Making delicious, thick, velvety hot chocolate at home is easy. Unsweetened cocoa powder is the key. It has a richer, deeper, more chocolatey taste than commercial sweetened drinking chocolates. It can also be used... for baking. Although hot chocolate can be made in the microwave, it tastes more delicious when it is made on the stovetop. The extra 1-2 minutes of cooking allows the chocolate to fully bloom. Recipes usually ask for equal amounts of sugar and unsweetened cocoa, but it’s really a matter of taste. Adjust the amounts if you prefer it richer or sweeter. Any other type of milk can be used, such as almond or soy milk — have fun with it!
Mix sugar, cocoa, and the 2 tablespoons of milk in a mug until smooth. Set aside.
On the stovetop, heat the remaining 1 cup of milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. If using a microwave, heat in a glass measuring jug until steaming hot but not boiling.
Gradually stir the hot milk into the cocoa mixture, stirring, until well blended. Pour back into the pan. Add the vanilla. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until almost boiling again. Remove from heat.
To froth the hot chocolate, buzz with an immersion blender in the saucepan or jug, or beat it with a balloon whisk. Pour it back into the mug and sprinkle with cinnamon, if using. Alternatively, pour the hot chocolate into a blender, cover with the lid and a kitchen towel, and blend until frothy.
For a deep chocolatey taste, use Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder.
For a Mexican twist, try adding adding a pinch of chili powder instead of the cinnamon.
In some countries, hot chocolate is made with water and not milk, so for lactose intolerants, experiment to find the unsweetened, nondairy milk that works best. Don’t hesitate to up the chocolate content if the taste seems thin. When using a milk with added vanilla flavor, no need to add any extra.