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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Homemade Vanilla Hot Chocolate

This year I decided our neighbor & teacher holiday gift would be homemade vanilla hot chocolate. I figured it would be easier than making and decorating oodles of cookies. I was wrong. Well, only because I QUADRUPLED the recipe. And ended up having to grind about 10 pounds of chocolate. With a Cuisiniart mini-prep. Yeah, it was a feat.

homemade hot chocolate web

BUT…the vanilla hot chocolate is delicious! And a fun, unique gift to give friends for the holidays! You’ll find the recipe at the bottom of this post.

A few quick notes. I have a Cuisinart mini-prep, which is what I used to grind the chocolate. It works fine…but if you DO have a bigger food processor, use it!

This is the recipe I used the vanilla beans for. I saved the sugar-coated bean pods after I was done making the vanilla sugar…I figure I can use them in other recipes, even though the seeds are gone.

homemade hot chocolate preparation web

If you plan on making TONS and TONS and TONS like I did…you’re going to need BIG bowls. I ended up having to use three giant bowls and mixing all the ingredients between the three bowls, trying to evenly distribute the ingredients by mixing and remixing the contents of each bowl.

bowls web

No matter what amount you make, be prepared to have chocolate coating your kitchen. Also, I wore a towel over my face because I was literally inhaling cocoa powder when mixing it all together. That all said, if you don’t double (or triple…or quadruple!) the recipe, you’re not going to run into any of these issues. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here was the final product. Aren’t they cute? I used some free gift tag templates from HP with matching ribbon.

jarred homemade hot chocolate web

Homemade Vanilla Hot Chocolate
From Epicurious, makes about 10 cups
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean, split crosswise (see tips, below)
  • 1½ pounds high-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 8 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process (see tips, below)
  1. Place sugar in large bowl. Split half vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape seeds into sugar, and add pod. Work seeds in with your fingers. Cover snugly with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.
  2. In food processor fitted with metal blade, process semisweet chocolate and milk chocolate until finely ground.
  3. Remove pod from sugar. Add ground chocolate and cocoa powder to sugar and whisk to blend.
  4. Store mix airtight at room temperature for up to six months.
  5. To serve, Janeโ€™s instructions: I heat 2 cups of milk over the stove and whisk in about ⅓ cup of the mix. You can also heat the milk in the microwave and it worksโ€ยฆbut the stove is a little better. If you like it richer, add more mix!
Jane Note: I used 16 oz mason jars and was able to put ~1¾ cups of mix in each jar. When I quadrupled the recipe, I filled 19 jars, plus a little left over.

โ€ยขSave the other half of the vanilla bean for another use, such as a second batch of vanilla sugar, which keeps indefinitely and can be used in baking, coffee, or simply to sprinkle on fruit or waffles.
โ€ยขDutch process cocoa has been treated with an alkaline solution, which gives it a darker color and less bitter flavor and makes it dissolve more easily.



  1. Yummy!! I will have to do this next year. I just didn’t get my act together early enough for these kinds of gifts this year. Did you make marshmallows? The ones in the photo kind of look homemade since they’re square.

  2. 2
    Jane Maynard

    I did make the marshmallows and if you come back tomorrow you’ll find out more about them! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. 3

    Wow this is an awesome gift idea. Not enough time for me to get this done for Xmas but a great birthday gift for my friends!!!

  4. You are a really nice neighbor/parent!

  5. 5

    This is so neat! My honey and I have always talked about doing mixes for cookies and scones for the holidays but I think this one will top the gift giving list for next year… but we’ll definitely try it out before then! Happy Holidays ๐Ÿ™‚ and Happy Birthday to your two munchkins!

  6. 6

    omg these looks fab!! i’ve been looking for a mix recipe that sounded good to me and i’ve finally found it! can’t wait to try this out!

  7. 7

    How big are your mason jars and how much do you think one batch makes?

  8. 8

    Mmmmmmmmmm – these homemade marshmallows look like heaven. Glad to have found your blog from your contribution to makeandtakes

  9. 9
    Jane Maynard

    melissa, so glad you asked that! I just added that info into the post…I was going to include that info originally but forgot.

    So, I got 16 oz jars…and I fit 1 3/4 cups of mix in each jar…and I filled 19 jars, with a little leftover for a 20th jar. That was with the recipe quadrupled. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Thanks for the recipe at the tweet-up today! I’m super excited to try this!

  11. 11

    I can’t wait to make this! One question, how essential is the vanilla… I know, I know, “vanilla hot chocolate…” and all, but what about just plain “hot chocolate” if I omit the vanilla??? What do you think?

  12. 12
    Jane Maynard

    I’m sure it will be just fine! ๐Ÿ™‚ I haven’t had it without, but seriously, I’m sure it will still be great!

  13. 13
    Talia G

    This is such a great recipe and gift idea!
    Just made it right now and it is perfect and affordable.
    I also added a little vanilla sugar, white chocolate, and cinnamon.
    I made a dozen 8 oz. tins perfectly!
    Thanks for the great recipe and gift idea Jane ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. 14

    hey jane. i’m way late on this comment. after seeing you, i had to catch up on your blog. i gave away homemade marshmallows and hot chocolate to my neighbors for christmas this year, but i did cocoa blocks. it’s pretty much a square of chocolate ganache on a stick that you swirl in hot milk. they looked pretty (i wrapped them in candy wrappers), and tasted great. here’s the recipe if you ever want to try it:

    i’m going to have to try that epicurious recipe. it sounds divine.

  15. I’m so glad to know those came out! my sister-in-law just sent me the link and I thought that would be perfect for next year. MMMMMMM….

  16. 16

    I’ve been searching for the perfect recipe, yours looks like it makes the cut! Just curious – I want to add cloves and cinnamon, maybe even some chili. With the amounts of listed ingredients, how much would you suggest to keep the ratio even?


    • Jane Maynard

      hmmmmmm…good question! so, I’m thinking maybe 1/2 – 1 tsp cinnamon, and maybe 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of cloves…I would start out on the low end, mix it all together, and then just stick your finger in and taste…you’ll be able to get a good idea. and chili? I haven’t the foggiest! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m so helpful, eh? I would start small and build…you can always add more, but not take any away once it’s in! if you DO do this, keep track and then come report back – would love to hear what you end up doing and how it tastes! I’m totally down with the cinnamon idea…but hadn’t thought of cloves…and chilis would be fun!

  17. 17

    I am totally making this. I am a hot chocolate addict!

  18. 18

    Hi Jane,

    I have been meaning to make this hot chocolate mix since you posted last December and finally got around to it a fortnight ago. I have since made hot chocolate for various different guests who raved about how fantastic it is. I am so happy I got around to making it this year and with all the great feedback I have decided it will be a Christmas gift for my daughters teacher and some work mates this year. It is so easy to make and really does taste great. Thanks for a great recipe.

  19. 19

    i was wondering if you could also use white chocolate instead of milk chocolate. as i would like to try this recipe for someone who is not a fan of regular chocolate but does not mind the white so much..

    • Jane Maynard

      I am sure you could sub out the chocolate for white chocolate…but not sure what you could substitute the cocoa for? I would maybe just try simple white chocolate shavings in hot milk and see how that goes – that might be the best way to do it. hope that is helpful!

  20. 20

    Can I use vanilla extract instead of pods?

    • Jane Maynard

      In this case extract wouldn’t work because you’re making vanilla sugar, and I think the liquid would just stick to some of the sugar but not spread throughout, infusing flavor throughout the sugar. hope I’m making sense!

  21. 21

    I just included a link to this page in my collage on 12 Days of Christmas Gifts for Kids. Thanks for the recipe!

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