious addition:
1. Almond or Soy Milk - These milks have a sweet, nutty flavor that lends itself very well to a mug of cocoa. We use it in place of regular cow's milk.
2. Cinnamon Stick - Whole cinnamon seems to give cocoa better flavor than using the powdered spice.
3. Chili Powder and Cayenne - Cocoa with a kick! Add a cinnamon stick for a version of Mexican hot chocolate.
4. Infused Tea - We learned this trick of steeping tea in cocoa a few years back and go back to it often. Our favorite teas to use are chai, earl grey, and a vanilla-caramel herbal blend.
5. Peppermint Stick - Crushing the peppermint sticks makes them melt faster, but we really like just letting a whole stick slowly melt into our cup.
6. Orange Zest or Extract - Orange and chocolate make an irresistible duo.
7. Baileys, Amaretto, or Other Liquors - Let's not forget our favorite grown-up version of hot cocoa!
What are your favorite ways to make cocoa?
(Image: Faith Durand)