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When it comes to hot chocolate, are you the type of parent that makes one out of the box, or do you prefer to make it from scratch? We won’t judge. After all, everyone’s on different ends of the spectrum in terms of time and desire to be Betty or Benny Homemaker.

In fact, both methods are good, and it’s all a matter of preference (and often time). We wanted to go through our two favorite options for making hot chocolate for your kids or for yourself during the winter. Whether it’s homemade or out of the box, you can still make the perfect hot chocolate.

How to Make Hot Chocolate from Scratch

If you’re not much of a coffee drinker, you might appreciate a hot beverage in the form of hot chocolate. The best homemade hot chocolate always starts with real chopped chocolate—that is if you don’t want to go the regular route of cocoa powder.

Heat up your milk in a saucepan and bring it to a scalding temperature, at about 180 degrees F. You can add a smidge of sugar if you want. You’ll know it’s ready to go when little bubbles start to form on the side of the pot, but it’s not quite boiling. Do not let it boil or the end result might be a little grainy.

When the milk is properly hot, add the cocoa powder or melted chocolate straight in. To melt the chocolate, you can just microwave the chopped chocolate in 30-second intervals, stirring after each time until it is melted.

The melted chocolate whisks in beautifully, and you end up with a smooth and creamy result. It’s easy to make, it’s simple, and it’s definitely delicious.

The Best Out of the Box Hot Chocolate

If you don’t have time to do all of this, you can just buy hot chocolate, add some hot water, and voila: you have a delicious drink that’s ready to enjoy. But you still want to make the best choices right away so you don’t end up with flavorless hot choco.

Here are a few safe picks for your sudden hot chocolate cravings:

Swiss Miss Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix is very sweet, and yet it maintains the richness of cocoa. It leans more heavily on its milk flavors. It’s no surprise that Swiss Miss is one of the most popular choices.

Another good option is Stephen’s Gourmet Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa that gives you that sweet chocolate flavor but with a touch of saltiness.

Hershey’s Hot Cocoa Mix Milk Chocolate is a drink you will love as you’re sitting by the fire. It has a rich mahogany color and a velvety texture.

Last but not least, the Land O’Lakes Chocolate Supreme Hot Cocoa Mix is a classic hot chocolate with a salty component, but in a good way. Many people like this brand for its rich and milky flavor, and buttery texture.

How to Pass Off Your Out of the Box Hot Chocolate As Homemade

If you are going for an “out of the box” approach and you’re planning to serve it to your family, you can add your own personal flair to it and pass it off as homemade. Add warm milk to your out of the box hot chocolate and it will change the taste drastically.

You can also serve your ‘homemade’ hot chocolate with some marshmallows or whipped cream. Gather round the fire, serve these drinks in lovely mugs, and everyone is sure to have a good time.

One hot chocolate tip to keep in mind is that you CAN reheat hot chocolate, but just make sure you don’t bring it to a boil. If you do need to reheat your hot chocolate, do it on the stovetop instead of the microwave so that it’s easier to control the heat.

If you need to store leftover hot chocolate, let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to drink it, reheat using the instructions above.

This holiday season, grab your favorite type of hot chocolate, and curl up by the fireplace and enjoy a book or a movie. Make sure to do your lounging in your favorite Livnfresh gear! Visit Livnfresh.com and see some of the finest Michigan apparel Livnfresh has to offer.