Haute Chocolate for Cold Days

There’s no more welcome way to chase away the chill than by sipping a mug of hot chocolate. We have a recipe to please every palate, including hot chocolate spiced with cinnamon or chiles; accented with peppermint, orange zest, or peanut butter; and made with milk, cream, soy, or almond milk. Looking for hot cocoa mix or simply a rich and delicious mug of pure and simple hot chocolate? We have those too!

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Nutella Hot Chocolate

For hot chocolate with a taste of hazelnut, use Nutella instead of cocoa.

1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup Nutella
Unsweetened whipped cream, for serving

1. Combine milk and Nutella in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking until smooth. Divide between 2 teacups; serve with dollops of whipped cream.

Cinnamon and Spice Hot Cocoa

Ancho chile powder and cinnamon add warmth and spice to this hot chocolate. Make the drink extra frothy by whirling it in a blender just before serving.

4 cups skim milk
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
Coarse salt
Marshmallows (optional), for serving

1. In a medium pot, whisk together milk, cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon, chile powder, and pinch of salt over medium-high until combined. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Pour cocoa into four mugs and serve immediately with marshmallows if desired.

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Simply combine cocoa powder, sugar, and a little bit of salt to make a big, budget-friendly batch of hot cocoa mix to last you through the winter. The mix also makes great gifts when portioned into decorative jars.

3 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups cocoa
1 tablespoon table salt
Whole milk for serving

1. In a large bowl, combine sugar, cocoa, and salt, and whisk to combine well. Store the mixture in an airtight container.

2. For individual servings, pour 1 cup whole milk into a microwave-safe mug, and microwave on high just until hot. Add 2 tablespoons of cocoa mix, and stir to dissolve. For a larger batch of cocoa, warm the milk in a saucepan set over medium-low heat, taking care not to let the milk boil; as it warms, stir in 2 tablespoons of mix for each cup of milk.

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Hot Cocoa with Almond Milk

Almond milk and cinnamon sticks add a new twist to this dairy-free hot cocoa recipe. A pinch of salt enhances the flavor of the chocolate.

4 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 cinnamon sticks, split lengthwise
1/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
2 ounces dark chocolate (preferably at least 70 percent cacao), finely chopped
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1. Bring milk and cinnamon sticks to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks, rinse, and reserve.

2. Whisk in cocoa, chocolate, sugar, and salt, whisking vigorously until mixture is foamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide among mugs. Garnish with cinnamon sticks.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Crushed peppermint sticks melt into this hot cocoa to add holiday flair. Serve each mug with a peppermint stick stirrer and top with marshmallows or whipped cream if you like.

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 quart milk
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (3 ounces)
7 peppermint sticks; 3 crushed (1/4 cup), 4 left whole
pinch of salt

1. Place cocoa in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk until cocoa has dissolved. Add chocolate chips and crushed peppermint; simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate and peppermint have melted, 8 to 10 minutes.

2. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Add salt. Ladle into mugs; serve each with a peppermint stick.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Mexican chocolate, available in Latin markets and many supermarkets, is flavored with cinnamon, almonds, and vanilla. The chocolate is heated with milk and cinnamon sticks to make a subtly spiced south-of-the-border treat.

1 quart milk
2 three-inch cinnamon sticks
10 ounces Ibarra, or other Mexican chocolate, finely chopped
Whipped cream, for serving
Pinch of ground cinnamon, for serving

1. Place milk and cinnamon sticks in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring just to a boil, reduce heat, and add chocolate. Let the mixture stand until chocolate melts, about 3 minutes. Whisk until combined. Serve Mexican hot chocolate immediately, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a pinch of ground cinnamon.

Spiced Hot Dark Chocolate

Enjoy the nutritional benefits of this hot chocolate while you sip! Dark chocolate provides antioxidants, soy milk replaces cow’s milk for better nutrient absorption, and cayenne pepper and cardamom are warming spices, which provide an energy boost.

1 quart soy milk
6 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon coarse salt

1. In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients and whisk over medium-low heat until the chocolate has melted completely and the mixture is steaming hot, about 5 minutes. Serve.

Chocolate lover? Craving more? Try this no-cook brownie recipe!

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