I have come to the conclusion that hot chocolate is one dessert that I am not willing to make any substitutions on. I make it only on occasion through the fall and winter and there really is no replacement for the real thing. I actually tried several variations using dairy free milks and alternative sweeteners and was just not happy with the results.
This hot chocolate is sweetened only with white chocolate chips, which I’m sure have refined sugar in them. But, as this is a rare treat, I’m ok with that. If you happen to know of any better options for white chocolate chips, please let me know! I’m not sure how well other brands with sugar substitutes melt, so I didn’t look into it.
Alternatively, you could use dark chocolate in place of the white chocolate chips to cut down on sugar. I wanted a creamy vanilla white hot chocolate, obviously, so I did not do this, but a dark chocolate version would be great. Due to the lower sugar content of dark chocolate chips, you may want to add in a little honey or other alternative sweetener if you go this route.
This Hot Chocolate is super rich and creamy. I ALWAYS add in a little cornstarch or arrowroot powder to my hot chocolate to thicken is slightly. I am not a watery hot chocolate sort of person. I need some substance! Plus, the thicker texture holds up better to a topping of whipped cream.
For the very best tasting, creamiest hot chocolate, I use raw whole milk and organic cream. There really is no substitute for flavor and texture. Raw milk is soooo much creamier than pasteurized and regular cream just can’t hold a candle to organic.
I know this because I compared them side by side. The regular, high heat pasteurized non-organic cream (whipped to stiff peaks) seemed to have no flavor at all with a very white color compared to the organic cream. The organic cream (whipped to stiff peaks as well) was much sweeter (both were lightly sweetened the same amount of honey), more yellow in color, and had such a creamy, rich flavor. I was really surprised at the difference. I’ve always just used regular cream but the organic was absolutely superior in terms of flavor.
Pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon are used to flavor the hot chocolate. Taste the hot chocolate when cooking it and add more pumpkin pie spice, if you like. I like a little, not a lot, so if you are a fan you may want to up the amount =)
I used canned pumpkin puree but if you just happened to make your own I imagine it would make this hot chocolate uh-mazing. I may have to do this the next time I roast some pumpkin.
If you don’t use the whole batch of hot chocolate, this keeps quite well in the fridge, stored in an airtight container for several days. Just reheat and serve!
- 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
- ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Cornstarch or Arrowroot Powder
- 2½ cups Whole Milk
- ½ cup Heavy Cream
- ½ cup Pumpkin Puree
- ¾ cup to 1 cup White Chocolate Chips
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- Whipped Cream, to top
- In a saucepan, whisk together the pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and cornstarch. Add a small amount of the milk and whisk in until smooth.
- Whisk in the remaining milk, heavy cream, and pumpkin puree until combined.
- Place the pan over medium/high heat. Add ¾ cup of the white chocolate chips and whisk constantly, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture comes to a boil and thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Taste the hot chocolate and add more white chocolate chips if a sweeter drink is desired. If you do add in more chocolate, you don't need to place the saucepan back on the heat, just add the chocolate in and whisk. The heat will melt the chocolate.
- Whisk in the vanilla.
- Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon.