Monica's favorite gear for
making Hot Chocolate
It's easy to use and programmable. The automatic warm setting is especially handy for hot chocolate. Highly rated by Cooks Illustrated.
This is another tool that gets lots of use in my kitchen. It's essential for this recipe to smoothly blend the ingredients.
I use 2 of these for storing a batch of this hot chocolate in the fridge. They're also handy for iced tea, coffee, and spiced cider.
This makes it easy to neatly pour from wide-mouth mason jars.
High quality and the best choice for rich, chocolaty flavor.
These have yummy chocolaty flavor. I use them in chocolate chip cookies, too.
This is intensely rich with luxuriously deep flavor and smooth texture.
A little of this deepens the chocolate flavor without a hint of coffee flavor. It also improves the chocolaty flavor of brownies, chocolate cake, ganache, and fudge sauce. (A tip for Ina Garten!)
This has two ingredients (concentrated organic milk & sugar) with no additives or thickeners.

Easy Homemade Hot Chocolate In A Slow Cooker

A big batch recipe 3 ways -- creamy American-style, more chocolaty, or dark, rich European-style. Stovetop instructions, too.


Hot Chocolate | Slow Cooker or Stove Top

By Monica              12-14 servings
This easy, delicious big batch recipe is a real crowd pleaser. Adjust the amount of chocolate to suit your preference from light and creamy to rich, dark European-style hot chocolate. Great for parties and holidays. Can be made ahead and refrigerated; reheat full batch (slow cooker or stove top on low) or by the mug in the microwave. From TheYummyLife.com #hotchocolate #bigbatch #parties #slowcooker #Europeanhotchocolate

This easy, delicious big batch recipe is a real crowd pleaser. Adjust the amount of chocolate to suit your preference from light and creamy to rich, dark European-style hot chocolate. Great for parties and holidays.

Ingredients
  • FOR THE BASE:
  • 8 cups (half gallon) whole milk
  • 3 cups (1.5 pints) heavy cream
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (Dutch process recommended)
  • FOR CREAMY HOT CHOCOLATE:
  • 2 cups (one 12-oz bag) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • FOR MORE CHOCOLATY HOT CHOCOLATE:
  • 24 oz. 70% Cacao bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • FOR RICH & DARK EUROPEAN-STYLE HOT CHOCOLATE ("Drinking Chocolate"):
  • 40 oz. 70% (or higher) Cacao bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon instant powdered coffee or espresso (optional)
  • TOPPINGS & GARNISHES (optional)
  • mini marshmallows, whipped cream, ground cinnamon, candy canes, cinnamon sticks

Directions
TO MAKE IN SLOW COOKER: Add all base ingredients to slow cooker, sprinkling the cocoa powder on top. Whisk to combine until dry cocoa powder is incorporated and no longer floating on top. Stir in chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (plus espresso/coffee powder, if using). Cover and cook on low for 2 hours. Whisk until any melted chocolate bits in bottom are mixed in. Switch to warm setting to hold for extended period.

TO MAKE ON STOVE-TOP: Add base ingredients to 4-qt (or larger) pan, sprinkling cocoa powder on top.  Whisk to combine until dry cocoa powder is incorporated and no longer floating on top. Heat on medium-low heat until steaming, whisking frequently to prevent scorching. Stir in chocolate chips or chopped chocolate; whisk until chocolate is completely melted in and evenly combined. Keep warm on lowest stove-top setting or tranfer to insulated carafe.

TO SERVE: Ladle hot chocolate into mugs, top with marshmallows or whipped cream. Sprinkle tops with cinnamon, if desired. Candy canes or cinnamon sticks may be added to mugs for stir sticks.

TO MAKE-AHEAD: Hot chocolate can be cooled, covered and refrigerated for 2-3 days ahead.

TO REHEAT: Large amounts may be reheated on low in the slow cooker or on stove top. Single serving mugs of hot chocolate may be heated in microwave, being careful not to boil to avoid scorching.

Full batch makes fourteen 8-oz. cups of hot chocolate.


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What can be better than a mug of hot chocolate on a cold day? Although it's great to have the instant hot cocoa powder on hand for a last-minute mug (check out my Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa recipe), it really can't compare to hot chocolate made from scratch with milk, cream, and melted chocolate. This recipe is the real deal, and so easy to make.

This is a big batch recipe. That makes it great for a party, holiday gathering or to share at work. It can be kept warm in a slow cooker or insulated carafe. (In an upcoming post I'll share ideas for a fun hot chocolate bar with lots of ideas for toppings, stir-ins, and dunkers.)

How much chocolate should there be? There's not always concensus about just how chocolaty hot chocolate should be. Is it better on the creamier side (the traditional American style) or on the darker, richer side (the European style--also known as "drinking chocolate")? I wasn't sure which way to go with my recipe, so I solicited some help from the crew at my sons' company, LACRM. When I asked them to taste-test a couple of batches of hot chocolate, they were enthusiastically willing to help out. They're nice that way.

After a little experimenting with ingredients, I made two batches in slow cookers--one creamier, one darker & richer. Let the tasting begin!

LACRMtasting_tm.jpg

Thanks to Maggie, Jesse, and Tyler (pictured above) and all 16 taste-testers. The results of the test were........inconclusive! Some of the tasters liked the creamier version, some preferred the darker, richer version, and some chose to mix the two to make a "medium" chocolaty mug. So, rather than settle on one recipe, I decided to share a basic recipe with modifications for making a batch of hot chocolate however you like it.

IMG_8066croptm.jpg

Slow Cooker or Stove-Top. My 3 recipe variations can be made either way. Choose the slow cooker method if you want to set it and forget it for a couple of hours (It can hold on the warm setting for an extended period.) Choose the stove-top method if you're in a hurry--it only takes 15ish minutes.

The photos below illustrate making hot chocolate in a slow cooker. Stove-top instructions follow them.

Step-by-step instruction for making
Big Batch Hot Chocolate

 

Step 1. Assemble the ingredients. Here's what you need for the basic, creamy American-style recipe:

  • milk (whole is recommended)
  • heavy cream
  • a can of sweetened condensed milk (not the same as evaporated milk!)
  • vanilla
  • cocoa powder (Dutch process recommended)
  • semi-sweet chocolate chips

view on Amazon: organic Dutch process cocoa powder, semisweet chocolate chips, organic sweetened condensed milk (2 ingredients, no additives!)

collage1_ingredients.jpg

To make a batch of the more chocolaty or darker European-style hot chocolate, chop up some good quality bittersweet dark chocolate that is at least 70% cacao. Optional: add a little instant espresso or coffee powder to intensify the chocolate flavor even more (it won't make it taste at all like coffee--promise). This is a trick I learned from Ina Garten, and Ina knows!

view on Amazon:  70% cacao bittersweet chocolate, instant espresso powder

IMG_7896croptm.jpg

Step 2. Add the milk, cream, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla to the slow cooker, sprinkling the cocoa powder on top. Whisk to combine until dry cocoa powder is no longer floating on top.

Click here to see it in action
Click to pause

Step 3. Add chocolate chips or chopped chocolate. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours. Whisk it thoroughly to make sure melted chocolate on the bottom gets mixed in well.

collage3_cook.jpg

TO MAKE ON STOVE-TOP: Add base ingredients to 4-qt. (or larger) pan, sprinkling cocoa powder on top.  Whisk to combine until dry cocoa powder is no longer floating on top. Heat on medium-low heat until steaming, whisking frequently to prevent scorching. Stir in chocolate chips or chopped chocolate; whisk until chocolate is completely melted in and evenly combined.

TO SERVE: Ladle hot chocolate into mugs, top with marshmallows or whipped cream. Sprinkle tops with cinnamon, if desired. Candy canes or cinnamon sticks may be added to mugs for stir sticks.

vertIMG_8031tm.jpg

SPIKE IF YOU LIKE! A shot of any of these liqueurs turns a mug of hot chocolate into a hot cocktail drink for adults.

IMG_8072crop1tm.jpg

TO MAKE AHEAD: Hot chocolate can be cooled, covered and refrigerated 3-4 days ahead. I store mine in 2 half gallon mason jars with pour lids. That way I can easily pour and heat a single mug. Give the jars a good shake or stir to remix ingredients before pouring.

TO REHEAT: Large amounts may be reheated on low in the slow cooker or on the stove top, whisking to recombine ingredients. Single serving mugs of hot chocolate may be heated in the microwave, being careful not to boil to avoid scorching the milk/cream.

IMG_8053croptm.jpg

Everyone enjoys a mug of chocolaty happiness! Thanks to these happy taste-testers:  Julia, Kelly, and Jesse.

LACRMmugcollage.jpg

Make it a Yummy day!

Monica

Link directly to this recipe Print this recipe
Hot Chocolate | Slow Cooker or Stove Top
By Monica              Servings: 12-14 servings
Ingredients
  • FOR THE BASE:
  • 8 cups (half gallon) whole milk
  • 3 cups (1.5 pints) heavy cream
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (Dutch process recommended)
  • FOR CREAMY HOT CHOCOLATE:
  • 2 cups (one 12-oz bag) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • FOR MORE CHOCOLATY HOT CHOCOLATE:
  • 24 oz. 70% Cacao bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • FOR RICH & DARK EUROPEAN-STYLE HOT CHOCOLATE ("Drinking Chocolate"):
  • 40 oz. 70% (or higher) Cacao bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon instant powdered coffee or espresso (optional)
  • TOPPINGS & GARNISHES (optional)
  • mini marshmallows, whipped cream, ground cinnamon, candy canes, cinnamon sticks
Directions
TO MAKE IN SLOW COOKER: Add all base ingredients to slow cooker, sprinkling the cocoa powder on top. Whisk to combine until dry cocoa powder is incorporated and no longer floating on top. Stir in chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (plus espresso/coffee powder, if using). Cover and cook on low for 2 hours. Whisk until any melted chocolate bits in bottom are mixed in. Switch to warm setting to hold for extended period.

TO MAKE ON STOVE-TOP: Add base ingredients to 4-qt (or larger) pan, sprinkling cocoa powder on top.  Whisk to combine until dry cocoa powder is incorporated and no longer floating on top. Heat on medium-low heat until steaming, whisking frequently to prevent scorching. Stir in chocolate chips or chopped chocolate; whisk until chocolate is completely melted in and evenly combined. Keep warm on lowest stove-top setting or tranfer to insulated carafe.

TO SERVE: Ladle hot chocolate into mugs, top with marshmallows or whipped cream. Sprinkle tops with cinnamon, if desired. Candy canes or cinnamon sticks may be added to mugs for stir sticks.

TO MAKE-AHEAD: Hot chocolate can be cooled, covered and refrigerated for 2-3 days ahead.

TO REHEAT: Large amounts may be reheated on low in the slow cooker or on stove top. Single serving mugs of hot chocolate may be heated in microwave, being careful not to boil to avoid scorching.

Full batch makes fourteen 8-oz. cups of hot chocolate.
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Posted on Wednesday, January 16th, 2019








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