Hot Chocolate Inspiration: Four Unique Recipes

I am 100% ready to embrace the holiday season. Because of the pandemic, we are looking at both Thanksgiving and Christmas here in Tulsa. So I want to make them as special as possible! To get into the spirit, I thought it would be fun to research and make some unique hot chocolate recipes. It’s a rough life, but someone’s got to do it! 😉

My first thought was that it could be fun to try making hot chocolate bombs. They’re apparently all the rage this year, thanks to a viral TikTok video. However, they require a silicone mold, which I don’t have and am not quite ready to drop money on. Still thinking about it though! In the meantime, here’s a tutorial if you’d like to try making your own. Let me know how they turn out!

A quick internet search will reveal multiple lists of creative cocoa recipes. Here are the four I tried, plus a couple other recommendations at the bottom. You could have Hot Cocoa Fridays, and try a new recipe each weekend leading up to New Year’s!

Earl Grey Hot Chocolate

Of these four recipes, this was one of my two favorites. I cheated and heated the milk up with our espresso machine rather than the stovetop. Since we don’t have a microwave and you have to let the Earl Grey steep in the hot milk for a few minutes, the hot chocolate was on the lukewarm side by the time I drank it. But it was still delicious.

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Ingredients (Makes 1 serving)

  • 8 oz. milk
  • 2 Earl Grey tea bags
  • 2 oz. dark chocolate, chopped (full disclosure, I totally forgot exactly how much chocolate I used! But it can be to your taste anyway.)


  1. Heat up milk until hot, but not boiling. Add your tea bags. Let steep for about five minutes, covered.
  2. While steeping, add your chopped chocolate to the bottom of a mug. After five minutes, discard your Earl Grey tea bags, and add the milk mixture to the mug. (You may want to reheat it first.) Stir until chocolate is thoroughly melted.
  3. Optional: Top with whipped cream and grated chocolate.

Cinnamon-Orange Drinking Chocolate

I modified this recipe from Food52. This is tied with the Earl Grey for my favorite hot chocolate recipe. Make sure to serve in tiny mugs – this stuff is rich!! 

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Ingredients (Makes 2 small servings)

  • 1 c. whole milk
  • A squirt of honey
  • 1.5 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Zest of one small orange, such as a clementine


  1. Combine all ingredients into a saucepan. Cook on low until the chocolate is melted, whisking constantly.
  2. Once the chocolate has melted, continue cooking and occasionally whisking about 10-15 minutes, until the hot chocolate has thickened and darkened to a deeper brown color.
  3. Remove from heat and pour into tiny mugs. Enjoy! (Note: The original recipe said to strain it, but I didn’t and it was fine. So that’s up to you and whether you want to dirty another dish to get the authentic experience 😉

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Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

I had high hopes for this one, but the peanut butter had a weird mouthfeel. I’m still optimistic that it could work though, so you may want to search out a few different recipes and see what you like best. I used this one from

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Ingredients (Makes 1 serving)

  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut butter
  • .5 oz. dark chocolate
  1. Heat milk in a small saucepan until warm, but not boiling. Whisk in remaining ingredients and cook until chocolate is melted and desired temperature is reached.
  2. Pour into mugs and enjoy! Optional: top with whipped cream or marshmallows, chocolate drizzle, etc.

Red Wine Hot Chocolate

This recipe was soooo close to being good. It was good enough that I had several sips. The problem is that my red wine (through no fault of its own!) was a couple months old, so past its prime and therefore a little bitter. With a high quality, smooth red wine, however, I think this would be delicious. I used this recipe from

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Read TulsaKids’ interview with Downward Dog Wine founder Betsy Hendershot here

Ingredients (Makes 1 serving)

  • 1/3 c. chocolate chips (I used dark; the original recipe calls for semi-sweet.)
  • 1/3 c. dry red wine
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. half-and-half
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar (optional)
  • Splash of vanilla


  1. Heat all ingredients except vanilla in a small saucepan on low.
  2. Once heated through, turn off heat and add vanilla. Pour into mugs.

Other Hot Chocolate Recipes to Try

I haven’t tried these yet, with the exception of the Unicorn Hot Chocolate, but I’m adding these recipes to my baking list!

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Even if you’re not ready to tackle Hot Cocoa Bombs this holiday season, you can always gift homemade hot cocoa mix! This is an easy gift idea that kids can help make. Gift it in a decorated Mason jar and, for a bonus, with a new mug. Here’s a recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe that would be fun to try. It uses white chocolate for added creaminess, rather than relying solely on dry milk powder.

Of course, if you don’t have a food processor, you may need an alternate recipe. In which case, here is a well-reviewed recipe from Bigger Bolder Baking.

Do you have a favorite hot cocoa mix recipe? Feel free to share it in the comments!

Sotw Hot Choc Pin

Categories: Spaghetti on the Wall