This three-ingredient recipe for Italian Hot Chocolate Mix makes it possible for you to make rich thick Italian-style hot chocolate at home. It is a gamechanger.
Is everything better in Italy? It’s a valid question. One of the many foods that is superior in Italy is hot chocolate. It tastes like a melted candy bar and is so thick that it is reminiscent of the consistency of warm chocolate pudding before it goes into the fridge to set up. It’s magical.
I studied abroad in Florence during the winter semester, and the best way to warm up was with a thick steaming cup of hot chocolate. I attended SACI and there was a little cafe across the street that was run by a kind man name Angelo. My friends and I were there frequently, and he looked over us. He would lovingly add some coffee to the hot chocolates on days when we looked particularly exhausted. Angelo’s hot chocolate could turn a bad day around, give us the sugar rush we needed to make it through a 90 minute art history lecture, and satisfy our sweet tooths.
Before I went home I made it my mission to find a way to make the hot chocolate at home. The answer was simple, buy a mix from the grocery store. I remember fitting as many boxes of the hot chocolate mix as I could in my suitcase, but eventually, it ran out.
The next Christmas my mother gave me the Florence cookbook published by Williams-Sonoma. And it had a recipe for thick hot chocolate with whipped cream. We went to the grocery store to buy arrowroot – something we had never heard of before – and I went to work making the hot chocolate. It took 20 minutes to make, and it was a dud. It wasn’t thick and I was disappointed.
Recently, I rediscovered the fifteen-year-old cookbook and revisited the recipe. After some recipe testing, I came to realize that the proportions were off, and the instructions were just silly. It required simmering the hot chocolate, letting it cool for 5 minutes, and simmering again for 5 minutes. The arrowroot was added at the last minute and it wasn’t given time to get to work thickening the hot chocolate. The end result is just ordinary hot chocolate – there are clearly mistakes in how the recipe was written.
Luckily, I was able to sort out the problems to find a much easier way to make Italian Hot Chocolate. And the best part is that you can double the recipe to make a mix that you can store and use to make individual servings! The mix requires just three ingredients that get added to milk. The total preparation time is 5 minutes.
My Italian Hot Chocolate recipe is just what I wanted. It has a dark chocolate taste, isn’t too sweet, and is extra thick. It’s best topped with a generous scoop of freshly made whipped cream.
A few notes on this thick Italian Hot Chocolate Mix recipe:
If you follow the instructions exactly the hot chocolate will be bittersweet. It will taste like dark chocolate. When you add the whipped cream on top it does get a bit sweeter. You might want to taste test the hot chocolate before pouring it into a mug, you can always stir in some extra sugar if you like.
The portion size for this is a bit small, but I think that fits with the Italian way of indulging without being excessive. If you want a slightly larger portion, use 1 cup of milk and 6 tablespoons of the mix per serving.
If you want to add a dash of vanilla to the hot chocolate you can. Or you can store the mix with a vanilla bean to add a hint of vanilla flavor.
Jars of this hot chocolate mix would make a great gift.
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How to Make Italian Hot Chocolate:
For the Italian Hot Chocolate Mix
- 3/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 teaspoons Arrowroot
- 3 cups of Milk (Whole or 2%)
For the Whipped Cream
- 1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 teaspoon Powdered Sugar
If you are making whipped cream, do that first. Combine the whipping cream and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until stiff peaks form.
Combine the cocoa powder, sugar, and arrowroot in a bowl and whisk thoroughly.
Add the milk and whisk thoroughly for 45 seconds. You want the mix and the milk to be well incorporated. *
Pour the milk mixture into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat over medium heat, whisking frequently. Bring the mixture to a slow and steady bubble. Keep whisking while the mixture thickens for about 2 minutes.
Pour the hot chocolate into mugs and serve topped with the whipped cream.
*You can either make a full batch which serves 4, or you can make a single serving. To make a single serving use 3/4 cup of Milk and 1/4 cup of the mix.