Here's a little something to snuggle up with during the chilly winter months: Hot cocoa! It's easy to turn instant hot chocolate mix into an extra-special treat the whole family can enjoy (just reserve the bourbon-pecan cocoa for the adult-crowd only!). Try one of these 11 simple mix-ins that deliver loads of flavor in no time at all…
1. Peppermint Hot Chocolate: Spread marshmallow fluff on the rim of a mug; dip in crushed candy canes. Pour instant hot chocolate into the prepared mug and stir in 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract.
2. Mexican Hot Chocolate: Stir a generous pinch each ground cinnamon and cayenne pepper into 1 mug instant hot chocolate. Garnish with cinnamon stick.
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3. Malted Milk Hot Chocolate: Stir malted milk powder into 1 mug instant hot chocolate. Garnish with crushed Whoppers (optional).
4. Orange Hot Chocolate: Stir a splash of orange water or orange extract into 1 mug instant hot chocolate (optional). Garnish with whipped cream and finely grated orange peel.
5. Bourbon-Pecan Hot Chocolate: Soak pecan halves in bourbon 15 minutes. Drain; reserving bourbon and pecans separately. Spike 1 mug instant hot chocolate with the bourbon, then thread pecan halves on a skewer and use as garnish.
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6. Chai Hot Chocolate: Stir bottled chai tea latte concentrate into 1 mug instant hot chocolate. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper (optional).
7. Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate: Stir dulce de leche or other caramel sauce, plus a pinch of salt, into 1 mug instant hot chocolate. Top with whipped cream and a drizzle of dulce de leche.
8. Eggnog Hot Chocolate: Stir left-bought eggnog into 1 mug instant hot chocolate. Sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg.
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9. Toasted Coconut Hot Chocolate: Stir cream of coconut into 1 mug instant hot chocolate. Top with whipped cream and toasted sweetened shredded coconut.
10. Raspberry Hot Chocolate: Stir raspberry jam into 1 mug instant hot chocolate. Thread fresh raspberries on a skewer and use as garnish.
11. Pumpkin Spiced Hot Chocolate: Whisk 1 or 2 tablespoons canned pure pumpkin into 1 mug instant hot chocolate. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice.
What are your favorite hot chocolate mix-ins? Let me know in the comments!
-by Erin Phraner
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